Planning And Excavating A Raised Patio Construction Project
If you are unable to build a patio following the existing grade, then you are likely looking at building a raised patio so that you can have a usable space. Planning the space for your raised patio involves first deciding the approximate measurements that you want your patio to be and what products you want to use to build that patio. By defining the measurements including the height from grade to top of patio, you can then narrow down decisions especially when it comes to retaining walls.
Essentially a raised patio is a patio encapsulated by a retaining wall. The height of your raised patio may have to be taken into consideration as certain areas may have different building codes on having to build a railing if the patio is a certain height above finished grade. Knowing the height of your raised patio from grade depends on the slope of the yard and is essential to the build of the patio.
Calculate the dimensions of your patio, add another minimum of 6 to each side, and spray paint your area that will be the area of excavation. Call your local utility marker which is generally free for them to come out and locate underground obstructions if any in your excavation area. From these, as well as the access available to the space, you can decide which equipment you can use to complete your excavation, what equipment you will need to rent, and if you need to have bins on site for excavated soil.
S That Are Not On A Slope
This sounds like a contradiction in terms, however sometimes it is necessary to build steps up to a patio where there is no slope, such as where the steps meet a wall. In this case it is important to anchor the steps into the wall by toothing it in to the adjoining wall.
For more information about how to do this see our project on tying into existing brickwork.
The easiest way to build steps like this is to build low walls with bricks or blocks where the risers and sides of the flight will be. You will end up with a series of boxes which you fill with scalping or ballast before adding your treads.
For up to 5 steps you can build these steps of strip footings, but over 5 steps you should create a concrete pad.
The nice thing about building steps in the garden is that you have a great deal more freedom that you do in the home, however you do need to ensure that they are safe and sound. If you use either of these two methods you will achieve just that safe patio or garden step made with pavers.
All project content written and produced by Mike Edwards, founder of DIY Doctor and industry expert in building technology.
Test Fit The Stringer To Make Sure Your Stair Rise And Run Are On Point
- Cut only the top and bottom of the stair stringer with a circular saw.
- Test-fit the stair stringer by placing it against the deck, and check the tread level with a small level.
- Be sure to test-fit the first stringer before you cut the others. If you made a mistake, you’ll at least be able to save the other two 2x10s.
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Tips For Decorating Your New Patio
Once youve finished building your DIY patio, youll want to start enjoying it right away! The right patio accessories will go a long way towards creating the ultimate outdoor experience.
If youve opted not to cover your patio, youll need to create some shade. A simple cloth sunshade or decorative patio umbrella will offer some protection from the heat of the mid-day sun. Or for something more premanent, you may want to consider a gazebo or a pergola for your new patio space. Youll also want plenty of comfortable seating. Depending on how you plan to use your new patio, you may decide to add a table and chairs, outdoor loveseats, or individual lounge chairs.
To give your new patio the finishing touch, consider adding a portable fire pit, an outdoor bar, and some fun décor. You may also want to add a stylish and practical deck box. This creative solution provides additional seating while also giving you a safe place to store items when theyre not in use.
Remember that your patio area should be fun, so dont be afraid to get creative when it comes to choosing your patio accessories and décor.
Lock The Bricks With Sand
Spread sand over the bricks, then sweep across the patio surface with a push broom to work the sand into the cracks. Sweep in multiple directions to reach all cracks, adding sand as you go until the cracks are filled. Gently spray the patio with a garden hose to settle the sand in the cracks. Spread and sweep more sand into the cracks, and spray again, until the cracks are completely filled and the sand is settled.
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Materials For Your Concrete Paver Patio
Project specific supplies:
- 16×16 Square pavers -*see note
- 8×16 rectangular pavers if needed
- 4″ of base layer material- *see note
- ¾” of top layer/leveling material- *see note
Tools you may have on hand:
- Wheelbarrow or 4 wheeled wagon-if you have one
- Square point shovel if you have one
- Regular shovel
- 3 level- larger if you have one
- Chalk or markers
- Landscape fabric for clay soil-*see note
- Push broom
*Some Important Notes About Your Project Materials
A 16 x16 paver is actually 15 ¾” x 15 ¾” and just over 1 ½” thick . This is important to know when it comes to sketching out your design so it fits the space well.
