Adventures in Landscaping: We Have a Patio!

So we attacked the patio project last Saturday, and I’m a little stunned to be saying that we did it! We built a patio! And it looks pretty freaking good!

We started by packing down the gravel with a tamper. That thing was fun to use. A dump truck came and dumped a literal ton of sand onto our driveway, so we shoveled that into wheelbarrows and coated the packed gravel, attempting to level out the sand as we went.

We used the tamper again to pack the sand down. Using one of those 2×4’s and a level, we found some dips in the sand, so we filled in with extra sand to build a more even surface.

The Laying of the Stones.

I knelt on that plywood board with a spade and a mallet to hand. My father-in-law picked up paving stones, one by one, and dropped them near to their final resting place. This was a much more tedious and tiring job than I anticipated.

With each stone, I tried as best as I could to level the sand and refit the stone without huge gaps or awkward lumps making the stone uneven. This was also much harder than I anticipated.

But a few hours, one lunch break, and 150 stones later, we had a patio. We spread cement sand over the surface and swept/blew it into the cracks, then rinsed the whole thing down with the hose. The cement sand will help keep the stones in place.

You can definitely tell that we used the newer stones along the back edge, but the dark vs. light areas are just wet spots. Once dried, the color was far more uniform.

The patio is finished, but we’re not really done. We have to create a better edge border. You can see the gray cement sand that I tamped down with a rake along the edge. We’ll pack dirt along the edge to make the patio surface more even with the yard surface.

Such is life as a homeowner, though. On to the next project!

Steve D

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