Design To Fit Your Site
Relatively flat sites are the easiest to build on. The more sloped your site, the more you have to excavate, fill and build retaining walls and steps. Our project is set on a gentle slope just out the back door. The wall on the low end does double duty. It allows us to build up the grade slightly to form the flat patio. And because the wall rises about 16 in. high above the patio surface, it makes for comfortable seating .
We incorporated one 6-in. x 3-ft. long stone slab step between the two walls to transition back down to the natural slope of the yard. Keep in mind that these walls are designed as decorative walls, not retaining walls. If you need more than one step or if you have a steeper slope, have an architect or engineer detail the lower part of the wall to handle the extra pressure.
Our wall is made from mortared stone that rests on a reinforced concrete floating footing . This type of footing works well for walls up to 2 ft. high and less than 20 ft. long built on average-to-good soilsthat is, sand, gravel and stable clay. But it wont do on soil rich in organic matter or expansive clay. Youll need a deeper footing in those cases. Call in a local structural engineer or architect to review your plans.
The flagstone patio rests on a 6-in. thick gravel and sand bed that you prepare exactly as you would for a brick or paver patio .
How To Extend Your Concrete Patio With Pavers
Cristina is a Florida native and Realtor by trade. She enjoys writing about travel, real estate, and several other interesting topics.
How to lay a patio with concrete pavers.
Many newer homes are sold with an open concrete patio out back, usually only big enough for a small grill, a couple of chairs, and a plant or two. Homeowners who are serious about using their outdoor living area find a typical slab patio is just too small for entertaining or any real kind of enjoyment.
The solution: extend the concrete patio. Pouring additional concrete can get expensive. Permits are required in many areas to pour concrete, and that usually involves hiring a contractor, driving the cost of this project into the thousands. An alternative to pouring more concrete is extending the concrete patio with pavers.
Patio pavers offer homeowners many benefits.
- They are easy to install, so homeowners can make the extension of a concrete patio a weekend do-it-yourself project.
- Pavers come in a large variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials, giving homeowners flexibility in creating additional outdoor living space.
- Pavers can be used to create large or small spaces as well as making that space as formal or informal as the homeowner wishes.
- They are also easy and inexpensive to repair.
Below, I describe the 11 steps you need to take to extend your patio with concrete pavers.
Lay The Concrete Pavers
Cut your spacer down to the size you have planned for your joint width.
In the photo above, my metal bars are diagonal because I needed to slope my patio in two directions. I thought it would make it easier this way, but I ended up pulling them out and keeping them straight. It was easy enough to follow the slope lines with the strings.
Lay one the first spacer down, and use a squaring tool to lay down a crossing spacer. Then carefully place your first concrete paver against the two spacers.
Repeat, using the spacers to lay more concrete pavers. Remember, you can walk on these as you lay them.
My metal bars are lying diagonally in the photo above because I needed to slope my patio in two directions.
I thought it would make it easier this way, but I ended up pulling them out and keeping them straight. It was easy enough to follow the slope lines with the strings.
Lay one the first spacer down, and use a squaring tool to lay down a crossing spacer. Then go ahead and carefully place your first concrete paver against the two spacers.
Repeat using the spacers to lay more pavers. Remember, you can walk on these as you lay them.
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Can I Make Concrete With Just Sand And Cement
No, you can’t make concrete with only sand and cement. Concrete isn’t considered concrete without aggregates like gravel and stone. It’s the aggregates that contribute to concrete having high strength.
If you just mix sand and cement , you’ll get something closer to mortar or masonry cement, but it’ll be very low in strength and not be good to use for any type of structural application.
There’s many different types of mortar mixes out there. These two are used a lot for making block walls, brick walls, stone veneers, tuck pointing, planters, and more.
Both are a “just add water” mix and very easy to use.
You can or you can get it at Home Depot.
Rapid Set makes a High Strength Structural Repair Mortar.
It’s about as close as you’ll get to making concrete without gravel.
It’s high strength and low shrinkage make it very good for wall and floor repair, mortar beds, and masonry.
It can be applied up to 6″ thick.
It has a very fast drying time.
Rapid Set Mortar Mix is available to also, or you can get it at Home Depot.
Make sure you have the right masonry tools if you’re going to be working with a mortar mix.
Create Your Own Backyard Living Room
Many people elect to bring the indoors, outdoors by making their patio an extension of their living room or kitchen. For the purposes of this article, were going to talk about turning your patio into a living room.
