HDBlogSquad // How to Build a Covered Patio

Like I mentioned on last night's live Periscope tour, I am overjoyed with how our new patio cover turned out! It's such a beautiful space that definitely adds to our "backyard appeal." It feels great knowing that space is finished and we have the entire summer to enjoy it! #BringOnTheBBQ's
Yesterday's post captured the majority of my feelings towards the backyard, and highlighted a lot of the DIY projects we've done to date. In this post I want to show you exactly what went into building the patio cover... and hopefully convince you that it's easy to take on a large backyard DIY project when you have the experts on your side.
So let's jump right back in! With project material list & sketch in hand, we visited our good friend David at the deck & fence design center. He reviewed our sketch, and after asking a few questions helped us order our materials. Because we needed a large amount of lumber we opted to order all of our materials at The Home Depot store and then have it shipped directly to our driveway (the $60 delivery charge was well worth it!). Once we had all the lumber and tools in hand we got down and dirty and started our project. While the instructions that follow are specific to our project, they will vary based on your patio project, plan and material list. Obviously you would want to do what works best in your backyard!
Building a Covered Patio

Step 1 // Install Anchors & Column Brackets
While this step could be done several different ways, "J" and I opted to use a post bracketwedge anchor to tie the columns into our concrete pads. Using a drill bit we drilled a hole the length of our wedge anchor (4.5 inches) into the concrete. We then placed a 6x6 inch post bracket onto the top end of the wedge bolt. Using a hammer we gently tapped the bolt into the hole as far as it would go. Using a wrench we tightened the bolt so the clip on the bottom expanded. It's important to ensure it is tight as this is what will hold the bracket and columns in place.
Step 2 // Build the Header Beams
Ensuring the roof is stable and supported is also important when building a structure of this size. While three 11ft x 10in x 2in boards would have been sufficient, the thickness of the column and beam would not have matched up. By laminating the 11x10x2's together using two pieces of 1/2 inch plywood, we were able to make the beam the same thickness as the column. Just note, this step is purely for looks and doesn't necessarily contribute to the strength of the beam. While I would have loved to have shown you this process, "J" tackled this piece of the project while I was away in Nashville... and he forgot to take pictures!

Step 3 // Install the Columns
After we cut the columns to our desired height (7ft and 9ft), we carefully stood them up on end in the brackets. Using deck screws, we affixed the columns to the brackets.
Step 4 // Install the Header Beams
This is where the heavy lifting came into play! The header beams easily weighed over 170lb. so we had to bring the muscle! It took two guys (and a spotter) to lift and place each header beam on top of the two columns (so they ran parallel to one another)! Of course one last "level" check is always advised before securing to each column using a 6x2.
Step 5 // Cut the Roof Rafters
After cutting each rafter to the correct length, we wanted to ensure the rafters would sit securely on the headers, so we used a cut called a birdmouth (this allows the rafter to have more surface contact with the header). The ends of the rafter were also cut on an angle for a decorative touch as they would be exposed.
Step 6 // Install the Rafters
This step definitely involves two people because it's all about making sure the rafters are evenly spaced. Several screws are toenailed into the rafter & header on either side to ensure stability.
Step 7 // Cut and Install the Roof Boards
We opted to use deckboards for our roof vs. plywood; with the ceiling being open and exposed, we would rather see boards than plywood. Since we installed two skylights, some of the boards had to be cut shorter in order to accommodate to window. We also had pressure treat sealer on hand so we could seal the ends of the deckboards that were cut and exposed through the skylight.
Step 8 // Install the Skylights
With the roofboards installed it was easy to slip the window into place over the hole. We followed all instructions for the skylights to ensure a tight seal.
Step 9 // Lay Tar Paper & Shingle the Roof
We could have stopped there, but because we wanted the roof to be leakproof, we opted to lay tar paper between the shingles and the roof boards. It's as easy as cutting it to size and nailing or tacking in place. Shingles were then installed over the entire roof. Working from the bottom up, this took us approximately 4 hours to complete. For an excellent, detailed how-to see Home Depot's roofing guide. At this time we also installed a drip edge.
Step 10 // Accessorize and Enjoy!
I'm not going to lie, shopping and decorating was the best part of this project! Big loveseats and simple chairs allow for lots of seating, while an area rug ties the space together. Large curtains work to keep the morning sun out when lounging, and bright pink flowers bring a touch of the outdoors "in." Soooo relaxing!
// Project Breakdown \\
For those of you who are interested in the materials breakdown of this project, you can find everything listed below. The amount of products may vary for you, depending on the size of your covered patio.
Looking for more #HDBlogSquad project inspiration? Check out the other talented bloggers that are a part of the squad:

Looking for more beautiful pictures of this outdoor living area? Check out my Reveal Post!

Disclosure: I was provided with a gift card from The Home Depot in order purchase supplies to complete the this HDBlogSquad project.

