In 2013, my husband and I built a modest home amongst beautiful, aged Oak and Walnut trees overlooking Midwestern cornfields with the intent of adding a patio/deck in the near future.  The land was still rough, and we (mainly him- bless his heart) spent the next few years taming the property and slowly making our house a home.

FIVE years later (sigh!), when other, more pressing projects were complete, it was finally time to imagine an outdoor space where we could comfortably enjoy our surroundings.  As I would soon come to learn, patios/decks are not cheap and neither my husband nor I are handy.  Also, I am not particularly crafty, thus my complicated relationship with Pinterest and its’ “simple” DIY plans.   Cue the sad music…

Here is a list of our criteria (in no particular order) when weighing our options:

  1. Low maintenance
  2. Larger square footage
  3. Aesthetically pleasing
  4. Under $2,000
  5. Simple design

At the time, I honestly didn’t think that I was asking for too much, until I began pricing out different materials.  Pavers, composite decking, stone and bricks were all out of our price range and beyond our skill level/time commitment to install ourselves.

Photo of finished concrete patioPhoto of finished patio alternate view

Let’s look back at our criteria and how this material ended up checking off every box.

  1. Low maintenance

    Concrete is virtually no maintenance barring the occasional sweeping up of natural debris.

  2. Larger square footage

    Our house is on the smaller side, so we wanted to have a patio that would accommodate large groups of people. The patio ended up being 21x15 ft.

  3. Aesthetically pleasing

    Stamped concrete was not a substantial difference in price, and it makes the patio almost look as if it’s stone!  Now, we could have added a color or stain, which would have looked lovely, but that was out of our price range.

  4. Under $2,000
    • Stamped concrete patio= $1,600.00
    • Wooden Step= $50.00 for materials/stain
    • Landscaping= Free Hostas
    • White bench, pots= Free, Used
  5. Simple design

    A simple, rectangular design worked well with our existing home design, plus it’s easy to mow around.