DIY Paver Project: Before and After

New paver walkway The finished project took about 40 hours of labor and cost $1,400. Image:

A patio and walkway for less than $1,400! editor Bruno Bornsztein reveals his labor of love, which he accomplished with help from HouseLogic.

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.

Related: Awesome Natural Stone Patios

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.

Related: Follow the DIY paver project from beginning to end.

After watching Bruno and family tackle this weekend-eating project, would you do it yourself or pay a pro?