Patio Make-Over

By / Food / May 24th, 2013 / 2

So there we were, hubby and I, sadly staring out at our backyard ten years after promising we’d do something about the expanse of asphalt that posed as a patio. It was truly hideous – now more than ever. Years of cycling from frozen winters to sweltering summers have caused the asphalt to heave, crack look generally sickly and close to death.

With the first few weeks of May heralding a quick dive into the beautiful sunshine and heat of summer, plants began sprouting fruit, veg and flowers all over the yard. That’s what I call paradise. The yard (except for the pseudo-patio) was looking truly fabulous. The climate may force us to spend a good chunk of the year huddled inside the house, but we’re really outdoor, warm weather people. As soon as temperatures hit the 20s, we’re outside, bbqs aready. (Yes, that’s bbqs – plural. You can never have too many, you know.) Whiling away the days outside on the asphalt, it was getting harder to ignore the weeds coming up through the cracks, or the fact that our patio was just plain ugly. As it goes when you buy a “handyman’s special”, there was always too do much to do inside the house.

But, not this year. The time has come to build our little backyard oasis, as simple as it is.

So, the first question is what exactly do we do with the asphalt. We could rip it all out and lay some cut concrete, pavers or maybe some really nice flagstone or slate. That would look fabulous, wouldn’t it. However, we’re still toying with the idea of installing an inground pool. If we did that after we installed a nice new patio, said patio wouldn’t look very nice anymore. Last year I came across a product called EnviroTile at Home Depot. It’s a type of paver made from recycled tires, manufactured into plain or decorative tiles. They can be laid over any surface, no prep required. Lay them side-by-side, clip only the outer tiles together and voilá, instant patio. Great idea, but I just wasn’t sure I liked the look.

This year, I came across patio tiles at Ikea made from acacia wood. After spending a little time Googling, I discovered that they come in teak, too. Just not from Ikea, and for a little bit more money. We went for Ikea’s Platta design for the simple reason that they were slightly cheaper. The wooden slats are arranged in a kind of parquet pattern and fused into 30 cm squared tiles. You just lay them down side-by-side and they clip together really easily. Our patio is about 510 square feet – pretty large, I’d say. Despite the size, it only took a couple of hours to install them. I think it ended up looking great, if I do say so myself. By the next day, half the street had come by to check it out. The general consensus? Nice! Refreshed and ready for some active summer use!

If there’s any drawback to this sort of thing, it’s that come the fall we’ll have to lift all the tiles up and find a place to store them, only to lay them down again next spring. Oh well. That’s just one of the joys of living in a snowy climate.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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