Beautiful Outdoor Patios
Last month I shared some ideas for great indoor winter projects. This month, as the weather gets nicer my thoughts are turning back to the outdoors. Many of our home update projects have involved landscaping or remodeling a back yard. A new or remodeled patio can do wonders for enhancing the beauty of your outdoor space. If you read any of the available do it yourself types of magazines you can be tempted to try a project like this. Some of our clients have attempted such a project. They told us that they greatly underestimated the amount of time they would need to complete their new patio. Here are the steps that we take to create your new outdoor living space.
We Plan Your New Patio
The first step in planning your new patio is picking right spot. A flat area is needed for the foundation of the patio. Occasionally we need to build up an area with pea stone or retaining walls to provide a sufficient foundation for the patio. We also take into account ground slope, drainage, shade and obstacles like tree roots and underground utility lines. We contact local utility companies before digging and have them locate buried lines
Acquire the Materials
It’s what’s underneath your patio that counts. Stone and brick are what you see, but it's the landscape fabric, gravel and sand that hold them together and make your patio last. Landscape fabric stabilizes the soil underneath the gravel base by keeping them apart while allowing water to drain through. We often use 12-1/2 ft. wide, heavy, woven stabilization fabric.
We usually use limestone as the foundation of our patios, but sometimes substitute other material. Any granular fill will work as long as the size of the granules ranges from 3/4 in. down to a powder and they’re angular, not smooth and round. These qualities allow the fill to be tightly packed for a firm base that allows water to drain through. Depending on the soil, we will install a 4- to 10-in. thick layer of gravel. Sandy soils require less gravel than soils with organic matter or clay.
Set the Stone For Your Patio
The next step in the project is to lay the stone border. We measure the thickness of a few stones to get an average and compare this with the thickness of the bricks we are using. We'll adjust the depth of the sand bed to compensate for the difference in thickness. Our goal is to get the stones and brick even on the top. We set up strings around the perimeter parallel to the gravel base as references for setting the stone.
Laying the Bricks
Once the border stones are in place, we lay the bricks. We start by spreading out a layer of sand so that the bricks will end up about 3/8 in. above the surface of the stone. When we run a compactor over the bricks to seat them, they settle down flush with the stone.
Locking the Stone and Sand in Place
The last step is to spread sand between the stones and brick and pack dirt around the perimeter of the patio. After all of the sand has been spread we sweep away the excess and ensure that stone and brick is tightly packed and level.
Your New Outdoor Living Space
While these steps are fairly straight forward the free time commitment to building your patio may be significant. This is where the pros come in. Creating a new, comfortable outdoor living space is a welcome addition to your home. Precision Contracting is ready to help you make your next outdoor update something special.