My Patio Failure


I just put in a patio… for the second time.

That seems to be how I do things … twice. I try something with zero planning and no idea what the heck I’m doing. It’s pure adrenaline and inspiration, and usually, I have a lot of fun despite my first-time failures.

I wrote a book that way. Zipped through it, scribbling like a lunatic, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. In 30 days I wrote 189,000 words. I loved every single moment of it. Then I learned a thing or two (or 50) about writing and had to rewrite the whole book from start to finish. It took me two years.

It’s how I roll, apparently. I was raised believing I could accomplish anything if I put my mind to it and applied a hefty dose of elbow grease. A good impetus for trying new things, even though my first efforts are often disasters.

Imagine the worst sheetrock job of the century, the crumbling stone wall, the warped floor, the divorce, the singing waitress job (yup, I did that).

I put in this patio a couple years ago without any preparation – no sand, no wire, no plastic, no concrete, no level. I just set everything on top of the dirt. Each rock was a different size and I dug individual holes so they would all be even. It was spectacular.

My friends out here in the rainforest asked me how I prepped the foundation. “Oh, I just lay everything on the dirt,” I said cluelessly. They exchanged wide-eyed glances and bit their lips but had the grace not to explode my happy-bubble.

Did I mention the rainforest? The place where green things grow 2 feet a day… all year round. Within a month, the weeds between the stones were waist high. The squirrel-sized moles had tunneled beneath the whole thing, pushing stones aside and heaping up knee-high piles of dirt. For two years my beautiful “patio” was a jungle of thistle, ferns, burdock, blackberries, and grass. Yeesh.

So, it was time to do it over again… completely. When my eyeballs dried up from editing, I went outside and pulled up rocks and bricks and pavers and piled them in the woods. I weeded from one end to the other and relaid every single stone … the right way.

The point? Don’t be afraid to try new things if you feel inspired. A little planning and preparation is probably a good idea. But even if you jump in with both feet, like I do, know that failure is a great teacher and nothing to be shy about. The end result is often worth it, and you might surprise yourself!


206 thoughts on “My Patio Failure

  1. GORGEOUS patio, Diana – absolutely perfect in its setting. How could your husband even consider concrete after living with that work of art?

    God bless the linear thinkers – the world needs them (and so do we) – but their world and ours would be dull-dull-dull without the more [shall we say] ‘creative’ types.

    I am in awe of your physical energy and follow-through skills, however. Do-overs rarely happen in my world (at least, not if they’re up to me).
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] might also remember my post about how I learn by Failure. This approach to life I also attribute to my childhood and my dad’s tendency to jump into […]

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I stink at most things creative because I am analytical / Black & white kinda gal… So admire those who can risk failing to create beauty. Blessings, Lisa

    Liked by 2 people

  4. rgayer55 says:

    Your story reminds me of my wife. She says she can be half finished with a project before I even get started. It’s true, but then she always has to tear it out and rebuild it right because she did not take the time to plan.

    I, on the other hand, sometimes take 2 or 3 years just to get started. Procrastination does have some advantages. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • 2-3 years! Ha ha. I am more like your wife, but we have such fun, who can blame us? I take more time on my second try and it usually pays off; I just can’t get myself to do it when the inspiration is shouting, “Go for it! Thanks for the visit 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. tedgiffin says:

    I think the patio looks fine! Great to do new things. Wow, I understand the creative force that drove you to write 189,000 words. Nifty, isn’t it?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great post and lovely patio, Diana. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 2 people

  7. inesephoto says:

    The patio looks beautiful, Diana! Like a mandala. People do things without preparation when they are inspired. They have a vision of what they want to create, even if they don’t really know how.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Dani Watkins says:

    Great post & great patio! I am such a planner myself but sometimes you just have to go all in!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the visit and the follow. I’ll be over in a few minutes to check out your blog. I’m always happy to connect. I think my husband wishes I was more of a planner too. He knows to just step out of the way. Ha ha. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Widdershins says:

