As is the case with home improvement projects, this one took longer and cost more than we expected. But we're thrilled with the result. No more toddler death pit! Just a wide open patio for lounging, for the kids to play on....for us to sit (on camp chairs for now).
Someone asked, and I wanted to clarify that this was not a DIY. We designed the space ourselves, but then hired a contractor to do the grueling work of busting out the existing concrete, leveling the space, filling in the pit and laying the tile.
The pit is now a planter with agave and various flowering groundcover. With winter temps in the 70s, we'll be able to enjoy this space immediately :)