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Old 03-21-2016, 08:58 AM   #1
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Paver Walkway and Patio - 550 Sq. Ft.


This is just the next step in a long road to improving the outdoor spaces around our house. It's been a big project, with a lot of logistics and thought required to get it going. This is not our first hardscaping project, as we previously built a large retaining wall and paver walkway, so luckily I'm pretty familiar with the tools and processes . . . this is just a larger scale.

Step one was to get the design figured out. I laid everything out in CAD because it makes visualizing things, and estimating materials way easier. The green blocks are a small extension to the existing retaining wall to help with some grade changes. The light grey will all be pavers, the dark grey border is the required excavation and compacted gravel base. We will be expanding the back stoop as part of the process.



Excavation lines marked out, and wall extension built (no caps on it yet). Should have waited to build the wall extension, both the forklift for paver delivery and the excavator ran over it . . . had to level two blocks out afterwards. I had the pavers delivered before we did the excavation so I could get half of them on the far edge of the patio, so make laying them faster/easier.

In these pictures you can see an existing catch basin near the center of the wall curve. These drain water from the "sunken" patio area to the curb via 4" schedule 40 PVC pipes.

Temporary berm made from some bags of soil I had laying around to keep as much water as possible out of the area in the event of a heavy rain. The little "grill patio" will be replaced with the same pavers as everything else as part of the project.

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Old 03-21-2016, 09:04 AM   #2
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Re: Paver Walkway and Patio - 550 Sq. Ft.


Excavation day. I hired this out. This was incredibly hard, compacted clay . . . about 10 yards worth. It would have taken me about 36 hours of digging, and about 2 years off my life. Then I'd still have a mountain of dirt to deal with. The area was dug out to 6-7" and loaded directly into a dump trailer. The operator was great, and super careful around the buried drainage lines and wall. Took 3 full dump trailer loads of dirt out. Would have only been about 2.5 hours of digging if the trailer didn't fill up so fast!

You can see that the top of the catch basin is now ~5-6" about the grade, so if we get a big rain . . . it won't do anything. So we are sort of racing the rain a bit to start filling this hole back in!

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Old 03-21-2016, 09:09 AM   #3
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Re: Paver Walkway and Patio - 550 Sq. Ft.


The day after the excavation I filled up about 3 or 4 wheelbarrows worth of the crumbly dirt left in the hole, and fine tuned the edges with a shovel. I left the existing compacted gravel base for the grill area . . . no sense in removing it to replace it with the same thing.

2 passes in alternating directions with a plate compactor, with some additional trips near the drain lines and corners for good measure.
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Old 03-21-2016, 09:15 AM   #4
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Re: Paver Walkway and Patio - 550 Sq. Ft.


With the soil compacted we could start laying out the geotextile fabric. Glad I went with the 6' wide rolls . . . MUCH faster and easier to lay. I like to leave a good bit of excess up the sidewalls, with gets trimmed back once the gravel base is in. Not quite finished in these pictures, but it's all set now.

At least at this point if we get a heavy rain I use a broom and leaf blower to move most of the water to the low point near the drain and pump it out. I test fit the 6" tall riser to the catch basin. This will get cut down to about 1-1.5" tall since I don't need it that tall to match the height of the finished patio.

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Old 03-24-2016, 09:18 AM   #5
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Re: Paver Walkway and Patio - 550 Sq. Ft.


Small mountain of crusher run delivered for base layer. This is about 8 yards or 11 tons. I added about an extra 20% to my calculated numbers, because I always seem to be a little short and it really slows things down. I'd rather have too much than too little.


This is about 4 hours after the pile was delivered, working by myself. At this point there is about a 2" layer spread everywhere.



The following day I rented a compactor and made a pass over the first layer of gravel. Then I started building up the second layer, following string lines and pins to get the grades set. I spent a LONG time trying to eliminate small undulations and dips/peaks. Still a little fine tweaking to do here and there, but overall just about what I was hoping for.



Looks like I'll have about 20% left over. Should have just trusted the math. Oh well.
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Old 03-28-2016, 08:21 AM   #6
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Re: Paver Walkway and Patio - 550 Sq. Ft.


First day of laying pavers. This is real gratifying, as it goes pretty fast with the slab-scale pavers. We churned through most of the first two pallets, getting about 250 square feet down (there is more under the tarps). The pavers are a 3-piece set, and the pattern is random, just trying to keep the bond lines from getting longer than 4 or 5 feet. They color really pops when they are wet . . . may have to add a "wet look" sealer once everything is done. I suspect laying pavers will slow way down once I start having to cut them.

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