summer go together!
While decks have
been the craze during the past 20 years, patios remain an attractive
alternative for those who enjoy outdoor living. Often the terrain of
your building lot is the deciding factor of whether or not a patio is
your best choice.
properly constructed from precast pavers, natural stone or concrete,
these outdoor living spaces can provide decades of enjoyment for you and
your friends or family. Other than
requiring an occasional cleaning with a stiff bristled brush or power washer, they are relatively maintenance free
over the years.
with decks, it's important to install a patio with enough space for
planned group activities and patio furniture placement. One table with
chairs can take up a large portion of the outdoor space, so plan
patio was built large enough to allow room
for a table with chairs and ample seating space.
Cut pieces of natural gray stone
There's nothing worse than building a patio
that ends up being too small and cramped for your needs. Be sure to
preplan, allowing enough space for patio furniture and free traffic
Some sizes and shapes are more economical to
construct. A basic rectangular shaped patio is usually less
expensive to construct that one with curved edges. Plan according to
paver and material sizes to minimize cuts.
As with sidewalks and driveways, a patio
needs to be properly excavated and installed to withstand the brutal
freeze-thaw cycle of winter. Don't scrimp on recommended
specifications for your climate.
Most stone, concrete and precast pavers will
provide durable, long-lasting surfaces if you're sure to follow
precautions concerning the use of deicers. Some masonry surfaces
benefit from being sealed every year or two, especially if deicers
are going to be used.
Patios need a good base with adequate
drainage. This requires the delivery, movement and placement of tons
of 2b crushed limestone, or similar product, for the base. Do you
have a place to store the gravel and a way to move stone into the
work area? This storage space is needed in addition to your storage
area for patio pavers.
Patio construction usually requires the
removal of large amounts of soil and fill, so be sure to allow for
removal and disposal of this "fill dirt." It's not unusual
to hit rock while excavating for a patio, so heavy equipment may be
required. Do you have good access for an excavator to reach the work
area? How much damage will excavation work cause and what will be
involved with repairing damaged lawn areas used for access?
Patio stone stacked on a pallet
and secured with chicken wire
The initial phase of construction is the most
important. Excavate enough soil from the proposed patio area to
allow for a thick layer of tamped, crushed stone (2b limestone is
commonly used in Pennsylvania) thereby providing good drainage and
long lasting stability.
Whether you're hand digging, lifting patio
stones or shoveling crushed stone, practice proper bending
techniques. If you aren't physically able, consider hiring a
professional to do the job.
You'll want the finished project to be
durable, as well as attractive and easy to walk on. Be sure to set
precast pavers straight and even.
VIDEO: Installing a Window Well
Modern technology made laser levels affordable
to all. If you can't afford one, use a line level or long, straight,
rigid board with a traditional level attached to it. Make sure your
patio is level, or slightly pitched away from your house if surface
runoff is a factor.
If you're planning to install flower beds or lawn
areas adjacent to your new patio, remove large rocks and
construction debris before backfilling these areas with good quality
topsoil. Your plants will reward you!
Down the road
Plan on power washing your patio
as needed to remove dirt and algae. This will keep your patio
investment looking its best!
Natural stone was used to make an
in this landscape