Call 811 & Dig Safe plus Patio Progress

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure statement for details. 

Call 811 to have utilities marked and dig safe before any exterior home improvement project that requires digging. Get a breakdown of the process and an update on my new patio!

*This is a paid partnership with Columbia Gas of Ohio. All opinions and photographs are my own. 

daylilies around cement patio

Last fall, we discovered that our existing deck was rotting and that it had to go. After getting estimates for a new composite deck, and being stunned at the cost, we put the project on hold. In early spring of this year, we got a few estimates for a poured patio and decided that was the route we would take. Not only was the cost more reasonable, but maintaining a patio is so much easier than maintaining a deck…and I’m all for easy these days!

cement patio before

In order to install the patio, the deck had to be removed, along with an old poured patio that was original to the house. We installed the deck, 25 years ago, right over the old patio. You can see the remnants of the deck in the image above. Since I knew digging was going to be involved, I was curious about any gas and water lines that could possibly be located under the old patio.

Just as I was mulling all of this around in my head, Columbia Gas of Ohio reached out to me to help promote the importance of calling 811 before you dig to stay safe. We have been customers of Columbia Gas for over 30 years, so I am happy to partner with them, and walk you through the very simple process. Any successful yard or home improvement project, big or small, that involves digging starts with the same step – calling 811 before you dig. 

To give you some perspective, here is a shot of our house taken from the street. 

dig safe call 811 yellow flags on front lawn

In the image below, you can see the yellow flags coming from the house, leading out to the street. That’s where our gas line is. 

call 811 dig safe line from street

Call 811 & Dig Safe: Everything You Need to Know

  • Before you put a shovel in the ground, call 811 at least two business days before you plan to dig, so your local utilities can mark your lines. If you aren’t doing the digging yourself, it’s important to make sure your contractor makes the call. My contractor took care of calling for me, and a local utilities representative arrived the next day. He walked around our property and marked the line with yellow flags. He finished in about five minutes and I had peace of mind knowing that our project could proceed safely. 
  • Utility lines can be buried at any depth, sometimes even just a few inches below the ground. Hitting a gas line could be costly, could cause project delays, and could create huge issues for your yard.
  • Calling 811 is not only necessary for the success of your project, it’s critical for your safety. It’s so easy, it’s absolutely 100% free, and it’s the law. 
  • Nearly half of American homeowners will complete a project that requires a call to 811, but more than 40% of homeowners who plan to dig this year will not call. The most common projects include planting a tree or shrub, building a deck or patio, putting in a fence, or installing a mailbox. 
  • Keep your family, friends, and neighbors safe by calling 811 before you dig!
  • For more information on staying safe while digging and working, click {HERE.}

call 811 safe line coming out from house

I was relieved to find out that our gas line was not in the same area as our patio project, which is in the rear of our house, and that the work could proceed without issue. 

And proceed it did! 

Progress has been slow, but I feel like this project is finally moving forward. The old deck has been removed, the old cement patio has been demolished, and a new patio has been poured. These are not beautiful images, but you will definitely be able to see improvement.

cement patio in progress

The image above shows the patio prep work. When the deck was installed, siding from the house was removed. The concrete crew repaired that before they poured the patio. Repairs and painting are next. After that, landscaping and grass seed will be added.

1cement patio in back yard

I know everything looks unfinished and sort of sad right now, but give me a few weeks…it will be clean, cozy, and above all else, easy to maintain. Are you planning a digging project this summer? Maybe a garden pond or a fire pit? Let me know in the comments how it’s going!

Thank you so much for stopping by…

Update 8/19/2019: It’s finished! See the completed and decorated patio {HERE.}

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  1. Elaine Birdsong says:

    A guess it is a constant battle keeping up with house repairs. We had our home built in 2008 and we decided to update the looks. New paint, furniture and hopefully new tile in the master bath. Then I will focus on the guest bath and dining room.
    New paint and bedroom furniture upstairs to follow. I did not have a Christmas Tree this year because my house is a wreck. Like you I get anxious but I am trying hard to keep my cool.
    You will enjoy your new patio come Spring.
    Love your blog!

  2. Your new patio looks beautiful and has inspired us to remove our old cracked concrete patio.
    Thank you also for the recommendations on throw pillows and covers from Amazon. I ordered 3 and am very happy with all of the purchases.
    Price is right too!

  3. Carol A. Clark says:

    I love your decorated patio. It looks so very cozy!!

  4. KATHY SCHOTT says:

    Thanks for posting! We have been going back and forth about a patio vs. deck for years. I can’t wait to see pictures of it when you’ve worked your magic on the surrounding area! I know it will be beautiful!


  5. It’s going to be beautiful Ann. Thanks for the great info about calling for the gas lines!

  6. Jill Bainbridge says:

    It’s getting there, so nice. After putting on a new deck a few years ago, we decided to install a retractable awning. Pricey, yes, but it makes using the deck infinitely more useable. Depending on the sun’s orientation, we just hit the remote and position as needed. There are many fabric options. And it cools things off about ten degrees, no squinting also. Food for thought!

