We decided to go with a fairly large patio, built with pavers. It is over 400 square feet. It sits at the base of the deck we built last year, so it makes for a very complete backyard setup.
Once the sod was removed, we dug it out a little bit more and framed it up using pressure treated lumber. The frame is about level with the surrounding grass, so the patio will sit almost flush with the yard.
Once we had the frame up, we laid down several yards of gravel for a base. We rented a compactor in order to make it level, and well, compacted.
Once the sand was down, we screeded it a long 2X4 to get it as level as possible.
Once everything was in place, laying them down was relatively easy work. The difficult part was making sure that it was as level as possible and that the lines stayed straight. This is probably impossible to do perfectly, but we certainly made a DIY effort.
So far, the new patio has been incredible. It has given us a great place to hang out in the yard while Sammy plays. It has held up very well for the few weeks that we've been using it and we plan on being able to enjoy it for years to come.