You’ve seen it all: sunken foundations, widening cracks, trapped rain runoff, and the makings of what was once a cool mid century patio now a re-muddled mess. A worn-out patio is haunted instead of hallowed, but you know that it can be so much more.

If you play your budget right, the equivalent of another living room is just outside the back door. You can sip your coffee and watch the sunrise, read the afternoon away on the chaise lounge and tell stories around a late-night fire.

Foundational Questions

The first step toward that dream is to establish project scope: Does your patio need a repair or a renovation? Home Advisor says that the national average for basic patio or walkway repairs is $1,318, while the national average installation costs $3,264.

If the patio’s flaws are more aesthetic than structural, congratulations! A surprising amount of damage can be repaired, from concrete cracks to loose or missing pavers. You can resurface unsightly concrete and even use slab jacking to level a sunken patio. A permit is usually not required for basic repairs, but you’ll want to consult with a professional before taking on any large projects.

A personalized mid century modern patio with light and dark-toned mid century furniture.
This terrace space was designed for easy relaxing and entertaining by Sydney-based interior design studio, THE DESIGNORY. Photo By Simon Whitbread.

Begin Anew

If foundational flaws lie between you and the patio of your dreams, get ready to start fresh. Home Advisor’s $3,264 average does not consider every financial factor that will affect your project. To estimate what your patio will cost, consider every step of the process. That way you’ll know where to splurge, when to buy secondhand and when to tackle some DIY.

Key considerations start with building permits, demolition and removal. You’ll also need to choose every element that will affect foundation installation: a gas line for a fire pit, electricity for lighting, footings for shade structures and even landscaping. Then there are materials, installation, cleanup, landscape, furniture and any other features that will make your new patio special.

Sounds like a lot, right? It’s worth considering every detail before you start, to ensure you’re not skipping steps or missing options. To avoid decision fatigue, start choosing materials well before you’re hit by mid-project stress. Planning ahead gives you plenty of wiggle room in both budget and timeline. With luck, you can have everything ready for the first barbecue of the summer.

Related Reading: MCM Picks for Mod Curb Appeal

A personalized mid century modern patio with a distinct concrete walkway.
Much of the landscape in Karen and Najib Benouer’s John Harvey Carter-designed home in Sacramento California was original. Walkways made from concrete pads and outlined in river rocks are both geometric and organic. Photo by Daniel Blue.

Reclaim Your Mid Century Patio History

If you own a mid century modern home, your heart might sink at the thought of tearing out all that history, but not everything has to go. Old materials can have plenty of new life. Loose bricks are easily set aside to use in your new patio, and even installed bricks can be salvaged long before you bring in the jackhammers.

The SFGate’s Home Guides gives the details: You carefully chip the bricks apart with a cold chisel and 2-pound sledgehammer, row by row, and use a brick hammer to remove the rest of the mortar. If the mortar is stuck, it’s time for—you guessed it—a hydrochloric acid bath, using 1 part acid to 20 parts water.

The process requires plenty of safety measures, so please research and prep thoroughly. But reclaiming your home’s history is always worth the work.


Now that you’ve got the backyard down, it’s time to tackle the front. Learn the basics of landscaping and how you can create the MCM front yard of your dreams right here!

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