The Keys to Making Dependable and Long Lasting Landscaping
So, you’ve decided to upgrade your home’s landscaping? You are in for some fun!
Nowadays, the idea of stone paths and patios, paver built walkways, and so on have become the popular thing to do. And for good reason. If done correctly, a stone or paver made patio or path can be a great asset to your home and can be around for many years to come. But how do you do it? Well, we are going to show you how right here.
WARNING: ALWAYS FOLLOW ANY AND ALL SAFETY PROTOCOLS OR GUIDELINES WHEN DOING ANY SORT OF LANDSCAPING OR CONSTRUCTION. BE SAFE WITH ALL THE TOOL, MATERIALS, AND SO ON THAT ARE INVOLVED IN THESE PROJECTS.
Step 1: Design the project
Whether you decide to make a patio or path, you first need to design it. The simplest way to do that is to take a piece of scratch paper, a pencil, and measuring tape and head to the backyard. You will first want to measure out the size and shape of your yard and sketch it on your paper. (Make sure to use make it to scale or you will be in trouble later).
Once you have a rough sketch of your backyard on paper, you can start drawing and experimenting with different ideas. Draw in a path, patio, or anything else for that matter and see how it will look in relation to the rest of the yard. Then, once you think you have what you want, go back outside with all your supplies and lay some sort of markers out so you can visualize the idea in the actual yard.
After some trial and error, you will soon come to a decision on what kind of design you want for your backyard. Put together a final sketch and take your final measurements to the hardware store — it’s time to buy supplies!
Step 2: Buy the supplies
Once you have that final sketch of your project, you will take all that information to the hardware store and begin searching for the supplies you’ll need. (Ensure that you write down the dimensions of the project so you can calculate the surface area of it—this will tell you how many pavers, stones, or other material you will need.
When you are at the hardware store, you will pick the kind of paver or stone you want and then order a batch of it that will be big enough for your project (buy a bit extra just in case). But that isn’t all you will need. You will need a paver base and lots of paver sand, as well as edging strips, and metal stakes to hold the edging strips in.
When buying the paver base, which is the foundation for your path or patio, you will need to take the surface area of your project in inches and multiply it by 4. This will tell you how many cubic inches of paver base you will need. You will do a similar equation for calculating how much paver sand you will need. Take the surface area, in inches again, and multiply it by 1.5 and that is how many cubic inches of sand you will need. You will want to buy a bit more sand, however, for later in the project though, so don’t just stop at the equation above— buy another bag, or two if the project is a large one.
The edging strips will need to be long enough to hug the entire project to keep it in place. This can be calculated by adding the length of all the sides together. And that is the size.
While you are at the hardware store, grab some small wooden posts at least 6 or 7 inches long, some string, and landscaping spray-paint.
Step 3: Prepare the area
At this point, you are going to want to mark off the area of your project with the landscaping spray-paint we talked about before. You will mark off the outline of the project. After that is finished, take the wooden posts you bought and place them at the corners of the project and tie the string around each post so that it creates an elevated line right above where you spray-painted earlier. Make sure that you start from your house, or where ever the path starts, and tie the string at the height you wish the pavers or stones to sit. Then you will stretch it to the next post and it off at that same height. (However, you will want to slope the project away from your home (Home Depot recommends sloping it 1 inch for every 8 feet it extends out from the house— this will ensure that water drains away from your house).
After you have the outline of the project marked off with paint and string, you will need to start digging. What you will want to do is take the height of your pavers or stones in inches and add 5 inches to that number. Now, subtract the distance between the string you just strung up and the existing grass or dirt. Once you have that number, that is how far down you will need to dig (remembering to continue the slope you started with the string). Once you have gotten down to the necessary depth, you will need to make sure it is flat so the pavers or stones will sit flush with each other.
Step 4: Lay the base
So, the base you bought should be a nice fine gravel. This will serve as a solid foundation for your path or patio and help it to drain properly if it gets rained on.
Like we said earlier, you will want your base to be about 4 inches deep. So, take the base you bought and start pouring it until you have poured on 4 inches (Which should be the same number as the cubic inch measurement from before.
Now, use a rake or some other tool to spread the base around and then use either a hand tamper or a plate compactor to flatten and compact the base. This will firm up the foundation you’ve set.
Step 5: Lay the sand
For this step you will want to get yourself pipes or wood planks that are no larger than an inch or so in diameter to act as guides for your sand. Put them on either side of the walkway or patio and then pour the sand between them (you may need to put another pipe or plank in the middle if you are doing a wide project). Next, you will take a piece of 2 X 4 and smooth out the sand. Place the 2 X 4 on top of the sand so it rests on the pipes or planks and slowly pull it towards you. This will give it an even surface. Then, remove the pipes or planks, filling the cavities they leave behind with more sand.
Step 6: Lay the stones or pavers
At last, we get to lay the pavers or stones. At this point, you will want to snuggly— and lightly— puzzle piece the stones or pavers together on top of the sand. Once you have placed all the pavers or stones, you will want to go along the edge of the project with those edge strips and push them in tightly around the project to keep it firmly in place.
Step 7: Use the rest of that sand
Now, the last step before cleanup is to take some sand and dust the project area with it. Use a broom now to spread it around so the sand falls in the cracks. Do this a few times and then finally use that hand tamper or plate compactor once more to make sure everything is firmly in place. (Be sure to put some sort of leather, plastic, or fabric layer between the hand tamper or plate compactor so the stones or pavers you are using do not get scratched).
Congratulations! You now have a homemade path or patio that will last you for years. Now you can get your friends over for a party to admire your handiwork. Remember, to follow all the safety instructions on the equipment you use when doing this project— you want to stay safe while working out there!
Stay tuned here for more information on how to keep your home in tip-top shape, or to learn more about the amazing real estate market here in Boise. We here at the Hughes Group are ready to help with anything! If you need a top notch real estate agent, then you need to call the Hughes Group today, we can always help.