Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Brand new concrete driveway and patio: details and cost!

When we bought this house six years ago, we knew there were a lot of things that were big ticket items we couldn’t do ourselves. We’ve done those slowly, over time--roof, gutters, and garage door in early 2020… Major basement renovation in 2022. Then got a divorce and I really slowed down on my home projects. But with summer coming up and with my life feeling pretty stable right now, I felt ready to tackle the very cracked patio and driveway that I knew were really negatively impacting the home overall and property value/future sale price. I knew this would be expensive, but I got three quotes and talked the project over with my dad and an engineer friend, and went ahead with it.

Here’s the before of the driveway. The driveway was badly cracked on our property and on the approach near the street. The previous owner had patched it with some asphalt as you can see. There’s also a post under the door; that’s because originally this was two garage doors, but somebody removed the center support and it started to sag, so I added that, but underneath the post there was more cracking of the driveway from where the prior center support and footing had been.

Here’s the before of the patio. The garage was added a few years after the house was built so there were a couple of different paving pieces here and you can see there’s a funny low spot near an old drain pipe. Lots more cracking. (Also, that funny triangle of light paving is mortar that I threw on there one time when I was working on one of the bathrooms and was just so frustrated at the whole thing, I figured it wouldn’t be much worse than the crack. I think it was because it was a funny color, but oh well.) You also see those river rocks… That was just excess dirt before and the river rocks were an OK solution except weeds were still coming in, and it wasn’t usable for anything. I definitely wanted to keep the lilac bush though.

I got three quotes for the driveway and patio so I could compare apples to apples. The guy I chose said he could do it in 3 to 5 days, and start the next week. I started doing a little bit of prep before he came, including removing one of the pavers near the patio and moving the sandbox.

I also decided to add some scope on the side door. I used to have a walkway that came straight from the side door to the sidewalk and people would occasionally try to deliver packages to the side door. Also, there was a funky no man’s land in between an old walkway and the side of the house, which just sunken low and was just junky chips. So I had them change up the layout of the walkway and the area near the trash cans!

They did all the demo it about a day and we had a bunch of dirt and grading being shaken up, particularly on the back patio. 

Then the forms sat for a while while we waited for the concrete truck to be available.

Prepared for the concrete. It was amazing how fast the concrete pouring happened!

I think there were 9 guys working that morning.

Several days after that, they removed the forms, then I was left with crisp concrete with little ravines around the edges to fill in dirt. I had a big pile of dirt in my backyard due to everything else we had been moving around, so I filled those in with dirt.

You can see the new walkway and trash can area there. What an improvement. I used to keep the trash cans off to the right side of the driveway on the dirt.

I also added a French drain at the edge of the patio where the patio now evenly drains.

I am so, so excited to have beautiful, smooth patio for the kids to ride around on and to enjoy outdoor dinners on this summer! And of course, a shiny new driveway for much much better curb appeal for this old house. I’m planning to add some new patio accessories like new umbrella and rug, and BIG terra cotta pots.

Oh, the cost! I got three quotes, ranging from about $10,000 to about $15,000. Then I added the walkway changes by the side door which increased it a bit. In the end I paid $11,673. It’s a lot of money, but I cannot imagine doing this myself.

Now I just need to get those piles of dirt and rocks out of the backyard, and plant some more things in the fall, and this will be a pretty nice space!

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