There were a lot things that made us fall in love with and buy our house last year. Like its 1940s charm and screened-in porch. But definitely not the patio -- it was an eyesore and actually kind of dangerous with its uneven flagstones (we think it was the handiwork of a previous homeowner).
So we decided to renovate it this past spring. We wanted to reuse the flagstone -- they were in great shape, it was the "green" thing to do, and it would help us save money. And all of the contractors who gave us estimates were more than happy to comply.
We ended up going with Simpson & Company Landscape Designs (based in Falls Church), and we were not disappointed. Their estimate was the most competitive, they were easy to work with and they were QUICK -- both in terms of providing an estimate and completing the work. They laid the flagstone on top of a concrete base, and refaced our concrete steps with flagstone and fieldstone. We are so pleased with the results.
When the patio was finished, we realized that the rusted, old railing on the stairs didn't cut it anymore, so we had two new railings installed. (You really do always end up spending more than you planned no matter what type of reno you're doing.) We went with Reliable Rails (based in Manassas), which was also an incredibly smooth experience that yielded great results.
I'm still working on decorating the space, but so far we've added a potting table from World Market (no longer available online) that we use for entertaining as well as potting plants, and the Rock Lake Bistro Set by Country Living.
It's been a few months since the reno and we've been spending so much more time out there compared to last year. No more "homeowner special" -- we now have a little escape in our backyard. It was definitely worth the investment.