New patio

When we bought the firehouse we opted for a 203k loan, which would allow us to tackle some immediate (and expensive) renovations. At the very top of the list were the we-can’t-live-here-unless-we-get-some-natural-light windows for the first floor. This was followed closely by a patio for our soon-to-be-purchased Left Lot/side yard. Ultimately that plan shifted to the Right Lot (more on the tale of two lots here), which looked like this when we bought the building:


The concrete contractor started by ripping out the asphalt pad and chain link fence behind the building to make way for the new parking pad. Then he graded the side and laid gravel.








The patio is 12 feet wide and around 130 feet long. In a word, it is mammoth. I guess it’s fitting considering the scale of the building. It runs from the front of the building to the alley in one nearly complete slab. Three wide steps were added near the back of the building due to the slope of the yard.


Now that the weather is getting warmer, this is one of my favorite spots at the firehouse. I let Mojo roam the mud pit… err… yard, while I soak up the sun and the sounds of the birds. There are so many birds here! I love it. It makes it feel like we have this awesome oasis in the middle of the city.


Speaking of the yard, we have some serious work ahead of us. Digging for the patio, unearthed a bunch of old bricks and the yard was filled with miscellaneous debris already. So here’s the long-term list to get this yard in shape:

  • Install a fence. (This is already in the works.)
  • Clean the yard of debris.
  • Level the yard, which may require purchasing some topsoil.
  • Plant grass.
  • Plant a small garden.
  • Remove the dead tree at the front of the property.
  • Section the patio into a few functional zones: grilling, eating lounging and fire pit. This line could be split into several more because Aaron has plans to build some furniture and we’ll add an overhang to give some shade to part of the patio.

The kicker is that as much as we like renovation, we both HAAAAAATE yard work. It’s just not our jam. We’ll get it all done, but I’m sure there will be a fair amount of cursing throughout. Good thing we live right next to an elementary school…

What do you prefer: indoor or outdoor renovations?

  1. This looks awesome! I can definitely picture a pretty wonderful lounging space once you guys have a chance to populate it with some outdoor things (as you mention you have planned). I can’t believe how much space you have out there–you should consider renting it out to local restaurants! Also, I would personally have to go with no renovations :-). Seriously, you guys have renovating superpowers and there should be a spot for you on the Avengers.

    1. Hahaha! I’m picturing Aaron in tights and a cape, wielding a hammer drill 🙂

  2. I prefer outdoor, because it seems more forgiving. If I plant a bulb a few inches off, no harm. Not the same for indoor materials. Plus, its alive!

    1. Maybe we can trade service 🙂

  3. I love yard work. Sincerely. I mean, it isn’t all fun and games, but nature, earth, sunshine… it all works for me. My husband, not so much. It’s one of the main reasons why I wasn’t that sad that our house didn’t sell last year, and one of the main reasons my husband is really keen to make our new apartment patio an oasis. No lawn, no maintenance, no fuss, just relax and enjoy. Maybe you guys will grow to love it? Or, you’ll grow happier every day that it’s one of the easiest tasks to hire out – you don’t even have to wake up to let them in.

    1. On the surface, we should like it. We both love being outdoors. But we really don’t. We’ll set up the yard to be as little maintenance as possible… we just need to get there.

  4. Yard work? No thank you. We are pretty happy on indoor projects. Like being outdoors well enough, but not doing that type of work. Looking forward to seeing your oasis bloom! That is a monster patio – please say Hubster is getting a monster grill.

    1. Amen, sister! I’ll paint and clean and do anything inside. The outside is for lounging. It probably doesn’t help that I’m allergic to most grass, so yardwork involves pants, long sleeves and sometimes a bandana over my face even in the scorching Missouri summers.

      🙂 Aaron immediately echoed your sentiments about the grill. Sadly, most of our free capital is going towards renovations. We opted to buy new grates for his current grill to get him through this year. Maybe next year we’ll spring for an updated model.

  5. Aaron, you’ll find a bunch of junk buried. There was a house there at one time, and when they do the tear down, anything that won’t contaminate the soil is used to fill the basement – then covered in topsoil; but usually a decent amount of topsoil so you shouldn’t get to the fill junk.

  6. […] one of my favorite things about our new space is the number of birds we have around. I mentioned it here and real-life friends are probably like “We get it! Enough about the […]

  7. […] heavy projects around the firehouse before we moved in, including laying a bunch of concrete (hello super huge patio) and building a carport. Our intent was to turn this into a garage. Last spring things were looking […]

  8. […] to know. We didn’t run electric from the firehouse to the carport (i.e. future garage) before we laid the concrete for the patio/parking pad. Doh! That left us looking for an aesthetically pleasing way to run the necessary conduit across […]

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