Our dream: the "right" 50's patio cover.

Unlike a lot of my houseblogging friends, we’ve been in our house 5 and a half years now. We gutted and remodeled the kitchen and we still have several projects in the house that have stalled for practical reasons (like we need our bathrooms) or because of cash flow (we’d love a huge deck out over our garage that would have a fantastic view of the mountains).
However, in organizing my flickr pictures today I realized that I take a ton of pictures of basically NOTHING HAPPENING in our back yard! UGH! Here’s why…I have in my mind something lovely with a huge impact like this:
However, it’s not really our style (and not really the style of the house…we’re not really an Eichler here). Then there’s something like this:
Which I actually really like, but it’s kind of expensive…if we do it ourselves, not AS expensive, but we have to get permits, etc. So, here’s how it sits today:

By the way, if you had told me in the “pre-kid” days that I would ever have obnoxiously colored toys in my back yard I would have slapped you (even though I’m not a violent type)…if you can see enough in the pictures, you’ll see that our slack finishing of the patio has allowed dirt to wash down (thus why we did the complicated tiering on the side) and weeds to grow everywhere. We also need to finish off the concrete blocks, so they…well, don’t LOOK like concrete blocks…then there’s more flagstone. SO! All that and it’s really been stalled because we’ve been tempted to give in and put up one of these – but I’m just afraid it will look small and cheesy.

So, I’m soliciting ideas…any of you have good patio covers you love? Have you seen any in magazines? HELP!!!!!!!! If we’re going to spend real money, I’d rather have something that looks great.

Oh yes, and the bars need to come off the windows….the neighborhood used to be much worse and UN-paranoiding the house has become a priority. We also have huge motion lights around the house so we light up like a military camp if the dog goes out.

Homeownership is constant….eh?

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