Covered Patio Reveal

Well, this is a post I never thought I would write. It's official. "J" and I are done our backyard! Done. Complete. Finite!
These past three years we have painstakingly shaped our barren wasteland of a backyard into a relaxing, functional, beautiful oasis. A place for us to relax, entertain, and enjoy those long summer nights.
When we started "Project Backyard" three years ago, the first project we tackled was our raised vegetable garden. We felt having our own fresh food, within a few steps from our back door, was important and a priority. Although that project took a lot of blood, sweat and tears, we are so happy with the results.
The following year we built a shed (which I now know I could not live without; it's a great place to store all those odds and ends that don't fit in the garage), followed by not one, but two poured concrete patios! We honestly thought that would be the end of it, but when we discovered the flimsy canvas gazebo we bought just wasn't holding up like we had hoped, we knew a permanent patio cover was needed.
While a thick blanket of snow still covered our backyard, we pulled out our sketch pads, pencils, tape measures, and rulers and created the perfect lean-to patio cover for our new outdoor living area.
After consulting with some of the knowledgeable specialists at The Home Depot, I learned there is a new trend in outdoor living spaces. Turns out we are not the only ones with a desire to transform a backyard space into so much more than just a simple seating area. This growing backyard trend has actually prompted The Home Depot to stock large & beautiful gazebos, comfortable patio furniture, and accessories to make the most of those cool nights.
At the end of May, when we had our plans finalized, the list of required building materials on paper, and our budgeting figured out, we ventured to The Home Depot to talk with the experts about our new project. Not only did the sales associates and patio specialist ensure we had all the right materials, they even made suggestions to help us on our journey. We knew we had a solid team of professionals on our side.
From start to finish our new covered patio took us approximately 2.5 weeks to build &complete. While the bulk of the construction took place during the course of one weekend, many of the finishing touches required several hours throughout the week to finish.
In the end, I am so incredibly thankful for "J's" help with this project. While I was the one with the "master vision," he definitely was the one who did a lot of the execution (that said, I was constantly on-hand when he needed me to cut a board, move the ladder, pass a screw, carry a skylight, seal the ends of the pressure treated wood, and decorate). He really did an excellent job at bringing my vision to life!

For those of you who are interested in seeing the step-by-step how-to, stay tuned! I'll be posting all the details of the build tomorrow!
I thought I'd have a little fun tonight and give you a live tour of my new covered patio on Periscope! Follow me on Twitter in order to get the link to my live broadcast at 6:00pm ET! So grab a glass of wine and get your questions ready! Looking forward to chatting with you tonight!

My Weekend According to My iPhone

1 // "J" & I put the finishing touches on our new covered patio over the weekend, so it's safe to say it's done! Stay tuned, I'll be posting the full reveal & tour next week!
2 // Finished up some paintings... Really considering opening an Etsy shop...
3 // S&T got married! These dear friends of mine met when we were all in high-school, so it was only appropriate that they had a "school" themed wedding! Probably the most colourful one I have ever been to!
4 // The happy couple!
5 // My date to the wedding... and yes, we planned on having the dress match the tie!
6 // No wedding celebration would be complete without the bestie-selfie!

Big Ol' Burger with Crispy Onions, Bacon, and Sweet Pickles

I can't think of a better way to spend a sunny summer afternoon than in front of the BBQ grilling up some big, juicy homemade burgers. 
I mean, isn't that what Sunday's are for? And while today marks the official start of summer, it also happens to be Father's Day... two very acceptable reasons to spend the afternoon grilling to your hearts content!
I love making burgers from scratch because the possibilities are endless. From chicken burgers, veggie burgers, and mushroom blended beef burgers... there are so many ways to grill up a delicious hearty burger! And whether you top them with all the fixings, or nothing at all, a burger fresh off the grill always puts a smile on my face.
But let's get to THIS burger. This burger is a man's burger fo' sho! I mean, it has bacon, two kinds of meat, sweet pickles, crispy onions... and more bacon! THIS is the burger that you spend the afternoon grilling for Father's Day! In one single bite, this burger will show dad just how much you care! 
Big Ol' Burger with Crispy Onions, Bacon, and Sweet Pickles
This burger is just what your grill has been craving.... two kinds of ground meat are mixed together to produce a flavourful and juicy patty, while crispy bacon, onion strings, bacon mayo and sweet pickles round out the flavours making you say "mmmmm" with every bite! Serve with chips and garlic dill pickles on the side.

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb lean ground pork
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely diced onions
2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
5 burger buns
10 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy
5-6 slices of crispy onions (recipe below)
Bacon mayo

1. Mix beef, pork, egg, breadcrumbs, onions and Cajun seasoning in a bowl. Form into five 1/2lb. patties. 
2. Place on pre-heated grill and cook for approximately 6-8 minutes per side. Internal temperature should reach 160°F. Should you wish to toast your buns, place them cut side down on the grill for 1-2 minutes.
3. Spread the bottom bun with bacon mayo, top with patty, bacon, onion strings and sweet pickles. Enjoy!

Crispy Onion Strings: Cut 1 medium sized sweet onion into thin slices. Pour 1/2 cup of buttermilk into a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of flour and 1 tbsp of Cajun seasoning to another. Working in batches, dip onions into buttermilk and then into flour. Coat well. Gently place into preheated oil, and cook until they crisp up and turn a golden brown. Continue this process until all strings have been cooked. Keep warm in a foil pan until ready to use.
So don't waste another second, get out there and fire up that grill!