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Home » One Room Challenge Spring 2021 – Week 1 Backyard Patio Refresh

One Room Challenge Spring 2021 – Week 1 Backyard Patio Refresh

This is my first time participating in this event! I am nervous and excited. Let’s dive in shall we?

Are you asking “what is the One Room Challenge”? I had heard of the challenge sort of in my peripheral and then when I started my home account on Instagram I started to see participants posting their room transformations. I was also asking “what is ORC???” In 2011 Linda Weinstein started the friendly challenge to motivate herself and a group of friends to finish one room in a given timeframe. So now the event invites bloggers who want to make over and share their projects with a wider community. So fun, right? Lucky for me, “designers” of all levels are welcome. I put designers in quotes because I am not a professional interior designer; I am just a home blogger who loves design and renovations and needs a timeline to buckle down! You can read more here about how the challenge grew into the biannual event it is today.

Nice to meet you!

I guess I should make an introduction- Hi, I’m Marie and I live in a 1929 Tudor Revival with my husband, son, and cat. Our home was remodeled in the 1960s/70s with lots of faux wood paneling, covered windows, knob and tube, corroded galvanized pipes- you get the idea. We embarked on an extensive remodel and are now ready to turn attention to the backyard!

So what will we be doing?

We will be creating a new patio space in our backyard! Currently, the backyard is in a state of limbo. The retaining wall at the back of the property, just below the fence is done! Topsoil and planting are still in process. I took this photo standing in backdoorway.

Top view of the backyard.

This view from our second floor shows the retaining wall. It also shows the small paved patio area that we need to rebuild, stumps left over from our fallen tree limb (the event that sort of kick started this whole backyard makeover, extra blocks that will be used in this next phase of our project. You can also see what I call the pandemic swing set lol. When playgrounds at parks were taped off and all other activities closed here in Seattle, we needed an alternative stat! This metal monstrosity was the best investment and provided a little sanctuary for our son!

South side of the yard.

The fence trellis, planter bed, and step stones were super early stage projects we did ourselves ater renovating much of our interior. It is difficult to detect in photos, but the yard has a slight slope that points toward the house. I am not sure if it is due to the erosion that was happening where we now have the retaining wall or if it was always just a lumpy yard. Anyhow, we would like to address this because it can be sort of scary for toddlers and unsuspecting adults! I would love to camouflage the large rain water capture barrel in the corner, maybe in a next phase.

North side of the yard.

In this photo you can see the new fence that was built earlier in the year. There is a mound of dirt that came out of our basement when we installed a sump pump, and it is slated to help fill our slope issue. We hope to extend the gravel path shown in the lower left to the fence.

The sad state of our current patio.

Peeling paint, chipped concrete; it’s a mess. The furniture under the black covers aren’t in the best shape either, so those might need to be replaced or at least refreshed during this challenge.

The plan!

Last year we had a friend draft a plan for the backyard, but we weren’t able to move forward. The design was beautiful and included an elevated wood deck sort of adjacent to where the retaining wall is now. As we started projects earlier this year we changed the plan. With the current price of wood, we scraped the wood deck in favor of using pavers and gravel to make the new patio.

To do:

  • Build low retaining wall in east portion of the yard, this is space closest to the back door where there is currently gravel.
  • Break up current patio slab.
  • Build a border (rocks?) for patio space.
  • Fill patio space with square concrete pavers and pea gravel.
  • Add plants along edges of retaining walls.
  • Repair and stain current patio furniture (or source used/new depending on time and budget)


  • Slope of the yard.
  • Removing the gravel/paver walkway we installed near the planter bed I created, to make more space for the patio.
  • Keeping our sanity-saver swing set!
  • We are simultaneously working our basement- yikes!

Future Projects:

  • Rebuild shed; lots of wood rot in existing structure.
  • Reconfigure space where shed is to make space for a fire pit.

Backyard patio refresh mood board!

Are you able to visualize the space? In the mood board I included both the table set and sofa set that we have. I am not sure which we will set out, depends which is easier to repair and stain ha ha!

Make sure to check out the other great One Room Challenge projects for some major inspiration!

Thank you!

Thanks so much for reading! Leave me a comment to let me know what you think. Have you ever participated in the ORC or something similar? I really hope you join me each week as I provide updates on this project. We will hire out work on the wall, but will do some DIY on the patio. Wish us luck!

37 thoughts on “One Room Challenge Spring 2021 – Week 1 Backyard Patio Refresh”

  1. This is a big project – I can’t wait to see how it progresses. Our back yard is in limbo too. We built one retaining wall and need another but work has stopped. I’m looking forward to gathering some inspiration from your project.

  2. This is going to be amazing, Marie! I’m so excited to follow along and see how this all comes together. I know it’s going to be just gorgeous. Hugs, CoCo

  3. This will be fun to follow along and is exciting. Loved the picture of your hand simply touching the spot in your yard. Good luck with your plan and I will look forward to following your path.

  4. So excited to follow your makeover! I thought about doing our backyard too, but and am doing a guest room this round. I have joined the One Room Challenge a few times and have enjoyed each one. I do get a bit stressed about half way through. It always seems like I won’t finish. ☺️

    1. Thank you so much! There are so many people who have participated multiple times- and I see why! It’s nice to have the community atmosphere and cheer eachother on 😊

  5. Wow, that is a big project. I can’t wait to follow along to see how it progresses. The ORC is a great motivator, that’s for sure.

  6. I love your vision for your space! We just finished about 700 ft. of paver patio and while it was quite the challenge, we are so happy with how it turned out. Looking forward to seeing your finished version.

  7. You will do an amazing job on your yard! It will be so worth it! We are getting ready to do a little refresh on our front porch but nothing to the extent you are doing!! Happy working!!

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