If you are using larger pavers and installing the patio yourself, you may want to take weight into consideration. I used 16×16 pavers. These larger sizes weighed 36 lbs each! I could carry only one at a time, so this made the project more time consuming.
Instead, you can opt for the 12 x 12 pavers. Or if you have a little four-wheeled wagon and don’t have a hill to go up to, that will make things much easier!
When it comes to base layer and top layer materials, a landscape supply company in your area will know the best base material for your patio pavers.
For instance, if you live in an area that has a high amount of clay in the soil, plan on using extra gravel in your base layer. Clay has draining issues and larger gravel will help with this.
Install The Landscape Fabric And Gravel Base
To keep weeds off your new brick patio, it is advisable to install a landscape fabric to act as an impenetrable shield for stifling any weeds that might try to grow through the spaces between the brick or cracks that may develop with time.
Once the fabric is in place, pour the compactible gravel or crushed stones into the flat base to a height of about 4 inches from the bottom.
Use the hand tamper or plate compactor to tamp the gravel or crushed stones. The tamping at this point helps tighten the spaces between the gravel for more airtightness.
In some cases, you will notice that people place a layer of gravel first, then install the gravel before adding another thin layer of gravel.
Such a framework is meant to avoid placing the landscaping fabric directly on the ground, especially in highly acidic soils where it can corrode easily.
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A Simple Stone Paver Patio
A simple stone paver patio may not stand out much but beneath the surface, theres a lot of work to be done. First, theres digging to be done, then you need to layout the landscaping fabric, to level the gravel on top, then to add a layer of sand, and only after all of this you can actually start laying the pavers. All the effort is of course worth it. If you want to find out more about what each of these steps entails, check out the complete tutorial on .
How To Build Steps With Pavers
The process of building patio paver steps should change based on what project you have in mind. That said, its important to note that there are two main ways for building patio paver steps: the fill method and the cut-in method.
For the fill method, you have to excavate the entire area of the stairway straight back, then place and compact a 6 thick gravel base as a level foundation. Place multiple courses of SRW units to build the steps as you go. If using the cut-in method, it is not necessary to excavate the entire area. Remove loose soil, place and compact a 6 thick base of gravel under every step. When building, the height, or rise, of each step must be consistent.
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Create A Custom Paver Patio
One of the best things about DIY projects is that you can let your creativity go wild. Room For Tuesday shares how to install a custom paver patio, and you can simply adjust the instructions to fit the size and design of your garden. One of their top tips is to try this project in cooler temperatures or in the evening. Otherwise, youll find this project to be a lot more challenging and unenjoyable. Remember, though, you can save yourself thousands of dollars by tackling this project yourself, so its certainly worth the hard work.
How To Pour A Concrete Slab
Thoroughly dampen the gravel. Start placing the concrete at one corner of the form while a helper uses a shovel or hoe to spread it .
Pour the concrete up against the form and compact it into all corners with a square shovel or mortar hoe with a hoe, push- don’t drag the concrete. But don’t overwork the concrete, and don’t spread it too far overworking will force the heavy aggregate to the bottom of the slab and will bring up small particles that can cause defects in the finished DIY concrete patio. Instead, space out your placement along the form, placing each batch against the previous batch to fill the form.
If you plan to leave the dividers in place, finish, and cure the concrete in alternating sections. Once they’ve cured for at least three days, remove the stakes from inside of the remaining sections and complete them.
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Take Some Time To Decide Which Pattern You Prefer
You should also take some time to decide which pattern you prefer before you actually start to install your paver patio. Two of time simplest ones are jack-on-jack and running bond, as mentioned in this video that you can find on . More advanced patterns include the herringbone and pinwheel and if you want something extra special and eye-catching you can also consider using stamped pavers that look like stone.
Can I Build Outdoor Stairs With Pavers Alone
Building a stairs project can be tricky and difficult, so we highly recommend you not to.
You can cut some expenses when you do it by yourself, but a lot of things can happen. The chances of something going wrong in the process and an accident happening are too high, so the price of doing the project yourself is just not worth the risk.
With a professional, your pavers stairs will have guaranteed quality, longevity, and beauty.
Building Steps From Railway Sleepers
Railway sleeper steps formed in grass verge
Building railway sleeper steps is very popular in the garden and you can see a project page on how to do this here.
