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Build your own patio?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by briansol, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    Anyone ever do this?

    I currently have a patio in place, but it's sunk in, is un-even, and was simply built improperly without proper weed blankets in place and it's just a nightmare to maintain. I refuse to use chemicals like roundup. i'm tired of sitting there with a screw driver for 3 days every month scraping weeds out.

    Plus, I want to make it bigger, incorporate a little retaining wall (since it will dig into a grade) and put a fire pit ring in the middle of it.

    And I want to do it on the cheap, so paying someone is not an option.

    It looks like I can get the pavers and retaining wall stone for about $1500 or so for the area I want to do... maybe a little more. $100 in crushed stone, $50 to rent a compactor... All in under a 2k budget should cover it. And my back will foot the rest. heh

    If you've done it, did you regret it? "I should have hired someone" ? There will be a lot of digging. I'm ok with that. I dug my garden bed 50x75 all by hand 2 shovel spade height deep and rocks sifted. Picture attached for reference. I'm more worried about being able to get it level and not bumpy without the use of heavy equipment. I'm planning to use larger stone, 12 or 18", not 'brick' size stone. actual design still to be debated. The land is already a little sloping towards away from the house so proper draining out and over should be easy to accomplish without too much hard work.

    And then there's the rounding.... I'm probably going to have to cut stone, of which I have no wet saw to do it. I could rent this as well, but I imagine its going to take me a few days or weeks to do, and that makes it not cost effective.

    And then there's the permitting factor. Im debating even pulling one, since my house already has a patio on it, and my neighbors won't care especially if im doing it by hand/no machines.
    We'll see... I don't even know what they cost these days.
    Haven't pulled one since my stove install.

    Thoughts?

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  2. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    It is going to be beautiful.
  3. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    I can't offer much advice, but I did build two small patios and a walkway for friends. One patio and the walkway was done with pavers, and the other patio was done with field-collected sandstone.The area was prepped by removing the top several inches of soil and dumping in stone dust. We used a compactor, and then laid in pavers. Finished with masons sand. No landscape fabric. Not sure what the pros/cons of stone dust vs. small crushed stone would be, or if a fabric layer is necessary.

    An alternative for weed control is undiluted white vinegar.
  4. Bocefus78

    Bocefus78 Minister of Fire

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    Pavers are a lot of work for a one man show.....even one man with a skidsteer. The levelness comes from the tons and tons of sand you will have to move and hand screed. Sounds like that was skipped on the first one...hence the sinking. Also sounds as if the polymeric sand was skipped as well. That's the top coat of sand that after being wetted down, would have locked them all together and helped with the weeds too. Use a cutoff saw instead of a wetsaw to cut them. No offense meant, but sounds like you need to buy a book on hardscapes before you go any further. There is a reason the pros charge $30 and more a square foot for these types of projects.
    briansol likes this.
  5. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

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    Got some manufactured faux-slate pavers that turned out nice.

    The nominal thickness was 1.5", but they varied by plus or minus as much as an eighth of an inch from side-to-side, corner-to-corner, or paver-to-paver, so it was a monumental PITA to set them since it took three or four test settings to adjust the stone dust to level each paver.

    So my advice would be to get pavers that are the same thickness within pretty tight tolerances.

    I sure gained a lot of respect for the nice paving jobs you see.
    briansol likes this.
  6. mithesaint

    mithesaint Feeling the Heat

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    I put in a flagstone patio at my first house. We needed something outside, knew we wouldn't be there forever, and money was a bit tight. Dug it out by hand, filled in with stone screenings, and set the flagstone. Used polymeric sand, but still got a few weeds. Roundup is your friend. Don't fear it.

    Would I do it again? Probably not, but that more of a matter of taste. Any patio I put in now will be a bit more formal to match my current house. A patio for a fire pit....well now you got me thinking about a new project...

    Back breaking for sure, but I grew up on a farm baling hay. This is easy work. I can take a few minutes off and have a drink if I want to. Depends on what you're used to. IMG_5892.jpg
    bioman, Billybonfire, save$ and 2 others like this.
  7. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    We are doing a brick patio (small one about 300ft2) this month, and I contracted it out. Money is tight here too, but even for a small one the weight of dirt that has to be excavated and the weight of sand and brick to move in would be backbreaking to do solo. Not to mentioned Id have to take a couple weeks vacation from work to find time to do it. ANd having to rent a compactor, etc..

