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Building A Patio

If you’re looking to add some life to your backyard, then consider building a patio. Outdoor patios are a great way to create more useable space in your home. And if you build a patio enclosure, then you can enjoy your patio all year round. But before you start any building, make sure you have a patio design. Having patio plans will help make sure that it all goes smoothly and that you don’t forget any details.

Getting Started
There are many beautiful and elaborate patio ideas out there. However, when you are building a patio, the more low-maintenance your plan, the better. High-maintenance patio pavers and patio designs, while very beautiful, will make your patio a lot less enjoyable over time. Also, keep in mind that not all patio pavers (that is, the surface material you use) are created equal. If you live in a city where especially cold winters or harsh weather is common, make sure the patio pavers you buy can withstand those temperatures.

When it comes to dimensions, be a bit liberal. A patio is supposed to be a space that you can enjoy so you don’t want to feel cramped or uncomfortable when you are out there. Keep in mind just how many people will typically be using the patio at the same time. Try to ensure that there is enough space for people to sit and move about without getting in each other’s way.

If you are looking to keep costs down, then you’ll probably want to stick to a very simple patio design. The more elaborate patio you design, the more expensive it will be. Also, work with the land you have as much as you can. While some land will need to be leveled, don’t feel as though everything must be perfectly even. Adding in a few steps may be a more cost-effective solution to dealing with a natural slope in your backyard.

Another great way to cut costs is to reuse old materials you may have lying around the house. Not only will this type of recycling making your patio project cheaper, but it can also provide some interesting solutions to your building dilemmas.

There are many different types of patio flooring that you may choose to use. Some of the most popular backyard patios are:

  • Flagstone patios (flagstones are stones that are either naturally thin or have been sliced from rocks that cut easily)
  • Brick patios
  • Stone patios
  • Concrete patios
  • Concrete pavers (interlocking blocks that form a patterned surface)
  • Tile patios

The Big Dig
Now that your patio designs and materials are all sorted out, you’ll need to start clearing the land to make your base. This is the most important step when you are building a patio so be sure to do it right. A poorly built base can cause your patio to become uneven and the stones or concrete to crack. If your backyard is especially uneven, it may be easier to just put in a few steps than to try and level everything out.

Regardless of what type of patio pavers you’ll be using, every patio base starts out the same way.

  • Mark off the area where your patio will go
  • Clear enough space to allow for about four inches of class-5 gravel
  • To ensure that there is proper drainage in the area, you should have a slope of two vertical inches for every eight horizontal feet of the patio you are building
  • Once the gravel has been poured, tamp and pound it down to make sure it lies evenly flat and smooth

If you are building a concrete patio, then you can pour the concrete directly on top of the gravel. Again, you will need to fill about four inches.

If you are building a brick patio, a stone patio, a flagstone patio (with stones ¼ inch to ¾ inch thick) or a concrete paver patio, you can either set them in concrete (as before) and then use concrete grout to keep them in place or you can use sand.

Known as dry-set, using sand to keep your patio stones and patio blocks in place is one of the easiest ways of building your own patio. To get started, place some landscaping fabric on top of your gravel base and then a layer of sand. Make sure the sand is even and smooth before you place your patio pavers on top. To keep your pavers in places, use some more sand or dry mortar mix. To get the mortar to set, just turn your hose on your newly laid patio. If you are using flagstone, then make sure the pavers are more than ¾ inch thick.

For those of you who prefer to use patio tile, then put the tiles down on concrete and use mortar grout to hold them in place.

Patio Rooms
Another popular option for many people these days is to build a patio room or sunroom. Some of these patio enclosures will let you use your patio all year long, while others just use a patio screen to help keep the bugs out. Some patio screens are freestanding while others need to be anchored to your patio deck or concrete patio. A patio enclosure can help you get a lot more use out of your patio. However, you may want to consider hiring some extra help if you plan to build a patio room or put in a patio screen.

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