Sunday, May 27, 2012

Patio Installation - am I nuts?

This is how I roll:  (Okay, I don't roll, I usually stumble, but anyway...) I'm walking through Home Depot with my man.  We are there specifically to get the stain for the front and side porches.  As we enter Home Depot, there's an easel with a sign announcing that there's a "How to Make a Patio" class on Saturday.

Light Bulb moment!  My mind is racing... We want to expand our porch and add a large deck, but our rather meager budget isn't going to allow this any time in the near future.  So how about I install my own patio?  I'm giddy at the idea, but my husband is looking like a puppy dog left out in the rain.  And I know that look.  He's not thrilled with the idea.  Not because it isn't a brilliant idea - it's because it means he is inevitably going to have to help me, and by "help", I mean "do all of the back breaking labor in his free time".

Now, I feel bad about this.  BUT, it means we can make better use of our back yard for BBQ's, for fires in the fire pit, for coffee with the birds, and lunches with the kids.  And we don't have to wait until we can afford the deck!  And I promise, I will make it up to my hubby - back rubs for a month!

If my handsome, charming, kind husband will agree to help me... The process itself looks fairly easy, although very labor intensive.  I did voice my reservations about how difficult this would be, but the guys at Home Depot assured me that I could do this project myself, without help!  (And I'm a 5'3", 120 lb weakling, with a bad back).  Some of those pavers weigh 40lbs, each!  Okay, so I'm not fool enough to try this by myself, but I believe the HD guys that it's do-able.

So with that belief firmly planted in my (pea) brain, this is a general idea of what the project looks like.  I'm planning on this taking a weekend!

I looked all over and there are all kinds of pavers and bricks you can use for the patio.  Home Depot had them, I know Lowe's has millions, and lots of the local farm stands even have them.  I haven't decided on one yet, but when I do, I will get a square foot size of patio and buy the amount of pavers I need.

Then the fun begins.

1.  Measure and mark the area for our patio dimensions.  You can do this with string and stakes, but the HD guys said to use spraypaint.  Smart!

2. Dig up the ground (call utility companies to be sure there are no underground lines). Edge around your perimeter, and then dig out the entire patio area, 6" deep.  Use plastic edging around the edges.

3. Make sure this shallow hole is level, with, well, a level.

4. Fill the patio hole with 2" of gravel and use a hand tamper to compact it.  Then put in 2" more of the gravel and compact that.

5. Add 1" paver sand and tamp down.

6. Arrange your paver stones or brick in the pattern you want... drop them straight down, don't slide them into place.

7. After laying the paver stones, sweep the paver sand all over the top, filling in the cracks with the sand.

THAT'S IT!!!  Sit down and enjoy the view!  Well, in theory, that's how easy it is.  I'm gonna try it anyway.  What could go wrong?

Don't answer that.

(Details, pictures, and possible swear words to follow... )