Hit up a patio furniture factory and pick out a nice set of outdoor furniture. Put as much thought into it as you would when buying the furniture that goes inside your house.
If you dont go with the painting suggestion listed above, invest in a colorful area rug. It will be the eye-catching piece you need to bring a little life to an otherwise gray slab of concrete. Make sure the rug is weather-resistant though or it wont stay beautiful and colorful for long.
Bring the whole look home with a couple of planters and a string of lights to make your outdoor living space nice and cozy.
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What About Concrete Pavers
Since they are manmade, concrete pavers are available in almost any size, shape, texture, and color. Their shape can range from large square forms and classic brick shapes to elongated ones similar to plank pavers. There are also concrete replicas of natural stones, bricks, and other materials. They are created with durability and strength in mind, but concrete pavers are prone to crack even with preventions. Concrete pavers may be an inexpensive option, but they are slippery when wet, and repairs can be quite expensive as well. You will need to consider these issues when making your decision.
How To Lay A Patio Next To A Building
If you’re laying a patio next to your house, you will need to create what’s known as a fall meaning that your patio will need to be slightly sloping to allow water to drain away from your house and not collect by walls.
This is done by inserting wooden pegs in a grid where you sub base will go, ensuring that the pegs go in between 12 and 16mm deeper for every metre away from the house. Pre-mark the pegs with a marker to make sure your measurements are correct.
Then, at the sub base filling stage, make sure the aggregate just covers the tops of the pegs.
- How to lay decking for another spot in your backyard.
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Is Quikrete As Strong As Concrete
Yes, Quikrete concrete mixes are designed to be as strong as regular ready-mix concrete.
Quikrete’s original concrete mix has a compressive strength of 4000 psi. Quikrete 5000 reaches a compressive strength of 5000 psi in 28 days.
A lot of commonly used ready-mix concrete is designed to reach 2500 – 4000 psi in 28 days. These concrete mixes are used for foundations, footings, floors, slabs, driveways, and patios.
In the guide above, Quikrete designs their concrete mixes to all reach at least 4000 psi in 28 days. Just make sure to follow their mixing instructions to achieve these strengths.
Even Out Your Surface
To avoid any stones sitting or settling higher than others, you’ll need to even out your base layer. A tamper tool comes in handy for small areas. Larger projects such as driveways may require you to use a plate compactor.
Also, consider that in some cases you might want to add a gentle slope to your patio to provide drainage away from your home and avoid the pooling of rain water.
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Removing Sod And Soil
Before you install pavers, you must mark the area to be paved and remove the sod or grass and any other plants, such as shrubs, from the area. Using a sod cutter or shovel blade, cut into the sod around the perimeter of the area you are paving. Dig it up in strips to a depth of 2 to 3 inches and compost it or plant it in another area. Use a shovel to remove enough soil to accommodate the depth of the base plus the thickness of the pavers. Level the ground with a plate compactor, leaving a slight grade to direct water away from any adjacent buildings and prevent pooling on top of the pavers.
The Character Of The Stone Makes This Patio
Stone varies greatly in color and texture. Visit a number of stone suppliers to see what’s available in your area and to check prices. We chose 3- or 4-in. thick stone intended for building walls, but any relatively flat stone that’s 2 to 4 in. thick will work. Because stone is sold by the ton , a thinner stone like flagstone would have been more economical, but it wasn’t available in the tumbled finish we wanted. If you use thinner stone, don’t tamp it with the compactor. It will crack. The stone dealer will tell you approximately how many square feet a ton of each type of stone covers. Order at least 15 percent extra to allow more selection when you’re looking for just the right shape.
Concrete pavers are the most economical choice for paving patios. They are available in many sizes and colors. Traditional clay pavers have truer brick color and cost a bit more. Concrete pavers are available at home centers and landscape retailers, but you’ll probably have to find a brickyard to buy clay pavers. You’ll need about 4-1/2 bricks for every square foot, assuming an average sized 4 x 8-in. brick. It’s difficult to figure the exact amount of brick needed for an irregularly shaped patio like this, so order about 15 percent extra.
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Material Type For Paver Joints
When youre gathering your supplies, youll want to consider the type of material that will fill in the gaps between the concrete pavers.
Here are some of the gap fillers you might want to consider for your project:
- Moss: This can be transplanted from your yard or purchased like sod from a nursery.
