Onward with the patio updates! Yesterday, we talked about the new bench we added to our ever-growing seating area. Today, we’re taking a step backward… remember the bench that started it all? Here it is to jog your memory:
Well, underneath that bench was kind of a hot mess. What do you get when you mix an area of dirt and weeds with rain and a white bench? A pain. So we decided we needed to expand our brick patio to continue under the bench. Not to spoil the ending, but I’m going to switch it up and give you a shot of the finished product before going into the step by step breakdown (which is totally unprofessional, but worked for us). Without further ado, here’s the new look!
Again, we probably did this all wrong from a professional stand point, but so far it has held up the bench just fine and it looks good, so I’m back to share the step by step of how we installed our mini patio.
Step 1: Measure. And then measure again. Since our bench is just over 46″ long and 26″ deep, we figured that a patio length of around 48″ would be a perfect size. Wrong. Had we actually thought it through and marked the space with some sort of visual, we would have realized that trying to place a 46″ piece on a 48″ plot would mean that the bench would have to always be perfectly straight and centered or else it would be falling off the edge of the pavers and into the mud. In the end, our mini patio clocked in at 56″ long and 36″ deep. Please excuse the mud on the left side of this picture… dirt will be dirty, I guess.
Step 2: Buy your materials. We chose to go with light gray pavers because they were the most cost efficient of the bunch and we got them at Home Depot. For our space, we used 12 of the 12×12″ (HD sells them for $1.21 a pop) and 10 of the 8×4″ (under a buck a piece at HD).
Step 3: Dig to desired depth. We wanted the mini patio to be level with the existing, so we just dug, placed a paver down, stepped back, examined, and made tweaks until we had a hole that lined up nicely with our brick patio.
Step 4: Place and adjust. Again, this was a trial and error method. I placed a paver, stomped on it to pack down the dirt and either added more dirt or scraped some more away from underneath depending on how the stone fit in with what I had already put down.
Step 5 that should have been Step 4a: Place the “edging” stones. I had already put down quite a few of the large 12×12″ squares before realizing that our initial measurements would not allow for enough room for our bench. As frustrating as it was, I had to go back to Home Depot to buy more stones, but we decided to go with adding a smaller edge to each side instead of another row of the squares. Adding another 12×12″ to the picture would make our patio just a bit larger than we originally wanted (we have plans for installing something directly to the left of the bench and didn’t want to encroach on space for that), so just putting an edge on either side gave us another 8″ of patio, which was enough for comfortable bench placement. We used five on either side- this didn’t exactly add up to the depth of our 12×12″ stones (we don’t have the tools to cut through stone and trim off the excess), but the back of the entire patio is covered in pachysandra anyway, so no one is the wiser. Except of course, now all of you, so feel free to pull back the plants when you come to visit and critique our short-cutting ways. 🙂
Step 6: Make sure to test drive! I did a lot of
stepping jumping on each stone to make sure the dirt underneath was packed down as firmly as possible and that each was level with the next. There were some corners that wiggled a bit when stepped on, so I dug a few up to shove a bit more dirt underneath for more stability. Better to test as you go than to get to the end and realize that the whole thing is wiggly and uneven.
Step 7: Clean ‘er off and enjoy! I am happy to report that our bench no longer sits in a puddle of mud… she looks like a million bucks seated on her very own “throne”. Note: Ideally, the mini patio would directly meet the existing patio, but the (underground) plastic edging around the brick prevented us from digging that close. Not to worry though, we have plans for that sliver of dirt/grass between the two!
Call me silly, but I was so proud of putting this in all by myself (Mitch lent a hand here and there when he got home from work, but he was mostly busy replacing stones elsewhere in the yard). It makes sitting on the bench and enjoying the view that much sweeter.
And in with the new! Happily, our new stones tie in nicely with both the brick patio and the edging around our garden. Score an accidental point for Team Thomas.