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Old 05-25-2017, 02:44 PM   #1
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Small semi-raised patio

I'm looking for any suggestions/confirmation of my thoughts about a small "semi" raised patio.
Sorry that this is long!

The house is in the Oakland California hills so we don't have frost, etc. The soil is mainly clay. The home built in the 1940s on a hillside. The hillside is being held up with many piers, large trees, and bushes. Before we moved here a new concrete staircase was added down the one side of the house. It's -long-
almost 4 stories worth of steps. At the very bottom of the staircase there's really not much room but I've been "asked" to build a very small patio (8x10) so that its usable and looks a bit nicer.

Presently there is an approx. 3x5 ft concrete landing from the footing for the staircase. There are also at least 3 cement fittings from a previous deck that I've found about 1 inch below the dirt- I may, of course, come across more when I dig. The ground slopes down away from the stair case ~1 inch every 5 ft (so the present landing will be the highpoint).

My small deck suggestion was already turned down by the lady of the house... so a small patio it shall be.

In order to have a flat patio I'll need to raise the far end a few inches to make it level with the concrete pad.
It's only going to be an 80 sqft patio & ~15 sqft of that is on top of a cement pad and I'd really rather not make this more complicated than necessary.

Can I raise the lower end by just make a really, really short retaining wall with cinderblocks partially sunk into the ground? The blocks would end up being ~5-6 inches below ground and ~2-3 inches above ground.

It occurs to me if I have to already dig a trench & fill it with gravel, etc. to build a retaining wall is there any reason why I shouldn't make it a bit taller (~4 inches above ground) so that I don't have to dig out so much clay soil? I'd obviously still have to remove the little bit of top soil that's there....

Also I was wondering if anybody can give advice on the base depth for a location that doesn't have a freeze/thaw cycle. I come from Ontario and when I made a patio there it was recommended for me to use 5in of compacted base and 1.5in of bedding sand. Can I get away with less here since there isn't a freeze/thaw cycle? Can I get away with 2-3in of base plus 1in of sand?

Any thoughts/suggestions for me?

(BTW, I can get the bricks, gravel, dirt, whatever else down the hillside using a ramp/winch system so that will not be an issue).
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Old 05-25-2017, 04:33 PM   #2
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Re: Small semi-raised patio

Ayuh,.... Gonna need Pictures,...
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