Becky’s big patio project

Becky Norris

Becky Norris

Becky Shaul Norris recently documented her patio project for us here at Flea Market Gardening this Spring.  At each stage she updated her progress and posted more photos.  Here on our blog it’s easy to show her entire project in one post!

“The work has now begun,” Becky tells us. “I am going to make a patio in this corner of my garden. I will be making twelve cement pavers with stained glass embedded in them, and the remainder will be filled in with brick that my best friend gave to me. I only need to set 178 of those hundred year old bricks!”

Becky posted pictures of the stages of this project.

“Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it.”  ~Author Unknown


Becky's garden area before

Becky’s garden area before

“My husband does not like the fact that I have a gas powered cement mixer that he has to start it every time but at least I do the rest! But I can only last to mix two batches per day. I have 8 squares made and 4 more to go before I can start leveling the soil and applying the base sand. That will be the hard part for me. I am not good at getting things level!”

Molds make four pavers at a time

Molds make four pavers at a time

“This photo shows a row of four molds.  My husband made four molds for me.  He used 2 x 4 lumber to make the molds, but he ripped the boards down to the thickness of the bricks so that when I poured the pavers they would be even with the bricks that I was using.  This made it much easier for me to have a level layer of sand to lay everything on, and I would not need to dig and get the layers even.”, Becky says.

Two of Becky's designed tiles

Two of Becky’s designed tiles

She says, “Today I molded the first four of twelve cement pavers I will be using in the patio. I have made stained glass designs to put in each paver. These pavers will be unmolded first thing tomorrow. I will then put glass designs in the next molds and mix more cement. I figure it will take me three days just to mold the pavers, and then I have to prepare and level the ground before laying all the bricks. I have to be patient. I want to do it all in one day.”

“In the process of making the cement pavers, I used one sack (92 lbs) of cement per two pavers. I make the glass designs by cutting and fitting stained glass, and I also used plain glass such as from a photo frame, to paint in a reverse painting method on the glass.  For the pieces I painted I used craft paint enamel which is baked in the oven for an hour. ”

Antique bricks, given by a friend and waiting to be installed, all by Becky herself.

Antique bricks, given by a friend and waiting to be installed, all by Becky herself.

Becky shows us, “These are part of the bricks that I will be using in my new patio. Can’t wait to get it in place because it will give me more places to put more plants. What can be better than more plants??? Chocolate maybe, but nothing else for me!!!!  It will be a big job, but I am up to the work. I enjoy doing this stuff so much. Can hardly wait to get it done.”

Lily, made from stained glass pieces and set in the concrete pavers.

Lily, made from stained glass pieces and set in the concrete pavers.

Becky says, “The lily was made with clear glass that I reverse painted on the back with enamels which you bake in the oven. I am hoping this paint will last and the cement will not damage it. It will be in a shady place most of the time so I don’t think I have to worry about the paint fading. All hubby has to do is crank the cement mixer and then he goes to sit down. I unmolded them this evening. Had a few chips on the edges tonight. But I just used a chisel and scraped the edges. They really look like they are very old. Really cool looking. I still have more of the lily panels to mold and then I can get started on the brick work!

Fleurdelis pattern

Fleur-de-lis pattern

Becky says, “This is one of the pavers that I molded yesterday and removed front he mold this morning. I molded four more pavers today. They measure 16 inches by 16 inches. They are still wet and very heavy. This is not as easy as I thought it would be, but I am doing this with no instructions and making it up as I go along.”

Don’t you admire Becky’s do-it-yourself spirit?  It’s very much the Flea Market Gardening way!  There’s one sure way to complete a project that way you like and that’s to do it your own self. And Becky seems to know her limits.  She portions out the work in the most efficient way while saving her back.

Contact paper masks the glass from the concrete

Contact paper masks the glass from the concrete

“I was not sure how the paint would do with the cement but it is working beautifully. NOTE:  The painted side of the plain glass is the side which went against the cement.   I laid out my design, right face up, and then covered it with a piece of contact paper.  After the paper was applied I laid the paper with the glass in the mold face side up, with the glass towards me.  (YOU CAN SEE THIS ON THE BLUE CONTACT PAPER)” Becky says.

