Critics weigh in on concrete patio advice

Cons of do-it-yourself vs. leaving it to the pros

Sometimes a straightforward question and a well-considered response produce the darnedest reaction. A couple weeks ago, we gave a reader some suggestions on how to convert her concrete patios into an attractive garden, complete with hardscape. She wanted some greenery, but eschewed the easy way out: a series of containers. Potted plants just didn't cut it for her. One option we gave her was to build raised beds on the concrete pad. Another alternative we suggested was to rent a concrete saw and an electric jackhammer and cut out areas of the patio, exposing the soil to create an ornamental/edible garden. We said it would be labor intensive and require some imagination, but not a high skill level. In short, it was the perfect do-it-yourself project. Pretty straightforward advice, we thought, but not everyone agreed. "This is not a do-it-yourself job," commented one reader. "Hire a contractor who can handle these tools. Plus, rental tools are notorious for b...