Once I finished the plan for the patio, I couldn’t wait for Spring to get the work going. Right after the reno, the contractor planted grass as a temporary fix since it was already Fall, and I wanted some time to finalize what we wanted to do.
The other issue was we wanted to combine this work with tackling the driveway and creating a retaining wall. With one kid still in college, we also needed to recover a little from the big renovation and pile up some more cash for phase 2.
As soon as the freeze was over, our mason began work. In the last post, I detailed how I created the plan. If you’re thinking of doing any big project, I recommend first figuring out what needs to work in the outdoor space. Think about the grill, storage, seating and dining. If you have existing furnishings, measure out the square footage, leaving space for things like pulling chairs out when you’re dining and walkways. As another layer, plan for plants!
The property needed some re-grading, bringing up the level of the immediate back yard and tapering the level to allow water to drain properly. This was something I learned from actually installing a brick patio in my previous home. You don’t want water pooling on the surface.
All of the stone for the retaining wall was pulled from our property when the new foundation was dug. Plus, I already had a stockpile from other areas of the yard where we planted trees. A whole lotta stone in this soil!
Because this wall was actually going up against a new driveway, it needed to be strong, so a fairly deep trench was dug, and some small drainage tubes were added to make sure this wall will last.
The wall is then cut across the top, creating a nice even flat surface.
The patio bed was filled with gravel followed by bluestone dust, then compacted. We chose thermal bluestone in a multi-color pallet that comes pre-cut in different sizes. It’s important to give the patio enough “bedding” so it doesn’t shift. In areas with freezing temps, this is REALLY important. You need a few inches of gravel (larger stone) and then on top of that, we used bluestone dust instead of sand. Bluestone dust compacts tightly and is a bit more stable than sand.
We decided to fill the seams with polymeric sand. This type of sand contains a bonding agent so it seals out dirt and seeds that can get trapped in the crevice. On my previous patio, we used regular sand, and after a year or so weeds and dirt made their way in and I was always battling the weeds.
Next, we added top soil and prepared the surrounding area for the planting beds and lawn.
Next, I got to work putting in the plants! Since we have such an amazing view, all of the plants I chose won’t ever get more than a few feet tall. My favorite is HYDRANGEA! I have about 30 hydrangeas of different varieties.
I hope you enjoyed the tour! I’m so excited to see everything fill in, and to add more potted plants on the patio this season.