As with your retirement, you need to plan the work and then work the plan
Installing a backyard patio is one home improvement project that may be within the capabilities of most homeowners. Although it’s a challenging job that may require a couple of weekends to finish, no special skills or complicated techniques are required. You can create a beautiful area in the backyard for grilling meals, enjoying summer nights, and entertaining friends and family.
First, Make a Plan
To get started, first determine the size and shape of the patio. Circular patterns are popular, as are ovals and rectangles. Free-form shapes are fun as well, but the basic idea is to utilize the space in the best way possible.
Then, purchase the materials that you’ll need for the job. Most items can be found at local home supply stores or masonry companies. Their employees can advise you on the quantities you’ll need per square foot, and some home improvement stores even offer classes to help you along the way.
- Patio pavers
- Rake, shovel, and trowel
- Landscape fabric
- Stone dust and sand
- Rubber mallet
- Circular saw with masonry blade (optional)
Then, Work the Plan
Now, you’re ready to get started. Remember that the patio has to be perfectly flat, so the first step is to grade it. Rake or dig the surface dirt to loosen it, digging down about four to seven inches – depending on the height of your paver stones – until the area is fairly level.
Then, lay down the landscape fabric to prevent weeds from popping through to the surface. Next, cover the landscape fabric with two or three inches of stone dust. Set aside some stone dust, so there will be enough to fill in the cracks between the pavers later. (Note: A yard of stone dust will generally be sufficient for an area of approximately 200 square feet. A yard is 1.5 tons, so you may want to have it delivered to your house.)
Before you lay the stones, you must ensure that the area is level. One way to do this involves the use of two-by-fours. Starting at one side of the patio area, push a two-by-four into the stone dust, with its wide side parallel to the perimeter, until it is level with the ground around your patio area. Then, set another two-by-four at the other side. Fill the space of your patio area with sand. Next, level the sand by running another two-by-four board over the other two, like going over train tracks. Gently pull the two-by-fours out and fill in the sand using a trowel to level it.
Now it’s time to set the stones in the sand. If you’re creating a circular pattern, be sure to start from the middle. Otherwise, you can start laying the pavers from one side and go to the other. In placing the stones, push them down slightly into the sand to set; then see if they’re level. Adjust the sand underneath by lifting the stone and setting it in place.
If you need to make cuts to paver stones at the edges, first measure the pattern you need to fill. Mark the paver accordingly, and cut into the paver with the circular saw. You’ll need to cut more than half-way through the paver; then hit it with a rubber mallet. It should break along the line you cut.
Once all the pavers are laid, spread stone dust over the patio with a push broom to fill the spaces between the pavers. Then, water it gently with a hose. Wet stone dust makes a kind of cement between the pavers to hold them securely in place. You may have to periodically spread more stone dust to freshen the patio as necessary.
Finally, Enjoy the Fruits of Your Plan
The only thing left to do now is to call your friends and family, sip a cool drink, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
A stone patio can last for many years with very little maintenance, and it may be well worth the effort of a couple of weekends of hard work.
Imagine how many years of enjoyment a well-constructed retirement portfolio can provide. Your financial professional can help you make a plan – as well as work the plan.
Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments.
This article was prepared by FMeX.
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