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Old 03-14-2013, 01:55 PM   #1
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Building a paver patio, questions about process and design


Ok, so weather is starting to warm up and I need to get on this project of building a paver patio. The backyard is roughly 19' wide x 28' deep. I've done quite a bit of reading how to build the patio, but need some advice about some of the finer details and as always there are little details and things that get left out.

First off, design wise, I'm a little unsure of what would be best/what I should do with my backyard. As you can see in the picture, the patio will mostly be under the deck. I was thinking of using a pretty plain/boring 12x12 concrete paver for cost and simplicity sake. Does anyone have any specific recommendations on what kind? Are thicker really better? Also, I'm having a hard time deciding how I want to layout the patio, like should it stop where the stairs up to the deck are? I was thinking of installing synthetic grass beyond the deck stairs for the dog to use as his bathroom. I will draw up a diagram in google sketchup so it's more exact and add it to the thread later. I will bury the downspouts with 4" pvc and have the outlets towards the very rear of the yard by the fence before doing the patio.

Regarding the actual preparation of the base. The plan is to excavate and grade the ground so that there's room for 4" of 21A crusher run, 1" of sand, and whatever thickness paver I choose. I plan on this being 100% DIY, which is why I'd love any advice or pointers people have. I might have the help of one other friend here and there, but it'll be largely me.

The plan is to do the project in stages since it obviously can't be done in one weekend. The plan is to bury the downspouts one weekend, and the next week/weekend to dig out the area and lay down the gravel. Is there any harm in leaving the gravel uncompacted or even compacting it and not installing the sand and pavers for a couple weeks? I'm trying to be realistic about how much I can get done between a regular job and other things, where most of the work will be done on weekends. If I can spread out the project over a month that would help my sanity and my back I'm sure. Also, is a plate compactor really necessary vs. a hand compactor? If it is I'll get one, but the concern is that since the base is supposed to be compacted in 2" layers, it'll take compacting the base two separate times, which means I'd need to move fast between compacting the first layer, lay the second 2" layer, and compact the second layer if I'm renting the machine.

Also for edging, if I dig out an area for the compacted soil, I won't need edging around the compacted base correct (since it'll be bordered by dirt), only the finished height around the pavers to keep the sand in?

Anyone with any advice/suggestions/tips I'm all ears. I think logistically the hard part is going to be carting materials to the back since the back of the townhouse opens to a common area, and the road is at the front of the townhouse where the materials would be. Thanks!
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:12 PM   #2
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Building a paver patio, questions about process and design


I'm not an expert but i can say this. You need to regrade. Its all in the grade preparation. Somebody else will see this and hopefully get you pointed in the rite direction. Do not lay on this grade its not prep ed correctly.

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Old 03-14-2013, 02:32 PM   #3
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Building a paver patio, questions about process and design


Quote:
Originally Posted by 747 View Post
I'm not an expert but i can say this. You need to regrade. Its all in the grade preparation. Somebody else will see this and hopefully get you pointed in the rite direction. Do not lay on this grade its not prep ed correctly.
Thanks, I know I need to regrade (although there is a slight grade which promotes drainage right now) and dig out the area for a good compacted base. The thing I'm questioning is the little things and I'd love comment on a design. For example, the side 6x6 deck posts sit ~1' from the fence on each side. Should I just stop the paver patio a few inches short of these posts and just lay gravel like river rocks next to the pavers upto the fence so there isn't exposed dirt? Being under the deck I can't plant anything here as they'll get no light and just die, so I'd like to eliminate any exposed dirt in the yard.
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:43 PM   #4
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Building a paver patio, questions about process and design


Many years ago we built a brick patio in our back yard. We trimmed the edge with treated landscaping timbers, instead of the railroad ties that were so popular back then. We put down gravel and sand and paved with brick pavers. These were tumbled paving bricks about 9" x 4.25" that weighed 9 pounds each. When we were done that patio was rock solid and in the 13 years we lived there we did not do another thing to the patio except enjoy it.

