November 02, 2009

DIY Patio Installation

Last week, I featured the start of our backyard renovation.  When we moved into our house, our small backyard was a complete blank state with just grass and a lone evergreen tree.  The yard desperately needed privacy and an area for barbecuing, dining, and entertaining.

We started our backyard makeover by installing a fence for privacy and to define our yard from the adjacent communal space and our neighbors' yards.  Once the fence was in, thanks to some muscle power from Rob, it was time to create a place where we could barbecue, eat, and relax.  We debated between a patio and a deck, but ultimately decided on a patio.  Because we could only get a 5 foot tall fence, a high-set deck would have towered over it and not provided us with enough privacy.  Instead, we chose a 20' x 20' patio which would be more private since it sits at ground-level.

After researching online, reading books from the library, and advice from friends we decided to install the patio ourselves.  But we quickly found out that a 400 square foot DIY patio installation is seriously hard work!  I think our poor muscles might still be hurting!

First, we needed to dig 8" deep across the entire patio area to dig up all of the grass and soil.  This was very strenuous, because it turns out that grass and soil are very heavy when you are digging big 8" thick chunks.  It took us about a day to dig out the entire patio area.
diy patio installation step 1

After the area was dug out, we needed somewhere to put the discarded sod.  Since our yard slopes down, we placed the sod chunks in the back of yard to level it out.

Next, we lined the patio area with a barrier landscaping cloth to hopefully prevent weeds from growing up between the patio stones.  Then, we put down a layer of rocks across the entire area.
how to install patio rock base

The rocks were a challenging task as well because we had five and a half tons (literally) of rocks delivered to our house and dropped on our driveway.  Then we had to carry the rocks around the house to the backyard, one wheelbarrow at a time.
diy patio installation rocks

We made sure to put more rocks at the front so that the finished patio would slope down a bit for drainage.  Once the entire area was fully covered with rocks, we use a hand tamper to compact the rocks so they would form a solid base.  With help from our family, we were able to put down the rock base in one very long day.

Once the rock base was in place, our next step was to put down a 3 inch thick layer of sand over the entire patio area.  Using the wheelbarrow, we hauled 50 pound bags of sand around the house to the yard.  The sand was used to smooth out the bumpy rock base so there was a level area to put the patio pavers down. 
install patio sand layer

Once the sand layer was down, it was finally time to place down our patio pavers!  Stay tuned to see the pavers we chose and how we finished our DIY patio installation.

This project is featured on Diy Day, Metamorphosis Monday  and Knock Out Monday


Lori said...

Can't wait to see it all finished! I know redoing a backyard is hard work!

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

Oh my goodness. The rocks are just hurting my back through sympathy. Cannot wait to see it all come together.

Its So Very Cheri said...

I wish they would dump that stuff in the back yard--it would make the job so much easier--wouldn't it.

Thanks so much for posting


Tamera said...

Looking forward to your reveal!
Love patios and gardening!


Tammy said...

It is hard work. I remember doing the same thing on a 25x15 patio. Wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow, but it is lovely now and so worth the time. Well would have been nice to have someone haul all the sand and bricks though..haha


Ldy ~~ Dy said...

what a challenging job! But so far you guys have done a fabulous job! Whew! I know those muscles must be sore! Can't wait to see your patio finished! Hugs!

Unknown said...

I know how big a job that is, we just completed our backyard patio, 14x20 all by wheelbarrow through a narrow gate, this August with the help of a nephew and our kids. Huge project but so worth it. Looking forward to the reveal.

Brittany at Mommy Words said...

Oh I know this feeling. I can feel the back ache now! I did just a small one over the summer and thought I was going to die! I can't wait for the reveal. It is lookin good!

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

I'm hooked! I read the first installment when you posted it, and I came back for this one. You guys are doing a GREAT job! I can't imagine how sore you are, but it will be worth it!

steve the plumber said...

DIY Patio Installation

Thanks for sharing

Jenny @ DIY Newlyweds said...

Thanks for following along with my transformation! Check out the patio pavers we chose: