Here's How To...

Build a Patio

A patio can be an intimate outdoor space or a wide expanse for barbecues and entertaining. Choose from a wide variety of patio pavers and select a style that complements the location. Make it even more inviting with furniture, umbrellas, lighting, and a chiminea or fireplace for cool evenings.

How the patio will be used usually determines its location. Patios for sunbathing obviously need to be placed in a sunny location, while barbecues will be easier on patios placed close to a kitchen.

Outline the patio area with stakes and string. Then, using a spade, remove about two inches of soil from inside the boundary.  The depth should be about an inch deeper than the depth of the pavers that are being used.

 Rake the soil smooth and compact with a roller or tamper until level. (If the patio is near the house, a slight grade away will encourage water runoff away from the home.)

Next, install edging around the perimeter of the patio to keep pavers in place.  The edging could be 2x4 redwood planks, a band of concrete, or concrete footing with bricks laid flat in mortar on top.

Lay a bed of fine sand over the excavated area and start laying pavers on top. The arrangement will depend on the type of pavers, whether bricks or flagstone or patio blocks.

Start in the middle for irregular-shaped stones and fit them together as you move outward. Square or rectangular stones or bricks can be laid starting at one side of the patio. Level the sand if it becomes uneven.

If the patio is designed to fit the size of the pavers, cutting stones or brick won't be necessary. Otherwise, cut pavers that don't fit with power saw using a diamond saw masonry blade. Bricks can be cut with a broad blade chisel and hammer.

Tile Saw
Tile Saw
Cut any pavers that don't fit with a diamond saw blade. You can avoid having to cut stones if you adjust your patio design to fit the size of your pavers.

Sprinkle pea gravel or sand on the completed patio. Use a hose to rinse it into the gaps between the pavers.
The Practical Handbook of Patio and Outdoor Projects
The Practical Handbook of Patio and Outdoor Projects
by Tom Philbin
Fawcett Publications, 1975

In recent years,the concept of outdoor living has been adopted by more and more families. Basically, all it means is that the family gets as much enjoyment from activities conducted outside as inside.

To do this, the outdoor living environment - the patio and its environs - must be properly equipped; stocked, as it were, with all the things an individual family needs to get the maximum enjoyment with the least inconvenience. The thrust of this book is helping you, the handyman, equip it yourself. I've striven to include plans and ideas for the things anyone would need. Most basic, of course, is the patio itself  --  your outdoor floor.

I have included other projects as well, because homeowners have a crying need for more information on them. For example, there are instructions on how to build a driveway. Not just any driveway, but one that will last for years without cracking. Elsewhere, you'll find information on making simple edgings and retaining walls, an information on how to make a variety of carports.

-- Introduction, Tom Philbin


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