Our next door neighbor, in contrast, edged his patio with ties, put down the gravel and sand and paved it with the thin paving tiles. The rest of the time he lived there he was continually taking up parts of his patio, filling back in with sand, and relaying the tiles.

My experience tells me that thicker is better. Maybe someone else has a different experience.
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:57 AM   #5
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Building a paver patio, questions about process and design


Thanks Kathy. It seems like the thicker pieces are a bit more stable, but on top of that I wouldn't be surprised if you did a better job prepping your base vs. your neighbor. I think that's really what it comes down to ultimately to have the most stable surface. Do you remember how thick your bricks were? Also did you crushed stone to fill between the pavers, like grout for tiles? It seems like using the right "grout" for pavers is crucial as well, as it'll support the stones laterally and help prevent shifting, whereas just using cheap sand won't do much.

Last edited by NewHomeDIYGuy; 03-16-2013 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:06 PM   #6
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Building a paver patio, questions about process and design


http://www.paveloc.com/Resources/PaverInstallGuide.pdf

This may answer some questions for you.

Lots of info using search

Polymuric sand between joints ..sweep into cracks , make sure none is left on top then sprinkle water ...it sets up like cement....no weeds.

http://img802.imageshack.us/img802/5195/new72009001.jpg
http://img443.imageshack.us/img443/6324/new72009003.jpg

Last edited by High Gear; 03-16-2013 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:47 AM   #7
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Building a paver patio, questions about process and design


Thanks High Gear for that document and pictures. I remember reading about polymeric sand but forgot the name at the moment.

I need to get on the planning phase and lay out a diagram so I know exactly what I'm going to do. I think I'm going to make the pavers stop short about 1 foot on each side of the yard by the fences (and since the deck posts will be in the way), and just lay down exposed gravel. I'm still trying to figure out how far I'm going to go back w/ the patio but we'll see.

Also, I did some research into raw materials, and buying the paver base in bulk is the way to go. I'll need roughly 5-6 cubic yards of crusher run/21a, and it'll run me <$500 delivered, whereas buying it in bags from the big box store would take 300 bags and cost >$1k. I'll just have to hire help for the day to wheelbarrow it to the back. Hopefully weather gets better around here and I can start burying the pvc downspouts next weekend. Will schedule 40 4" pvc be fine under a plate compactor or should I be a little cautious? I plan on burying the downspouts and exiting towards the rear of the yard, but on one side it'll be under the patio. Thanks for the help!
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:38 PM   #8
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Building a paver patio, questions about process and design


Run your base a good foot outside the perimeter of the patio for good support.

I used washed river rock for the last 1 to 2 inches to be equal to the bricks to make up the thickness of the bricks , its cheap as the quarry is only about 3 miles from here.
Road base gravel just a couple miles more .( lucky there also)

You need to find out what the recommended base thickness is for your area.
In my area is 6 inches to guarentee the work......I have heavy clay so I went closer to 8 inches of road base
Pvc is ok ( everyone of my downspouts goes underground to the perimeter of my yard..after that bone dry basement).
I have gardens and paths behind that now that I've used crushed granite and a purple quarts mix for the last inch above the gravel base there ( just 2" of base as it's just a walking path).
So if you want a different contrast go for it , lots cheaper if you have a company that sells decorative rock vs box store.( that I hauled myself...about 3 pickup loads ...I must be nuts).

Couldn't even guess how many trips from the front ditch to the backyard I made with an ATV cart altogether ..it's brutal work but it's worth it IMO.

I have no experience with the 12 inch bricks if thats your decision.

Maybe an expert can chime in here.

Last edited by High Gear; 03-18-2013 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:53 PM   #9
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Building a paver patio, questions about process and design


Run your base a good foot outside the perimeter of the patio for good support.