“After the cement was mixed to proper consistency I just poured it into the mold and smoothed the top.  I took the mold off after about 12 hours.  At this time I removed the contact paper and I used a scrubbing sponge, the kind with the green pad on the yellow sponge, and removed any cement from the glass.  I also took a file and smoothed the edges of the paver.   I let the pavers dry for about two weeks before I laid the pavers and the antique bricks.”

Becky at work

Becky at work, figuring out her pattern and laying the bricks

“After I had all the bricks laid in the area I poured polymeric sand between all the pavers, swept the pavers clean, and made sure all cracks were filled. I then watered the sand and bricks according to manufacturer’s directions on the polymeric sand mixture.”

Bricks and pavers in their pattern

Bricks and pavers in their pattern

The finished patio will have few pieces of furniture so the pattern will show

The finished patio will have few pieces of furniture so the pattern will show

“We have put the bird feeder pole in place and the patio works great at catching the seeds, and it is also a focal point of the garden now.  I love my new area and I can sit and meditate and just enjoy the flowers around me.”

The finished pattern

The finished pattern

We love your patio, too, Becky and appreciate all your hard work. Thanks for sharing your work of art with us!  ~~ Sue

Becky's initials and her husband's, intertwined

Becky’s initials and her husband’s, intertwined

Here are two more photos of Becky’s whole garden and the decidedly uncommon path she also made from a common concrete mold:

Becky's garden

View of Becky’s whole garden area

Becky's fabulous path

Becky’s fabulous path

Categories: Garden Art, Hypertufa or cement projects, My Big Garden Project, Paths, Recycling | Tags: , , | 43 Comments

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43 thoughts on “Becky’s big patio project

  1. ( Jeanie Merritt) WOW I think this project is wonderful!!! I enjoyed seeing the step by step process and the personal touches that Becky added to name it “her own”. I am impressed and equally grateful that a fellow gardening pal not only has the gardening “bug” and the flair to spice it up with a FMG style, but that they are enjoying it and willing to share the results of the fruits of their labor with their fellow “flea folk”..Thank you Becky. Job VERY well done!

  2. Ann Conetta Miller

    Absolutely wonderful!!!!!!
    I have two patios made of antique bricks. The house was built in 1956 but the bricks are from German Village in Columbus, OH. Moles and/or chipmunks have made a mess out of them by burrowing under them. I was going to work on them this summer, but had to put that project on hold because I had to have 350 feet of septic line replaced. Horror!!!!! My budget plus my back yard was totally torn up. I now have seed planted, but we’ve had a week of pounding rain, so it’s hard telling where the seed will grow.
    Seeing your beautiful patio has give me a kick in the pants to get started. I have emphysema, so I have to take it slow……but it’ll get done!!!!! Thanks

    • Sassy

      Just remember…slow & steady wins the race! From someone with Fibromyalgia…just do a little at a time…but keep going! :)

  3. Sharon G.

    It is just beautiful !!1 How did you make your path ( the last picture) ????

    • Sharon G. I made the cobblestone looking path with some plastic molds which they have in home stores such as Lowes, Home Depot, and at almost every garage sale I attend (lolol). I used the quickcrete and followed the directions. I poured the cement mix in the holes of the mold, smoothed the top off with a smoothe trowel, and then I just laid the pieces of glass, marbles, keys, etc on top of the cement and I began to just pat each piece with gloved fingers. I wear surgical gloves when working with the cement since it is like an acid and will harm your skin. Once all the edges of each piece are barely covered with the cement I leave the ma alone. In the case of the leaf imprints, I find leaves with a good vein structure on the back and I pick the leaf fresh, place it on the surface of the wet cement and simply smoothe it into the cement. I leave the leaf there until the cement has begun to set, then remove it from the cement. It leaves a nice leaf impression. After all the cement has almost set, I take a scrubbing sponge and clean the glass, marbles, etc and kind of smoothe the top of the cement. I then let the cement set and the stones are finished. If any cement residue is left on the glass or other pieces, they can be cleaned with “the works toilet b owl cleaner and the cement is easily removed.”. If you have more questions then message me and i will help you with a project of your own any way I can.

