A New Patio: Choosing an Installer and Breaking Ground - Part 1

I've had a dream to build a semi-permanent patio and thus create an outdoor room, ever since we moved into our small, historic home in 2012. The space was grass and while it looked pretty in May, it was hard to keep tidy year round.

Here's a look at our 'grassy patio' space during the spring when the grass is thick and full and the weather is gentle and pleasant.

And here in summer, we see the view still looks nice with colorful flower blooms around the edges. 

The space is surrounded by perennial gardens that hold mature trees and shrubs. A large variety of birds visit daily and we have mason & bumble bees, March through October. It's a nice place to visit when the weather cooperates. 

In foul weather, it's a muddy nightmare...squishy, mushy, mud with patches of grass. Our pets track mud into the house, making Nov - April, rather devoid of joy.

And so the summer of COVID brought my husband a new perspective as we rarely left our home.....'we should better invest in our home and make it work for us'! (I've only been saying this for 8 years.)

We contacted Winterbloom Landscape Design because of the positive reviews many fellow garden bloggers in the Portland area have shared about them. Additionally, I know someone who works for the firm and have heard about how well employees are treated and are supported to pursue additional training and professional licensure in the industry. Those are important considerations for me when  choosing a contractor. (I don't often get to hire out for projects, but when I do, I use my $ to support business that pay a living wage and treats employees well and produces a high quality product.)

Winterbloom was in high demand in 2020 and so we waited for our turn to break ground. The scope of our project would include: removal of old, crumbling sidewalks around the front, side and back of the house, a water line out into our far backyard (about 50 ft and included some plumbing under our house), a water drainage solution for the corner of our house that the new hardscaped patio surrounds. All in all, about 700 square feet of hardscaping. (For perspective, the main floor of my house is 900 sq ft. Can you see how much value this additional space will add?)

Our project broke ground in early December 2020 at the height of the muddy season here in northwest Oregon. The Winterbloom crew started digging out the grassy patio. Here's a look:

Notice the old sidewalks are still in place. They provided a way to haul the dirt out with more ease. The crew dug the grassy patio down by about 6 inches. I wish I could have saved the dirt, but I did not have space to store it so the crew hauled it away.

Additionally, a trench was dug to run the new water line to the far back yard. There would be 2 spigots to eliminate the 'miles of hoses' I previously had running through my property.

This stage of the project was very hard for me from an aesthetic standpoint. I tend to love the 'finished product' stage. (Who doesn't?!) Another factor was our dog. She was used to having the backyard all to herself, but with the mud...that was a no-go. Our family took turns taking her on extra walks, several times a day, to keep her happy and manage potty time while we continued to work & participate in school from home. 

In my next post, we'll walk through the next steps the crew at Winterbloom took to create our gorgeous new patio. 

Cheers, Jenni

Disclaimer: I have not received any compensation for writing about my experience working with Winterbloom. They did not know in advance that I would write about working with them. JD


  1. It is going to look great and you chose a good time to get it done!

    1. Thanks Phillip! I hope to have all our garden blogging friends over someday to check it out :)

  2. I well remember that “splurch” part of having our patio and paths made back a few years. Like you, we had it done in the worst weather, but that was because we wanted to be able to garden as soon as the weather got springlike. I know it’s finished now, and I’ll look forward to reading about the next stage!


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