    Beautiful. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A woman after my own heart. Many times I operate like you do however I also depending on the project can agonize over preparations. Love the patio!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you for the chance to giggle and nod my head in understanding. I apparently do things the same way! Reminds me of the time my kids and I (they were about 9 and 12) decided to build a brick patio in our back yard – yes, on the spur of the moment. Had not even purchased the bricks! We just guessed at the size and started digging out a square of dirt. We had such a fantastic vision of what it would be like! It ended when my landlord appeared and said, “what the hell are you doing?” My answer was, “the deck you promised to build might have been easier!” We never finished the patio and after we moved out he built a deck for his next tenets. Now, I have my own lovely patio that my husband put down right. I love the energy of a creative idea and I still prefer to “go with it” most of the time! Love your butterfly too. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha ha ha. Thanks for the morning laugh. My daughter caught the bug too and still calls me up when she gets one of her inspired ideas. It’s great fun to be that free to create and experiment (except for the landlord part!). My husband and I – on a whim – ripped out the ceilings in our first house thinking we’d like cathedral ceilings. Oh my…that disaster took a year to fix! Ha ha. Thanks for the visit, Dorothy 🙂 Happy creating!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Noelene says:

    Very encouraging blog, thank you.
    Your patio looks stunning!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. I don’t recommend taking risks that may harm you or anyone else, but other than that, why not? The fun and challenge are worth it even when it doesn’t go as planned. Much better than never trying 🙂 Thanks for the visit!

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Jools says:

    It looks amazing – in fact both of them do – and I love your ‘jump right in’ attitude!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s beautiful, you did a great job. I am sure it was well worth the trouble. Now the squirrels won’t get in the way and just think nothing growing in between the spaces. :o)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Diana, you are so inspiring! Sometimes you do just have to jump in and get with it which is much better than just sitting around and wishing that you had. The patio is beautiful, I know it was a lot of work. I do a lot of physical work also. I’m sure you got it right this time We learn, and we accomplish 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Lana. I like physical work. I would rather haul rocks than vacuum and dust any day! The patio was like a big jigsaw puzzle, not hard once the prep was done correctly. I imagine I will continue to just jump in. I like the challenge and excitement, even with the do-overs 🙂 Thanks for the visit!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. dgkaye says:

    I just loved this post Diana. I love your story of just going for the gusto, learning from it, and the do-overs, because that’s how we follow our ambitions and learn. And the patio is stunning. And then I’m amazed how you find time to write and do all that labour. You’re inspiring. Therefore, I have pinned this post to my inspiration board on Pinterest. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha ha. Your inspiration board – that sounds like fun. This isn’t as hard as it looks, Debby, especially if it’s done right the first time! It was a nice break between books and I got to muse over the crazy backwards way I do things. Thanks for the visit! Hope your week is creative and inspiring 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  17. reocochran says:

    Reminds me of the saying, If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. 🙂
    You were so brave with your first attempt, good friend. The book full of pages and thousands of words made me smile the first post you admitted this, awhile ago.
    This is a gorgeous patio made of carefully laid stones. They look like they came from the ocean, rivers and lakes. I liked their colors and textures.
    Which now here is my corny comment, Diana:
    The patio is a- “maze” -ing. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha ha. I love your corny statement, Robin. Yes, river rock – I loved the colors the first time I saw them and making them work was like piecing together a giant puzzle. Thanks for stopping by and wishing you much creativity!


  18. Morgan says:

    It looks beautiful

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Kev says:

    Beautiful. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  20. So beautiful just loved your patio and your amazing art work.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Ali Isaac says:

    You built that yourself? You are multi-talented! Care to pop over to Ireland and build me one? I’ll provide as much free Guinness as it takes! 😂 seriously, though, I’m impressed. And sage words of advice, too. (See what I did there? You can tell I’m a writer, right? Hehe!) And no, I’m only drinking green tea.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We’ll see how this one holds up, Ali, as I’m not doing it a third time! Someday when I make it to Ireland, I’ll take you up on the Guinness 🙂 Thanks for the visit and hope you have a daringly creative week!

      Liked by 2 people

  22. Lily says:

    It looks amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

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