The setting out and working out the rise and the going is very similar except sleepers, being a set size, do not give you quite the flexibility you have with bricks, blocks and a masonry tread of some kind. At least with masonry you can vary the depth of the joint to add or subtract a few cm where necessary.
Make sure that you measure the position for the steps are even all the way up the flight.
Check that the flight of steps is even Image courtesy of diy.com
Secure The Concrete Pavers In Place And Fill The Gaps
Once you have finished each section and the pavers have all been laid, make sure none of the paver stones wobble. You’ll want to check this before filling the joints.
I had about five that had some wobble and just about every time, the culprit was a raised bit of larger gravel that had been pulled near the surface. The concrete paver stone was resting awkwardly on the raised gravel.
The way to fix this is to gently remove the paver and check for the larger gravel that is raised. Remove it and fill in the hole with sand. Carefully place the paver back down into position.
If you don’t see any gravel, then something in that spot isn’t level. It could be that there’s a bit of a bump, or just one edge needs a little more sand. Use the float to level it and place the paver back into place.
With all the pavers set as you need them, you can start filling in the gaps. Use the square nosed shovel to scoop the sand or paver dust and place it into the joints, but only add about ½- ¾” of the paver dust/sand.
Try to distribute it evenly between them. You can use a hand spade and/or a broom to help with this.
Then sweep off any excess sand with the broom.
Now finish filling in the gaps with your decorative top layer. I used marble chips.
I wanted marble chips in part for aesthetic reasons, but also because the larger size would be less maintenance than smaller sized filler. Smaller filler would just stick to people’s feet or get caught in the soles of their shoes.
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How To Build Paver Patio Steps
Building patio steps with will result in elegant, functional access from your to your home, or down to a driveway or path. Follow these guidelines and take the time to plan and measure carefully to build safe and sturdy paver patio steps for your landscape project.
Step 1 Measure for Size, Shape, and Materials Needed
The two key measurements you need to take are the height of the patio steps and the distance they will extend outward from the doorway . Allow a maximum of six inches for each steps height, and at least four feet for the width of the bottom step. Ensure your steps all end up at the same height, and that each step is 15 inches deep from front to back. Once you know these dimensions, you can work out how many steps you will build. Then, divide the net size of each step by the size of your pavers, to see how many you need. A single piece of natural bluestone makes a solid one-inch deep capstone for each step, so include this thickness in the overall height of each patio step.
Step 2 Lay out the Pavers to Simulate the Stairway Construction
Set one row of blocks down as your bottom step. Lay out the next row on top of it so the pavers overlap to the middle of the first row from front to back. Continue until you have reached the top step. This will help you determine accurate fit and number of steps you need. Trace the outline of the bottom step with chalk dust or a thick pencil.
Step 3 Affix the Bottom Row of Pavers to the Patio Surface
Build A Patio Like A Pro So It Will Last For Years To Come
Its important to be prepared for all the hard work and effort required to build a paver patio but to not allow it to overwhelm you. If you follow all the steps and do everything right, this can be a very satisfying project, and what better time to do it than now? With that in mind, we think youre really going to enjoy this tutorial on which explains everything you need to know to be able to install pavers like a pro so you can build a patio that will last for years to come.
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Measure Slope To Allow For Patio Drainage
So that your concrete paver patio drains away from your house, you’ll need to account for the slope of the space.
If your patio is on a hill or against a retaining wall, for instance, you will slope in two directions: away from the house and also away from the wall or the hill.
The angle of slope that allows for proper drainage for your patio is 1″ per every 4 feet. For instance, my patio was 9′ deep, so I created a slope of 2¼”.
The way to mark the slope is to start at stakes that will be your low end. Take the strings you’ve tied onto those stakes and lower them by the number of inches required to meet the correct slope for your patio base on its depth.
Next, use a marker to mark a line where you pulled the strings to .
The new string locations now mark the height of the 4″ base layer with the slope included.
I also found it helpful to mark the top of where the paver will be. It’s important to note that depending on what your top base layer is made of, it may not actually add any height to your total.
The paver dust I had compacted down to maybe about ¼”. You may want to test yours to see because if yours doesn’t compact like that, you may want to add it into your calculations.
If you are using the same pavers I used, these are just over 1½” thick. If your paver dust/sand compacts to almost nothing, you will want to make your last mark 1½” above the base layer mark just made.