The Patio Project

Step 1: Build a Deck

We had to do something with our 2ft drop out of the back door. Step one was to build a deck. We didn't want a big platform at the door level since we would be up high looking at, or being looked at, by the neigbors. Plan was to have steps downs to a stone patio.

The Design

The design changed a little over time. We didn't want a lot of railings in front of the window so the steps stretched all the way across. The steps to the left seemed like a good idea and Suzy appreciated the quick exit to the grass.

The Arbor was a late addition and since we then had a corner between the steps we decided to add a flower planter. The flower planter then grew to include a fountain.

Deck and Arbor Finished

This was the state of the project at the end of 2007.

We used the Eon plastic decking material that will hopefully eliminate a lot of the maintenance in years to come. It was rather different to work with. It expands and contracts significantly with temperature changes, so it can only be anchored in one place and is held by clips everywhere else.


Flower Planter / Fountain

The planter fountain works pretty well. The water from the bubbler runs down the rock slope and makes a nice waterfall noise. We do have a design problem in that the central planter doesn't have any way to drain so it accumulates water when it rains. Next year we will try water plants in the middle.


The Patio Planning

Now to the Patio. Because the yard has quite a considerable slope, in order to get a level patio a lot of clay has to be removed. Plus we need to dig out more to put the crushed rock base down. When we built the steps on the front of the deck we calculated how far down they needed to go to level out the yard. Hope we got it right.



The three members of the measuring team get to work with Laser level. Once we figured out level we then adjusted everything to slope away from the house.



One of the members of the measuring team thought this was a lot of fun and nibbled one of the other members on the arm..


Ready to Excavate

The stakes are set to accommodate a patio area big enough for our table, plus a fire circle big enough to have seating around without getting burnt.



Luckily we have a neighbor down the street with some fancy equipment. DJ from KDM Construction came to help. He made short work of the turf and clay removal.



He was able to slice off the turf, recover the topsoil and then remove the clay. When he finished the level of the excavation was spot on.



DJ's bobcat was able to move out clay and also move in crushed rock.


Crushed Rock

So at the end of about four hours we had a hole in the ground filled with crushed rock to be levelled.


Hole in the Fence

One of the advantages of being in a corner lot is that we can get out to the road by removing a section of fence. This was very usefule to get equipment in and clay out.


Getting Rid of the Clay

DJ loaded up the clay on his trailer. It took about eight loads.


Building the Wall

We needed to build a wall because the grass was higher than the patio level on the right hand side. We decided to build the wall so it was at a good height for sitting.

It took forever to get the bottom layer for the wall level, but after that Amy built the rest of the wall.


Laying the Bricks

After several rounds of renting a plate compactor to get the rock crush flat, we started laying the sand and bricks. This part went quite fast.


Finishing Touches

We rented a 14" diamond blade saw to cut the patio bricks to finish off the base and also to cut each of the coping blocks around the wall circle. The final step was to brush polymer sand in to the cracks, compact it and then water it to set it up.



Finally finished we moved the table to its allotted location. Suzy also seemed to approve of the new patio.



Everything turned out really well. We found an outdoor fire and positioned that in the middle of the circle but left enough room for Suzy's paddling pool.

The left over and damaged blocks were just what we needed to build a couple of Inukchuks for the garden.


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