I used washed river rock for the last 1 to 2 inches to be equal to the bricks to make up the thickness of the bricks , its cheap as the quarry is only about 3 miles from here.
Road base gravel just a couple miles more .( lucky there also)

You need to find out what the recommended base thickness is for your area.
In my area is 6 inches to guarentee the work......I have heavy clay so I went closer to 8 inches of road base
Pvc is ok
I have gardens and paths behind that now that I've used crushed granite and a purple quarts mix for the last inch above the gravel base there ( just 2" of base as it's just a walking path).
So if you want a different contrast go for it , lots cheaper if you have a company that sells decorative rock vs box store.( that I hauled myself...about 3 pickup loads ...I must be nuts).

Couldn't even guess how many trips from the front ditch to the backyard I made with an ATV cart altogether ..it's brutal work but it's worth it IMO.

I have no experience with the 12 inch bricks if thats your decision.

Maybe an expert can chime in here.
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:25 PM   #10
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Building a paver patio, questions about process and design


FWIW, I've decided on doing the patio just past the 6x6 deck posts which puts the depth at about 16' deep. Then the rest (under the stairs and upto the fence) I'm going to do gravel (not sure which type exactly, probably river rocks). I'll use my old patio (flagstone) and create walkways from the patio to the stairs for the deck and to the back gate. I'm nixing the plan of synthetic grass simply because I'm not sure how maintenance free it'll be, and the dog will do fine doing its business on gravel. I'm going to dig out the base 5"s for the patio and 3"s for the gravel area. I'm going to order 6 cubic yards of 21a gravel for the base. 4" deep for the patio and 2" deep for the gravel. It's going to cost ~$350 delivered. I'm going back and forth on renting a plate compactor, we'll see. Pavers haven't been chosen yet but I'll get a ~2.25" thick paver which seems pretty "standard." Just figured I'd give an update how the project is going. Got some stakes, line and line levels for grading out the back. Hopefully get a chance to work this weekend but being easter weekend and other obligations I might not have the time.

For the gutter drainage I'm going to see if I can have it exit to open air rather than digging a trench and using a pop up drain, but I think I'll tackle that after grading the backyard. 4" 10' sections of pvc are ~$20 a piece and I'll need 5. I'll get 3"x4"->4" pvc gutter adapters and run a Y on each side so I can run a snake for a cleanout should they clog. The burying of the downspouts should be probably $150-200 total.

Now I just need to find the time to work on it. Nice thing about the soft/wet soil is it's not too hard to dig. I should be able to grade the back in a day for sure.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:13 PM   #11
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Building a paver patio, questions about process and design


First, are you allowed to bury drainage from the downspouts where you are. Illegal in most places in this State.

You definitely have some grading work ahead of you and/or hate to break the bad news but possibly some retaining on the low side of a paver patio. If you change grade and drainage you may annoy your neighbors, to put it mildly.

And is a poured slab totally out of your thinking? Seems like a nice colored, pattern stamped, then concrete stained surface would be cheaper for you and not present all of the challenges you face? No reason pavers like you have in mind will not work but the base, retaining it, and compacting it is going to cost you more than a gorgeous artisan concrete job. Concrete is amazing material and does not have to look boring grey and butt ugly. A solid slab should not heave and buckle like individual placed pavers will.



Last edited by user1007; 03-29-2013 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:25 AM   #12
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Building a paver patio, questions about process and design


We'll see. I don't think I'll need any sort of retaining wall, the grade is very slight. Burying downspouts isn't illegal here, plenty of people do it, so not a concern. Regarding pissing off my neighbors, def not a concern, as one has a fully patiod back as well. I'm not going to be doing any (real) amount of regrading, just making it flat. I thought about stamped concrete, but it's not super DIY friendly. Also, slabs have the problem of cracking over time, which is more unsightly imo, and you can't just pull them up and fix it. As with anything, prep work is the most important thing, and as long as it's done right/well, I'm not too worried about the patio heaving. Thanks.

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