I designed a brick patio overlooking the backyard and found a contractor, but he vanished with my deposit. Moral: Get good recommendations and check references before you hire. Since I like to work with my hands—I make costumes for theater and films for a living—I finished leveling the area myself and paid someone else to lay the bricks.
Then came that first flood. I went to the town, because legally the road runoff is their responsibility, but they weren't much help. I fought them, but there was a flood every year. Some were worse than others, but it was always a nightmare. After every hard rain, the backyard was swamped with standing water that reached the edge of the patio I'd just built.