Now that spring is here it’s time to get outside. Time to put those DIY plans you’ve had rattling around in your head all winter into action. Let’s build that patio you’ve been dreaming of.
First things first, make a few key decisions before starting to haul in the pavers.
- How will you use the patio? – For entertaining? To relax? How you plan to use it will determine the size and materials you will need.
- Where will you build the patio? – Look for an area that has good drainage, isn’t too close to trees, and is away from any buried utility lines. Call the power company before you start to dig and they can mark the location of the lines.
- How much do you have to spend on the project? – Figure out how much you have to spend and let that help you determine the size of the patio and the materials to be used.
- Do you need help? – Don’t forget that much of the materials needed are heavy and will have to be delivered. You may not be able to deposit the sand, gravel or stones close to your project site which means you may need to use a wheel barrow or front end loader to move the materials around.
Once you have determined your design plan, location and budget, then you will need to choose the materials you want to use. Here are a few options:
- Concrete – This is probably the cheapest way to add a hard surface to your landscape but it can be problematic. If you choose to dye it with a coloring agent then you will need to be prepared to reapply the coating every couple of years in order to keep the color.
- Natural Stone – Flagstone, slate, bluestone and limestone cost more. The thicknesses vary so you have to carefully install each stone in order to keep the patio level.
- Brick – Offers Old World charm but needs maintenance. It is very porous and cold weather can cause it to crack leaving space for weeds or moss to grow through.
- Pavers – Home improvement stores carry a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. They are all uniform in thickness so they are easier to install than natural stone and they are fairly inexpensive.
Get Down to Building
Your materials have been delivered and you are ready to begin. All patios need to be built on a level surface no matter what materials you use. Cracks, uneven surfaces and water pooling can all be traced back to not having a proper, level foundation. Let’s get started.
- Mark the site – Whether you use the old string and stake method or the new aerosol paint technique, outline the area where you plan to build.
- Dig, man, dig – Excavate down at least 8 inches for the sub-base of your patio. Whether you are going to pour concrete or lay pavers, the process is the same.
- No sub-standard sub-base for you! – Clear the area of all roots, rocks and debris. Stamp down the dirt with a hand or power-driven stamper. Check to see if the ground is level. If it is, add a layer of gravel and pack it down. Once again, check to see if it is level.
- Power to the pavers – Time to add the paving stones. Once you have laid them out in the design you want, stamp them down, and check to see if they are level. Adjust where needed.
- Sand in your pavers? – Spread sand into the joints between the stones. Don’t scrimp on the sand. Work it in between the pavers to help lock them in place.
- Wash down – Spray the remaining loose sand into the joints and now you are ready to clean up the patio and decorate.
Now, you are the proud owner of an outdoor room. “What will I do next?” you may be saying to yourself as you roll that shiny new grill across the new patio surface. Anything! The world is your oyster. Go forth and build more.
Need more inspiration? Read our recent blog, Stir Up a Little DIY Inspiration with these 3 Project Ideas. Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your yard and garden projects.
From power driven stampers to front end loaders and more, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.