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Smith Mountain Lake House Update–Patio and Walkway–Part II

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  Not only is this Memorial Day Weekend, tomorrow is my 48th birthday.  We are headed to the lake for my birthday and plan to spend the weekend there.  The weather isn’t looking great, but it’s always fun to be at the lake.

Back in February I shared plans for a walkway and patio for the back of our lake property.  The project started in March and still on-going.  It’s getting close to being finished and we are excited to start enjoying it.

Like many lake properties, our driveway goes down a long hill.  When we had the driveway paved last year, one problem was that the soil didn’t go to the top of the driveway.  Even though we had grass growing, since the soil didn’t meet with the top of the driveway, water could get under the driveway and cause it to break apart.

This problem was remedied from the top of the driveway down to the house.  At the time the driveway was installed, we had an additional drainage pipe added under the driveway, and rip-rap added to the drainage ditch.  With the new landscaping project, we had soil added flush with the driveway surface, and seeded with grass.  We also had to have the pipes leading from our downspouts replaced with a more heavy duty type.  That explains the disturbed soil replanted with grass in front of the house.

SML Patio and Walkway Progress

This should alleviate the erosion problem we encountered with water getting under the driveway.

This is the top of our driveway looking down toward the house and lake.  You wouldn’t think that this driveway leads anywhere, would you?

SML Patio and Walkway Progress

At the end of the driveway, near the house, we added another rip-rap swale to channel water that ran off the end of the driveway into the yard.  After this area is smoothed out and seeded, the construction crew will leave and the remaining work is all on us.

SML Patio and Walkway Progress


Southern Landscape Group is doing this work for us.  They’ve done work for us in the past and we have always been very pleased with the end result.

Mark, one of the owners of Southern Landscape Group, surprised me with this walkway leading to our front door.  It was part of our original plan, but we had to cut it because of our budget.  Mark knows that I’m going through a tough time and had this installed as a gift to me.  Isn’t that nice???  I am hoping to work on landscaping this area over the summer.  For now it is seeded with grass to keep the soil in place.

SML Patio and Walkway Progress


Here you can better see the rip-rap swale that will channel the water that runs down the hill.  We are still working to clean off the bank that was once woods that leads to the water.  In the future we hope to add more rip-rap to the shoreline.

SML Patio and Walkway Progress


The new patio is large and will be a great spot to relax.  I’m hoping to hang a porch swing, or maybe two porch swings, here.

SML Patio and Walkway Progress


A future DIY project will be to face the patio wall with stone like what is on the house.  I’m hoping to get some things planted in this area this weekend.

SML Patio and Walkway Progress

I played around with some plants that I like and came up with this plan.  We’ll see what happens this weekend!

Possible Plant Placement at SML


I know I’m going to change the line of this bed because I need more planting room where the sidewalk meets the patio.

SML Patio and Walkway Progress


Here’s another picture where I played around with adding shrubs that I like.

Possible Plant Placement at SML


Sherman enjoys every lake weekend, rain or shine.  He usually positions himself beside the boat to remind us that he wants to go for a ride.

Sherman Skulina at Smith Mountain Lake

Sherman Skulina at Smith Mountain Lake


Have a great Memorial Day weekend!


  1. Everything looks great! You look well too in the picture. I hope your treatments are going ok for you.

  2. We are here at the lake too. Honestly, I hate being on the lake on a holiday weekend — too many idiots in the water. So we might not make it up your way. If you are down by B1, follow the mountain and look for my giant whirligig in the yard. Come on in!

  3. Happy birthday, Paula.
    Your house is beautiful. I didn’t realize how big it would be? That driveway does look like it leads nowhere. Do you think y’all will end up living there year round?
    I’ve probably told you before that I went to the lake when I was a teenager for church youth retreats. That was late 60’s. Back then, there were mostly “cottages”. Then my parents bought their house in 1978. I guess the houses started changing in the 90’s maybe. We lived in Winchester and didn’t get down often. Theirs has been remodeled 2 or 3 times since.
    We’re planning to just go up for the day Monday, mainly because my cousins who live in Florida will be visiting for a week . I agree with your other friend about danger on the water during holiday weekends. I don’t think we’ll be going out.
    Enjoy yourself. Don’t work too hard on all that yard stuff.

    1. I love hearing about the lake when it was new in the 60’s. My uncle used to go for the weekend with his buddies and stay in an old bread truck. He remembers waterskiing with tree tops sticking out of the water. I wish he had taken pictures back then!

  4. Paula, it’s so exciting to watch the progress of your house at SML! I’m especially glad that you have it this year. You’re on my mind a lot these days. I think of you in your fight against cancer, and I’m glad you have such a beautiful place to get away, relax on the water, or work or projects like this one!

    I’m sure you’ve been an awesome customer for Southern Landscape Group. And I can see why you’d use them again. They’re doing wonderful work, and what an amazing gift for you! Just knowing there are businessmen like Mark out there gives me renewed faith.

    Take care, sweet friend!

  5. Your home is coming along beautifully Paula! I’d have a hard time leaving t behind for everyday life at the end of a stay. I feel that way about our VT mountain home too. Love the updates you two have completed. What a sweet gift, adding the walkway too. Sending big hugs your way my friend!

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