Patios are a great way to extend your living space outdoors. Made of thermal bluestone various dimensions, this 6 X 17-foot patio requires some serious digging and a bit of heavy lifting, but the results are well worth it. There are plenty of stones to choose from. So, choose the one that’s right for you, your landscape, and your budget.
To build a stone patio, here’s what you’ll need for this intermediate level project.
TOOLS & MATERIALS
- Tape Measure
- Line Level
- Edging Shovel
- Square-Point Shovel
- Sledge Hammer
- Garden Rake
- Mason’s Trowel
- White Rubber Mallet
- Pry Bar
- China Markers
- Speed Square
- Plate Compactor/Hand Tamper
- Leaf Blower (optional)
- Sod Cutter (optional)
When taking on this DIY task, be sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gear. Throughout the video, we’ll alert you regarding when you should and should not use the safety gear.
Make preparations. Because you’ll be digging into the ground, call your local utility company to have them check for any live electrical, gas, water, and sewer lines where you plan to build your patio. They will also need to check for irrigation and drainage lines.
Contact your local permit office to see if a permit is required where you’ll be building. Once you’re aligned with all local regulations, order your materials and arrange for drop-off as close to the patio site as possible.
Mark area. Locate the center point of the area where you plan to build your patio and remove any plants that might be in the way. Mark your dig area by measuring out from the center point, adding half a foot to each side. Walk to the front edge of your patio space. Measure back and add a foot.
In this case, our patio went back six feet, so we measured back seven feet. Dig in extra six inches beyond your intended patio on all sides. If one side of the patio is adjacent to a wall or walkway, add a full foot to the opposite side. When you’re measuring and marking is complete, drive stakes into the ground at all four corners.
Layout site. The three four five method is a great way to set perpendicular lines for the edge of the patio and ensure your corners are at 90 degree angles. Start by measuring one side to three feet and the perpendicular adjacent side to four feet. Then measure diagonally from the first mark to the second mark. If your angle is correctly set at 90 degrees, the two points should be exactly five feet from each other. You can use any variation of this method, 6:8:10, 9:12:15 and so on. To ensure 90 degree corners, adjust stakes as needed.
Outline the patio with spray paint and remove your stakes and string.
Dig! Dig out the area about seven inches. This will allow for four inches of CR6 gravel and one inch of sand for setting your stone.
Incline for drainage. To drain water away from your home’s foundation, grade the excavation about one inch for every eight feet of patio space. To do this, install stakes and use a line level to check for the correct incline. Using a tape measure to check the difference at the front and back of the patio will also help with this. As you work, confirm that the bottom of the hole is sloped at the correct incline as well.
Add fabric. Install heavy duty landscape fabric in the hole with sod staples. Place them every 12-14 inches to hold it in place.
Add CR6. CR6 gravel will allow for drainage even when the base is compacted, although you’ll add four inches total of CR6, start with two inches using a garden rake to ensure it’s smooth. Confirm its level, then compact. Continue this process for the next two inches, checking to make sure you maintain the proper slope away from your home.
Add sand. Make sure your CR6 still has the correct slope before spreading sand. Set a length of three fourths inch galvanized pipe along one side of the patio. Set down another length of pipe parallel to the first piece about six feet away. Checking with a line level that both are properly sloped away from the house at about one inch of sand smoothing as much as possible with a flat trowel.
Screed sand. With a helper, set an eight foot 2X4 held on edge onto the pipes. Remove any stakes in the way. Then, drag the 2X4 along the pipes to smooth the sand, knocking down any high spots and filling any voids as you go.
Fill indents. Remove the galvanized pipe. Fill indentations with sand and smooth the area with a flat trowel.
Set, don’t slide the stone. With your site prep complete. It’s finally time to start setting some bluestone. To keep your joints consistent and avoid stepping on level sand work out from the corner. To preserve the flatness of the sand base, be sure to set, not slide each stone into place. If a stone is too low, sprinkle in some extra sand and reset. Tap each piece into place with a white rubber mallet. As you work, stand back to make sure the installation looks even. If you need to budge a stone slightly to get a consistent gap, lever it with a pry bar. Cuts can be made to trim your stone as needed. Using a mason’s speed square and masonry saw.
Install retaining edge. To help prevent shifting install a plastic retaining edge along the perimeter of the patio. To do this, use a flat trowel to scrape away any excess sand. Then, making sure the top edge of the retaining strip is one inch down from the patio surface use a sledgehammer to secure what spikes. STEP 13
Add sand. Spread polymeric sand on the bluestone and sweep into the joints. Spray the patio with water, keeping an eye out for cavities. Fill any voids with sand and spray again.
Finishing touches. Backfill the edging with leftover dirt and sweep off the patio. Purchase or replant greenery is desired. Mulch for a finished look and do one final sweep. Your build is complete. Step back and admire your new patio.