  4. Love!! Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Amazing, compliments the garden, which is gorgeous

  6. George Weaver

    Great job Becky it looks like all the hard work payed off . You can be proud of the fact that you made it with your own hands. Thanks for showing us how you made the pavers. I feel hornored that you shared such a personal space with us.

  7. Elaine

    very, very nice…and it is your pink table and pink chair in the spring pictures…would like to make a table like that…

    • Elaine, yes it was my chair and table in the picture. I would love to figure out how to make tables and chairs out of willow. I love the looks it this little table I was actually going to throw it out earlier this year and just stuck it in the shed instead. Glad I did because once I started the patio I decided I needed a small table and chair to paint pink to put on my patio. So glad you like it. If you ever decide to try to make a willow table give me a hollar. I might just try to make one with you.

  8. Jimmye Porter

    AMAZING… Becky has such a wonderful God given talent… there is no other explanation for her creativity & I certainly appreciate all the projects she has shared with the FMG folks. In the photos above, I had told Becky one of my favorite projects she has done, was the Fleur de Lis globe on the pedestal & to think she started with a broken light globe. We are very blessed to have all this talent in one place, the most inspirational thing about Becky & FMG, everyone shares ideas with each other – I have not found anyone who wasn’t willing to say, “well this is how I did it”… Becky Shaul Norris, I am glad to know you & look forward to seeing many more of your projects in the future. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sassy

      I especially loved the Fleur de Lis too!! Delicious!!

    • Jimmye, you better quit, you are making my head swell! I sure do appreciate all your kind words, and I am so happy to have made friends with you on FMG. We sure do have a lot in common. I have surely been blessed with more design ideas than I can make in a lifetime. I am always glad to share information with others. I have worked with such a wide variety of are mediums in my lifetime and I pull all those experiences together when working in the garden. I am not that great at a lot of things, but I am never afraid to try a new idea. You never know what you might get. The patio is a good example. when I started I had on idea if the glass would stay in the concrete, or if the pavers would even come out of the molds my husband made. But as you can see it all worked out well. I am proud of being able to complete this project, and happy with the outcome. I hope we can all see your “boat” project soon.

  9. Larry Langley (Tractor Man)

    Wow! I’m very, very impressed! Absolutely beautiful!

  10. Jeanne Sammmons

    Oh wow, Becky! I cannot even contemplate taking on a project like this! It’s beautiful! Love all the brick work & the pavers you made …all pretty w/mosaic & such! Your surrounding gardens are gorgeous & the path is better than following the yellow brick road! TFS your talent!

  11. She is quite the artist! I love what she has done!

  12. tracy

    Absolutely wonderful! Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Nancy K. Meyer

    VERY, very nice, wonderful project and great to see how it all came together. Good Job, Miss Becky <3

  14. Sassy

    UNREAL!!! What an incredible amount of time, love, dedication and creativity that went into this!!! This is so inspiring!!! Thank you for sharing it!! I LOVE to see other people’s beautiful creations!!!! You will enjoy this forever! Thank you for letting us enjoy it with you.

  15. Annie Steen

    Wow what inspiration!…It’s wonderful Becky~

  16. Thank you all so much for your wonderful compliments on my patio project. I was happy to be able to share it with so many wonderful people. I am so happy to have a home here on FMG, and I especially thank Sue Langley for all her hard work on this site. If any of you are ever in the middle of Oklahoma just send me a message and I will get the tea warmed up for your visit. In the meantime I will be seeing all of you on FMG daily! Thanks again for “liking” my project.

  17. Penny Calhoun

    This is so beautiful! I’m sure every morning when you walk out there you feel such a wonderment!! God love you, it’s amazing!!

    • Penny, so happy you liked the patio project. It was indeed a labor of love and I love doing any kind of work in my garden. It is providing a lot of enjoyment on these lovely spring days. thank you for your comments. See you on FMG.

