A 9 x 11 Patio Under 200 Dollars
A Great Place to Relax and Talk with Neighbors
A patio area is great place to sit and relax after a hard day's work. A front patio is an excellent place to sit and meet your neighbors. Imagine if you will coming home from an arduous day at work. All you want to do is relax with some peace and quiet. You make a drink; you go outside and sit down. The cool breeze starts to wash away the day’s stresses. Your neighbors are out walking.
A neighbor calls out; “How ya doing?”
You smile and say; “Just fine.”
Another neighbor stops by to say hi. Being neighborly, you offer him /her a drink and the next thing you know your laughing and joking and the day's stresses are gone. A front patio is a great place to relieve stress, and it is not as expensive as a spa membership.
It Cost Less Than You Think; Not as Difficult as You Imagine
Most people just think about putting in a patio, they look at that area of dirt and grass thinking how nice it would be to have a patio but decide the cost is too much. There is always next year. The cost of using a professional contractor to excavate the area, level it, prep it, pour the cement or set the patio blocks can be prohibitively expensive. But, it doesn’t have to be expensive. I put in a ninety-nine square foot patio for around $150.00. And it only took a weekend. Granted, I had a lot of sore muscles and a sunburn, but it was worth it.
So, how ease is it to put in a patio? Well that depends on how fancy you want to get. I strongly suggest you start with a basic square design nothing fancy or curved. You can always alter the design later.
The tools you will need are very basic; A wheelbarrow, a shovel, a level, garden rake, and a utility knife. If you can get your hands on an earth compactor that would be great, but it is not necessary. You can compact the lazy man's way just soak the area with the hose and walk over it repeatedly. If you can use these tools then you can put in your own patio.
Excavating the Area
Digging out the Patio Area
The first step is to lay out the general patio area. The lines do not have to be perfect because you will be over digging the area by a foot or two. Once you have the area marked out, start digging – always call “dig safe before you start digging in your yard, they will mark out all under ground utility lines-- down about four to five inches. Rake the area until it looks level and smooth. Once you have done that compact the dirt, if you don’t have a compactor walk all over the area until it is firm.
Once the area is firm, take a garden hose and fill the area with water. This will show you all the high spots. Start throwing dirt back into the area until the high spots are gone. Rake over the area again. And tamp down the soil until it is firm. Continue doing this until you get to about three inches from were you want the top of you patio pavers to be. The pavers I used were 12 x12x 2 so I left room for about ¾ of an inch of sand for a base to lay the block in. This gave me some room to adjust for uneven areas and to allow for a slight slop to drain rain water.
Sand and Pavers
Once you have the earth compacted and sloped for water drainage, it is time to add the sand. Where you buy your materials will determine how many bags of sand you will need. Buy enough to cover the square area of the patio with a minimum of a ½ inch of sand. Rake the sand out until it is spread evenly over whole excavated area. If you have a compacter compact the sand, if not soak the sand then walk over the sand until it is compacted. I used a strike board to smooth out the footprints.
Once your satisfies with your base you can now start placing your patio pavers. Since the pavers are square, it is a simple matter of laying them out in a straight line. Once you have your first row in and straight, just line the next row up on the first row. LIne up each successive row on the previous row. Use your level to make sure the pavers are level or slightly sloped for water drainage. Place them up tight against each other and take your time. Before you know it, you will be done.
The Last Step
Once you have your pavers down, take a half bag of sand and pour it out onto your patio. Take a large driveway broom and begin sweeping the sand over the pavers. The sand will fill the small gaps between each paver and lock the pavers into place. I did a half bag at a time until I was satisfied that all the gaps were filled. Wait anothera few days before you seal the patio. Since I used recycled material, I didn’t seal my pavers. With in a few months, the recycled material and the new material will all look the same.
A word of caution if you do not use an earth compactor your patio may be uneven at first. This is not a big deal. Wait a week for the patio to settle then take up the section that is uneven and adjust the amount of sand to even out the section. Then brush sand over that section only.
You now have a beautiful patio to enjoy for years to come. Depending on where you buy your materials, the cost of this patio will be considerably less than what you would pay a professional contractor to do the job.