After initially thinking I could renovate our backyard by myself and lay a patio using my existing red stone, taking Dan-O ‘s suggestions of having a professional installation was worth it. The workers came in Tuesday at 9am and finished this afternoon at 5pm. Two guys in 95*+ temperatures and they finished in three days. My pictures from before they started work are a bit older, but you can get the basic idea. The grass is alive in the pictures, but I had killed it with Round-Up per the builder’s request. I looks better in these pictures than when they actually started. The solo box you can see in the fourth picture was already pulled out, so it was a giant dead spot. You can see the ‘great brown spot’ by the garden boxes and the dead circle in the middle of the yard as well. Nothing would grow in any of those locations, scorched earth-style. I can home from work Tuesday to them having pulled all of the red stone up, flattened the built the patio base, and removed all of the perimeter rock. Wednesday I came home to a completed patio, existing grass removed, fertilizer tilled in, and the lawn area leveled. They also lifted the garden beds to be consistent to the patio surface. Today I came home to a finished backyard. Sod planted, new perimeter rock laid, and sprinklers rearranged. They also removed a massive pile of river rocks that I couldn’t even give away. Wifey wants to find a nice fireplace that she can put on the patio, and then we’re done with that. My thoughts on fixing the deck by myself however are toast. Dan-O was nice enough to look at some pictures of our known issues and suggested that we call in a pro. Our contractor referred us to a deck guy that he’d worked with in the past, who came out same day to get an estimate for necessary repairs. Most deck contractors were saying 2+ weeks before they could even come by look at it, so the promptness was great. He should be coming out this weekend to do the repairs and add a gate to the top of the stairs for Haley. We are going to wait for the grass to take on 3-4 weeks and hopefully have a nice barbeque. All of the local Monkey’s are invited, so I’ll let you know once we get closer to the date. *edit* Just thought about it and I'm probably going to stain the fence too, as that will look quite nice.