  18. Marylee

    Becky, your patio is absolutely beautiful and an inspiration for me to try to make my area better. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful project.


    • Marylee, I am so glad you like my little project. I am so happy with the way it turned out. It was a little hard to do, but most aspects of the project were very easy and I really had a lot of enjoyment while working on this. I will really enjoy the shady space it provides this summer. Thank you for enjoying it.

  19. Marie Niemann

    Wonderful job Becky! This was great to see how you progressed in your project with step by step instructions. I especially love the use of the old bricks along with your own creative blocks. You are such an inspiration to many and I love seeing you in FMG sharing your beautiful gardens and creativity. I can see why you would love spending time out there on your new patio! Beautiful!!

    • Marie, thank you for your kind words. I love the way things turned out on the patio. I had no idea when I started if this project would even work out. I just went along with the ideas in my head and made them work. I will be enjoying this shady spot this summer. I love the way our project is also working. I know it will look great. see you on ‘FMG.

  20. Becky Burns

    Due diligence paid off for you ! What an accomplishment ! Beautiful and so peaceful… Easy on the eye !

    • As they say, slow and easy win the race. In this case I was a winner. I am getting so much enjoyment from the new pation and it is working well to catch bird seed and just a lovely focal point in the garden. I am glad you like it. and thank you for the compliments.

  21. I love how creative and unique this is! It looks like a happy place. :)

    • Thank you for the compliments. My garden is a happy place and now my plants will be happy because no more bird seeds are piling up on their roots. I love the patio in my garden and the focal point it gives the entire yard.

  22. Very, very neat patio! I love it and I think I might incorporate some of the ideas into the 20′ x 20′ patio we’re creating right now! :)

    • I am so glad you enjoyed the pictures and descriptions of the patio. It makes me happy when others get ideas from my projects. If I can help in any way just message me on FB and I will help if I can. Good luck with your large patio project. I am really enjoying mine.

  23. Pingback: Jimmye’s friendship boat « Flea Market Gardening

  24. Sarah Tointigh

    Becky, thanks for the tour of your garden today. I thoroughly enjoyed myself! I love all your ideas, and boy are you full of them!

    • Sarah, so good to meet you. I sure hope you enjoy Flea Market Gardening as much as I do. I have gotten so much inspiration from all of these wonderful people. Hope you can find a great solution to your “privacy” problem. Hope I was able to help a little.
      Keep in touch and maybe we can manage some design ideas for your garden.

  25. Christine McCombs

    Looks really great! I was wondering if you’ve had any trouble with moles? I just put some indoor/outdoor carpet over an area that was just dirt no grass to make a sitting area by our lawn mower shed. Then a few days later here comes a mole and makes a big hump down the middle! Wasn’t very happy.

    • Hi Christine, I have not had a lot of trouble with moles. Several years ago I did have a problem with them and i put some grub killer on my lawn. Can’t remember the name of it, but you start on one side of the lawn and put it on about a 5 foot strip across the entire yard, then wet it down, and repeat it the next day and move to a different spot the next day. I also have some Castor bean seeds that I put small quantities of under rocks, or bricks, or anywhere I might see a mole hole. Just make sure no pets or children can get to the seeds as they are very poisonous. Moles eat them and they die. I know no way of keeping the moles away from under your carpet, except the ways I have mentioned. Hope this helps you get rid of those pesky moles.

  26. Pege

    Becky, you have done a wonderful job on your patio. How long have you been doing stained glass?
    I guess I really need to get to work:) It’s really pretty!

    • Thank you so much Pege for the compliments. I have never done stained glass. I just bought some glass and started trying to cut it. These designs are what I ended up with. I used a lot of determination and patience when planning these designs, and trial and error making them. I just kind of figured out in my mind how to do these pavers and my plans worked this time. Good luck on your projects and have fun crafting.

  27. Pam Tivner

    Absolutely Beautiful!

  28. LaLinda Eggerling

    Hi there, Love your garden. Lots of hard work. See you at the auction. LaLinda

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