Tuesday, May 17, 2011

And then there was a patio!

We last left off on Saturday with a pretty good size muddy hole in our backyard:


Since it was raining all day Sunday, we had to postpone the work until Monday, which was when the gravel and sand were coming anyway.  The weather forecast had a low chance of rain all day, but it was supposed to be overcast and the highs were only supposed to be somewhere in the 50s.  As long as it didn't rain, this patio was going in.

After having my morning cup of coffee, I headed back to Home Depot for another load of paver stones and a few other miscellaneous things.  You see, instead of paying $60 for curbside delivery of the stones, I figured I'd just make a few trips to the store myself.  It sounded like a good idea at first, but toward the end I was somewhat regretting the idea.  Since our cars have a weight limit of 930 pounds, and the pavers weigh 36 pounds each, we could only take around 20 at a time.  The first two trips weren't too bad, but that was before we had actually begun working on the patio.  On Sunday, when we still had to make three more trips to the depot for paver stones (we had to add an extra trip because we decided to extend the patio out another row), that was the point I really started regretting not having them delivered.  Especially since we had to lift each stone five times (onto the cart at the store, from the cart to the car, from the car to the wheelbarrow, from the wheelbarrow to the stack, and then finally from the stack to the patio).

Okay, enough complaining.  So yeah, I began my day by fetching another load of paver stones before the gravel delivery guy came.  He showed up right on time, and dumped our sand and gravel into two nice piles on our driveway.


After getting the gravel, Jen and I headed back to the depot for the last load of pavers.  We took both cars so we could get all 38 of 'em at once.  Her mom was already at the house when we got back, so we grabbed a quick lunch and got to work.

We still had a little section to dig out, so we did that before re-stringing the lines to find out how close to level we were.


To run the lines and make sure everything was sloping away from the house properly, I pulled the line from the stake near the house to the one straight out from it.  With the line level, I marked the location on the outside stake, then measured down 2.5" and tied the string off there.  Since our yard slopes away from the house at an angle (toward the tree in the above picture), we also dropped the outside corner by the deck to match the yard.  This will help ensure everything drains properly.


Once we had a reference point, it was just a matter of tamping everything down and measuring to see how we compared to the lines.  We wanted the ground to be 6" from the line, since we were putting down 3" of gravel, 1" of sand, and the pavers were just shy of 2".

It seems like I'm kind of breezing over this step, but it really was one of the more time-consuming parts of the project.  Using a hand tamper is hard work.  I didn't price what it would be to rent a plate compactor, but it definitely would have saved us a lot of time (provided it would have fit in our car, of course).

Once the ground was relatively level, it was time to add the weed block.


Followed by 3" of gravel...


Even the puppies helped with that part!


The next part was also pretty time-consuming.  Once we put the gravel in, we had to wet it down a little, then tamp it and level it.  Yep, again with the tamper.

Once that was done, it was finally time for some sand and pavers.

Following a nifty little tip from the great folks at Lowe's, we put down our inch of sand and started laying the pavers.  We started at the corner where the deck met the house and built out from there, that way everything would be square with the house.


Then it was just a matter of putting the paver down, making sure it was set and level, and moving onto the next.


105 paver stones later, and we had a patio!







Some before and after side-by-sides:





Hopefully we'll have it all cleaned up and decorated soon enough -- just waiting on some nicer weather!

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