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This is the final post in a series from Curbly.com Editor Bruno Bornsztein, and it’s the big reveal for his DIY patio and walkway paver project, which he accomplished with help from his wife Alicia, daughter Ayla, and HouseLogic’s sponsorship.
To DIY or not to DIY: That is the question. But before we get to the answer, let me give you a tour of our new and improved, DIY paver stone walkway and patio:
OK, back to Hamlet. This paver project was nothing compared with the Dane’s slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. But, to be frank, it was an outrageous amount of work.
I spent dozens of hours doing tough manual labor: moving earth, chopping roots, and hauling paver stones. This was physically taxing, mentally draining, and time-consuming. Throw in Mother Nature (sun, rain, wind, and bugs), and you have a recipe for a challenging project.
Now, I loved that part of it. Compared with my normal daily routine (sitting, typing, emailing, Facebooking), I found it invigorating. As I told Alicia, “There’s something awesome about doing a job where you might actually cut your finger off if you’re not focused.”
And as with most DIY projects, there’s a feeling of immense achievement when you finish. This week Ayla caught me gazing proudly out the window and said, “Daddy, you looking at your paddio?” I smiled with serene satisfaction.
On the flip side, I didn’t love taking time away from my family (on a couple of days I worked late into the evening). And while calluses and sunburn have a certain cool factor, the discomfort gets old.
From a pure dollars point of view, there’s no question we saved money, though we ended up spending more than originally noted in my second post. All in, we spent under $1,400. I estimate our project would have cost more than $4,500 professionally installed. However, that doesn’t account for my time spent on it, and arguably a pro would have done a better job (though I think I did quite well for a newbie).
So was it worth it?
I come down on the side of DIY-ing it. A paver stone project (unlike electrical wiring, for example) isn’t terribly complicated. And you can do a good-looking, long-lasting job if you take your time and mind the details. With a couple of weekends of hard but rewarding work, you’ll add value to your home and feel proud doing it.
We started out with a backyard walkway that was unkempt, unsound, and unsightly. Besides being a curb appeal minus, it was hazardous with a young child running around. Now, we have a great-looking, well-constructed walkway and patio that make the whole backyard better. If I did my work right, we’ll be enjoying it for years to come.
After watching Bruno and family tackle this weekend-eating project, would you do it yourself or pay a pro?
The giveaway is closed. By answering this question in the comments section below, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $100 gift card. (To be eligible for the drawing, your comment must be posted below by 11:59 p.m. central time on Thursday, July 7, 2011.)
is a home improvement addict fan who runs Curbly, LLC (including blogs “Curbly”, “ManMadeDIY”, and “WeeBabyStuff”). He has a background in journalism and web development, and hasn’t yet found a DIY project he isn’t willing to tackle.