- Grass: Let grass grow naturally. The drawback here is you may be end up fighting with weeds
- Fill the paver joints with your choice of pebbles. These can be a natural stone color, or brightly colored.
- Glass stones: For a really glamorous look, use sanded glass pebbles.
- Sand: Sand is simple and budget-friendly. I recommend using polymeric sand which will seal and harden the sand so you wont track it.
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Materials For Your Concrete Paver Patio
Project specific supplies:
- Landscape fabric for clay soil-*see note
*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, which 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 dont 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.
In my area, the base layer material is known as crusher run. A crusher run has granite dust and coarse and fine angular aggregate and the gravel is about ½-4 in size.
For my top level, I used paver dust, but in your area, sand may be recommended. Again, trust the guidance of your local supplier.
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Spread Landscape Fabric And Gravel
Double-check your calculations for gravel and sand and arrange for deliveries. Then call the rental store and reserve a gas-powered plate compactor or tamper. This is a heavy beast youll need a trailer or pickup truck and a couple of strong bodies to move it around.
After compacting the soil with the tamper and before you start filling the hole, roll out the landscape fabric, allowing it to extend at least 6 in. beyond the patio all around. Use spikes to temporarily hold it in place. Then we spread a 2-in. layer of gravel over the top.
Note: If your soil is soft or soggy, you might have to add more gravel fill to create a stable base. Ask your building inspector or a soil engineer to recommend the right base for you.
Reasons To Choose Natural Stones Over Concrete
1. Timeless Elegance
Natural stone pavers come in varying types, from light beige standstone if you want to get that tropical vibe to dark ebony granite for achieving a majestic feel to your patio. Depending on where the stone is quarried, each piece has a distinct texture and color. Using natural stones on your landscape is a surefire way to captivate your guests and give your hardscape some personalization.
2. Low Maintenance
Stone pavers dont usually develop cracks. If for some reason they do, they are easy to repair and replace. Simply remove the paver with cracks and replace it. Thats it! Plus, they also have smaller joints. That means their sand joints are less likely to encounter seed germination. And the best thing about natural stones? Theyre effortless to clean!
3. Ages Beautifully
There is no doubt that stones look even better as they age and have a very long lifespan. Unlike concrete, the colors of natural stones are not pigmented, which only add to their beauty. Theyre also not made from mixtures of composite aggregate like concrete pavers, so they can preserve their beauty as they age, mature, and fade. There are even certain stones that can attain their complete elegance and beauty with little age. And they will look as beautiful as the day of their installation even after hundreds of years.
4. You Have Plenty Of Style Choices
5. Easier To Install Than Concrete
6. Better Investment
7. Eco-Friendly And Sustainable
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Low Cost Alternatives To Concrete Patio
21 February, 2017
While concrete patios or paver patios are attractive, they can be expensive. Updating old patios with dyes or stains is the most cost-effective way to liven up an old concrete patio, but if you are looking to add a new patio or replace an old one, you may want to find low-cost alternatives to a concrete patio. Materials like gravel or mulch create a natural environment that influences the overall design of the yard.
Types Of Floor Coatings
When applying a floor coating, it is important to find a paint or stain formulated for the area and type of surface. Products for outdoor application, like concrete paint, are made to withstand more extreme temperatures and harsher wear. A coating made for basement floors may not serve as the best garage floor coating. It may not offer the protection and have the resilience needed to coat a garage floor.
There are three main types of floor coatings: paint, stain and epoxy. Each type of floor coating has its own benefits, best surface applications and best application techniques.
Tip: When working with any type of floor coating, ensure you have plenty of ventilation. Keep children and pets away from the affected area until the coating has completely dried and any fumes have dissipated.
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Balance Colors And Shapes
When youre building a stone wall, think of it as a composition rather than as just stacks of rocks held together with mortar. Mix colors and sizes so the wall is pleasing to the eye. Frequently step back and visualize where youll place the next stone and where you want more color. Always stagger vertical joints and keep the joint sizes equal.
How To Install Pavers Over A Concrete Patio Without Mortar
I have a small poured concrete patio, and that Id like to cover with brick pavers. Can I do this without using mortar?
According to several paver manufacturers, paving blocks can be installed on top of concrete without mortar if you first lay down a 1/2 to 1 bed of coarse sand. The process is nearly identical to laying a paver patio over ground.
However, this type of installation should be done with caution, since drainage, settling, and cracking can be a problem. Keep these tips in mind when laying pavers over a concrete patio:
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