Making a Dance Floor

Making a dance floor

During Spring Break a few weeks back Nate, my dad and our good friends Jeremy and Bill took a day of their vacation to install a decomposed granite patio in my parent’s backyard. The patio will become our dance floor for the wedding.

Dance Floor: Before

Background on the dance floor decision

When we started planning out the floor plan for the wedding we discussed a couple of options for the dance area. The wood chipped swing area next to the lawn was one of our top choices. It’s a big area and we figured we could move the swing set and then rent a temporary dance floor to lay over the chips for the event.

Typically, you estimate a third of your guests will be on the dance floor at one time with 4.5 square feet of dance floor per guest. So for our roughly 150 guests that’s 5o guests x 4.5 square feet = 225 square feet. Most companies recommend at 15×15 square dance floor for this size.

We knew that this wouldn’t work for us. We will likely have more like half our guests dancing at once so we extended the dance floor to be the full wood chip area and got prices. Renting the floor with the plywood subfloor came in around $800. We felt that was a lot of money for a rental so we brainstormed other alternatives.

The solution ended up being very simple. We would tackle a project my parents already were thinking about – replace the wood chips with decomposed granite (DG) and just use the hard DG patio as the dance floor.

Making a dance floor

Installing a decomposed granite patio in a day

My parents had eight yards of decomposed granite delivered before the big work day. The material cost us $423 so roughly half the cost of the floor rental. Score!

Making a dance floor

Caffeinated and raring to go, the boys began moving the wood chips from the patio area.

Transferring the wood chips

They transferred the chips to other places in the garden including under the citrus trees.

Making a dance floor

Then they moved the swing set off the new patio onto the lawn for the time being.

Making a dance floor

Because the patio area subsurface was already prepped (a wood border and landscape cloth was installed for the wood chips) all they had to do was start bringing in the DG.

Making a dance floor

Here’s Bill shoveling up a wheelbarrow full and the long trek through the yard to the new patio area complete with little wheelbarrow ramp.

Making a dance floor

They filled half the patio with DG and then compacted it down with a big concrete roller.

Making a dance floor

Then the repeated the process and filled the other half.

Making a dance floor

Next they watered the decomposed granite down.

Making a dance floor

And leveled the whole patio our with a piece of chain link fence.

Making a dance floor

This full process (compact, water and level) a few times to get it just right.

Making a dance floor

The patio was finished with a little DG left over. (We are going to use that in another part of the backyard, but I’ll get to that later.)

Making a dance floor

Here’s the finished patio taken next to the garage looking towards the lawn (where the ceremony & some of the dining will take place).

Making a dance floor

And here’s the view from the opposite end still looking towards the lawn.

Isn’t it nice? It’s going to be a great dance surface. Plus my parents now have a place to play horseshoes and bocce ball.

All the worker bees deserve a big applause for a very full day of work. And a special thank you to Jeremy and Bill for taking a vacation day to help us out. We love you.


  1. Carol Landis says

    Tim and I just loved watching this, great job! Also got our invitation today with all the hearts fluttering in the breeze, loved it. All is looking good. love, C and T

  2. says

    I love the idea of your patio! Now that a few years have passed since this post was written, I am wondering how the patio held up over time? Anything you would do differently if you were to do it today?

    • says

      Yes, it was a couple of years ago now that we installed the patio. It has held up quite well, but does require maintenance to keep it leveled and weed-free. It will also need another layer of DG in a couple years, but so far it’s looking good!

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