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PATIOS

Patios and 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.


When 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.

As 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 accordingly.

New Precast Patio
This patio was built large enough to allow room
for a table with chairs and ample seating space.

 

PATIO DESIGN

flag stone for patios
  Cut pieces of natural gray stone

Size counts!
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 circulation.
   
Economical shapes
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.
   
Quality construction
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.
   
Durable surfaces
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.
  

natural stone for sidewalks and patios
Natural stone

   
Got storage space?
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.
   
How's your access?
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?

CONSTRUCTION OF PATIOS

patio stone
Patio stone stacked on a pallet
and secured with chicken wire

A good base
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.
   

Watch your back!
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.
   

Take your time
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
 


Proper tools
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.

 

Finishing up
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 walkway
Natural stone was used to make an
attractive walkway in this landscape
  

  
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