  7. Did you know that concrete doesn’t actually “dry” but it cures? And if it is kept damp for several weeks it continues to get stronger. You should spray down the new patio once or twice a day- I read concrete can continue to get harder for years if kept damp. Of course you don’t want to keep wetting it down for years, but trading a few weeks of effort for years of easy care patio is a no brainer. You don’t want the surface to dry out before the concrete cures- you will end up with crumbling concrete in a few years time.
    That said, the patio looks great, looking forward to seeing it decorated

  8. KittyLuvr says:

    I am so glad that you posted this and are partnering with your gas company. In our state (NC), there have been 5 recent gas explosions~two which resulted in deaths. Such a sad situation but there is now a heightened awareness of calling before you dig! Our gas company has advertisied “call before you dig” for many years but it does appear that folks don’t heed that warning! Hopefully, your message will reach many to prevent an accident!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh my gosh…thank you so much for sharing this! It’s all about staying safe and preventing anything that could cause harm.

  9. We recently had a small addition added to our house which required digging a foundation. We did call and have Columbia Gas come out and mark our lines. So important for peace of mind. You don’t want to start digging for a new patio and have your house blow up. We also made the decision to pour a concrete patio vs a deck. I think you will be happy with your choice.

  10. That was last year’s project. Unfortunately we couldn’t put a patio in, with a hill for a back yard, the swale for water drainage would interfere so we had to redo the deck. We went with composite and love it, but it is pricey. We also built a garage and had to dig to hook up water and had so our yard had flags for quite a while. I second calling 811, even though you may think you remember where they are, it isn’t worth taking a chance. Also, I think here in Ohio, if you hit something and didn’t call 811, you can be charged for relighting all the neighbors gas appliances or other costs related to repair. Can’t wait to see your patio finished.

  11. Is your patio graded so that water doesn’t puddle? I live in a snowy area and the thing that I like about decks is that the water can drain between the planks and then it doesn’t get damaged in the spring when we have snow melt and then it freezes at night. Our driveway is damaged from that very problem. Just curious.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Sue! Yes…it is. It actually slopes down towards the south side of our house. We’ve had rain a few times since it was poured and so far no puddles!

    2. Linda Howard says:

      This is the year for us to do some major work at our house and we are adding a 14×28 foot covered (roof) porch. Construction is slow and 4 months in, we have HOA approval, old poured patio has been broken up and hauled away and a fresh new concrete floor. Waiting rather impatiently for the framers, roofers, electricians etc etc. I’m a big fan of your style of decorating and am in the process of having cushion covers made for the wicker furniture we will be using.

  12. Donna Marie says:

    You will be so happy. These decks that every one built are ugly to me because they are constant maintenance! You will be able to see you flowers and relax and enjoy your new patio!!!

  13. Sharon H. says:

    Now the fun begins for you! I’m sure you will have your new patio looking gorgeous in no time with some summer left to enjoy it!
    This spring we added a fire pit to a sloped area in our backyard. This area is now so much more enjoyable (and less area to mow)!

  14. Nothing like a decorator and a blank slate! Can’t wait to see the reveal!!!

  15. Jean from Georgia says:

    Thank you for sharing. I have a brick porch that is sinking and am searching ideas for repair or replacement. I can walk from my breakfast and sun rooms directly onto the porch but am thinking about steps down to ground level for a concrete patio similar to yours. Cannot wait to see the finished product.

  16. Your patio is looking good.I’m sure when you add your touches it will be beautiful.

  17. It looks very nice! I too go for easy maintenance! Can’t wait to see the end results. You’re going to make it beautiful👏💕🌺

  18. Cecilia from Georgia says:

    You are now starting with a clean slate. I know the wheels are turning in your creative mind and your patio will be awesome. I’m sure your landscaping will not be anything less than magnificent. Looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

  19. I never in a million years would have thought to do this. Thanks for the info! Looking forward to seeing your finished project and all the pretty plants I know will be there… 😀

  20. Ann, Thank you for this VERY important message! I work for a gas transmission company and helping get the 811 message to the public is one of my responsibilities. Lives truly are saved by utilizing this free service. You’ve done a fabulous job and your patio is going to be amazing!

  21. Tina Powell says:

    It is important to note the 811 locator services locates ALL types of buried lines: electrical, gas, etc. We cut trees recently and called the service. They are wonderful! Very simple, they show up promptly, and you won’t make a costly mistake. I enjoy reading your articles. Your yard is so beautiful, I know as soon as this project is completed, you will have it beautiful once again.

  22. As we own a construction company here in Florida it’s crucial to check for utilities before digging. Something that isn’t discussed in the DIY TV shows, so I’m glad that you approached the subject!

  23. We had an existing patio removed and a new patio poured about 18 months ago. I have had a fight with getting grass started in the area where the construction people were working. And they were wonderful. They thing that occurred was the PH of the ground changed from the concrete dust. It has been a battle but I am finally winning. So don’t be surprised if your grass or plants react differently than they have in the past.