Creating an Outdoor Entertainment Space

by Tony Bruser 06/10/2019

Did you recently move into a home that has this wonderfully big backyard, but all the contractor installed was a little three-foot by two-foot slab of concrete just outside the back door. What use is that? Where do you put the chairs or a barbecue? 

There are several approaches you can take to creating a usable space. First, you can take the easy road, and that is the hire a company and have them design something for you. Then, you can pay them to build whatever they create. This way is costly at the least, but if you have more funds than time then go ahead and take that route. They will produce something spectacular for you.

However, if are short on cash but are willing to work one of the next two approaches might work for you. One, you can go the way of building a deck out of treated decking boards, or two, you could pour another concrete slab. For this explanation, the concrete slab is the choice. Concrete involves a lot of physical labor, but if you take your time and work at it—instead of going to the gym—you might produce something the whole family can use instead of just sweat. To get started, you need to make sure you have a good shovel, rake, and a pick-spade. 

To create the best concrete slab, you need a level base. Some would say you can pour the concrete directly onto the grass, but grass has a way of growing up through concrete. So, let’s remove the turf from the areas you want to become the porch. You will need to enough two-by-six boards to frame the entire area of the new porch. You want the top of the board to be level with the top of the concrete, so you need to remove the dirt, so you have four inches of the six-inch board clear. You can pour the cement without any reinforcement, but you risk it cracking. At your DIY store, you will find four-foot by five-feet four-inch wire mesh to cover the dirt. Using this method is a lot easier than using standard lengths of rebar. 

Now to the concrete. There are two methods, and your area will determine which is the least expensive. You can buy the cement from a ready-mix company, or you can purchase the sacks of premix from the hardware store and rent a mixer. In either case, you will need to determine how many cubic feet of concrete you will need: Do that by multiplying the length of slab times its width times its depth (this should be a minimum of four inches). If you have experience laying concrete before, then you can get your brother-in-law or a friend to help you and you should able to mix and lay a 15-foot by 23-foot slab in about four hours. 

Once the concrete has completely dried, you can put chairs, a table, and the barbecue on it. One further suggestion would be to find a self-standing gazebo that you buy in a box that you can put together. If you're in a wind-prone area, bolt it into the concrete. These free-standing gazebos range from $200 to $1500. 

Now enjoy your great backyard!

About the Author
Author

Tony Bruser

Tony Bruser, Broker/Realtor

Welcome! This website is designed to be a simple and effective way to search San Diego real estate with ease as well as learn more about my brokerage, Prime Pacific Properties. As a real estate broker and Realtor for over 30 years I have a wealth or knowledge to share with my clients.

My wife Cheryl and I have been residents of San Diego for over 40 years.  I obtained my original real estate license in 1987.   In 1989 I became a licensed broker.  In over 30 years or representing clients, I have successfully closed hundreds of residential and commercial transactions in California valued in the tens of millions of dollars.   With great experience throughout San Diego County as well as intimate local area knowledge, I works extensively to help buyers and sellers meet their real estate goals.    Good service is not difficult, it's common sense.    I have been honored to have assisted hundreds of clients over the years and now helping their grown children!    

I love the work I do and take great pride in it.   There are always challenges in every situation, that's what keeps the work interesting.    The knowledge I have acquired through experience is a critical asset that drives success.   Markets change as do conditions that impact those markets.  It's imperative you work with an seasoned real estate professional to provide accurate "real time" intelligence combined with years of negotiation skills.   I do not make decisions for my clients.  My focus is to make sure they have all the knowledge they need to make the right decision for themselves.

More than 90% of my business is through referral.  My philosophy is that if you take care of your clients’ needs, success will follow. 

If you are considering a San Diego real estate acquisition or sale,  or simply would like more information, please feel free to call or e-mail me anytime.    All consultations are without obligation and are completely confidential.