    Plus I have no where on my property to dump the excavated soil.
  8. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    I say go for it..... The wife and I have laid just over 4000 square feet in the last several years, driveway, courtyard and patio. Is it alot of work? yes. but when you stand back and look at what YOU accomplished it feels good. there are some pics in the perfect picture thread under pavers finished. Knowing what our end goal was we bought a wet saw and compactor, figured it as part of the cost of the project. Also we did all the borders in concrete to lock the pavers in, never liked using the edging, and instead of sand use #8 limestone, it is a little hader to screed but will resist freeze thaw cycles much better and won't washout. P1010048.JPG P1010117.JPG P1010131.JPG P1010173.JPG
    343amc, bioman, Billybonfire and 5 others like this.
  9. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    I just finished one for my neighbor - he has little to no DIY skills and needed a pick-me-up after his hangout flooded a few weeks ago.
    He had his heart set on 16x16" red pavers(the smooth ones) and bought everything wally world had(all 26 of them) - after telling him it would take ~130.
    Well 3 colors of pavers later and a few smaller sized ones from Lowes I was able to lay out a decent pattern.

    You need to start by setting grade stakes get a string level (the ones that snap on lines work good for a few bucks) then mark ~ 1" lower per 10-12' over the length to give it a runoff grade.
    Then dig down a good 5-6", backfill a couple inches of crush and run or gravel dust and run the tamper over it. You'll need about 2" of sand to bed the pavers in unpacked
    Get a straight 2x4 and 2 pieces of EMT conduit. Set the conduit ~1.5"(this is approximate for a 2" thick paver) below the existing structure in a bed of sand and screed it off with the 2x4 setting pavers as you go(not stepping or packing the sand).
    All the edges should have "sailors" set deeper and build an edge of quickcrete to lock them up right
    When done cover area with playsand and run the tamper over it

    As for cutting if using concrete pavers a masonry blade on a circular saw and duct-tape of wire your garden hose to just trickle on the blade to keep the dust down.
    I have an old beater black&decker circular saw that I keep for projects like this. Cut them right on the ground at full depth - goes right through them. Try to set up your cutting area where the water will run away and kneel on a couple full pavers - oh yeah and a good set of knee pads should be on the shopping list.
  10. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I love the look of natural stone, it wins HANDS-DOWN. Is it a lot more work? Yes. Is it something that is suited to a person's taste? Yes. But the timeless look of real stone cannot be matched IMHO. and the stone walkways actually look BETTER when you let the grass/weeds grow between the stones.....it lends to the aged and natural look of the area. you did a fantastic job on that patio.......I know what kind of work goes into real stone (I've done a TON of it), and I can tell you had some work involved there.
    Ehouse likes this.
  11. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    ... or you could mix it up, and do stone with concrete.

    157_23.jpg 157_19.jpg

    Upper patio is flag stone. Four bluestone steps down to concrete patio.

    Other picture is a little corner of the basement, under one of the big cooking fireplaces.
    Billybonfire, ScotO and save$ like this.
  12. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Frigging GORGEOUS! Love the stone patio, and that basement inglenook is fantastic. I'd love to have a tour of your house, Joful!
  13. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    As far as the wet saw goes, lay everything you don't need to cut first, then rent the wet saw for a day and do all your cutting at once.
  14. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    You're welcome here any time Scotty! Seriously.

    Okay... maybe not next week, with a new baby due this week. But anytime after that!
    ScotO likes this.
  15. mywaynow

    mywaynow Minister of Fire

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    Do it. Hard work makes for great charector. Just don't load your trailer with dirt and leave it in the yard until it is rained on. Don't ask me if it is fun to unload a half trailer of mud.<> I hand tamped all my stone. Used 3/4 blend as the base, pavers then quarry dust over top. Had a 10 inch step down off the lower section of patio just to give you an idea of depth of fill. I used planks and strings to set overall level/pitch. Do as others stated and lay all the full size blocks first. A cheap way to deal with cuts is to get a $99 Dewalt 4 1/2 grinder and a couple diamond blades. Score both sides 3/4" deep and knock the piece off with a hammer. I take great pride in DIY projects I have completed, and curse the ones I have started and not completed. Cursing lowers blood pressure. Cold beer promotes cursing.
    Ehouse and Joful like this.
  16. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    I think this is going to get bumped to next season. Just too much going on this year already. By the time I get to it, there will be snow on the ground.

    i'm still debating digging it all out by hand, or renting a bobcat or mini excavator type thing....
  17. mywaynow

    mywaynow Minister of Fire

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    No better time then the fall for this stuff. Cool temps and moist soil for the new plantings. Come on, join the rest of us and kill yourself over a diy project!
  18. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Also, best working weather for sure!
  19. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    My father put pavers to replace a deck in front of the house and a paver patio with a roof on the back
    even done right weeds and moss grow in the tiny bit of sand between the pavers.

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