April 6, 2015

Doing Paver Patio yourself: Is it a good idea?

paver patio landscapingMany people love to save money and have the feeling of accomplishment that comes from a Do-It-Yourself projects. However, sometimes people bite off more than they can chew and end up wasting money and time, and worse, injuring themselves and causing severe damage. If you are looking for how to build a paver patio and think you’re up to the task, please take a few minutes and understand some of the typical complications that most novice patio installers encounter. These are just a few of the common ways people which includes less-experienced landscape contractors can really mess-up a paver patio installation.

Don’t let your money go down the drain:  Patios should slope away from structures slightly so that surface water can run away from them. If you don’t, you could end up with a wet basement or house from a bad patio install. But drainage doesn’t just stop there. Downspouts and sump pumps also need to be accounted for. Make sure that these outlets properly steer all that water away from the patio. Surrounding grades from landscaping beds and lawns can also be an issue. A landscaping company should address all of these factors when building a paver patio or other landscaping. Be sure to think big picture. Plus, your local municipality may have very specific regulations about how your patio will affect storm water management on your property. This compliance ultimately falls on the property owner and it is your responsibility to get the correct permits pulled and regulations followed.

A good base:  Paver patios should be installed atop 6″-12″ of gravel. This means many projects require removing a lot of fill. It’s not uncommon for lots of soil to be removed to make way for this base. After the soil is removed, the new stone base should be properly sloped and then a tamping machine used to compact the stone. Don’t be tempted to use a hand-held tamper or you’ll most likely get undesired settling at places later. After that, a small layer of sand is added and pavers installed on top, with polymeric sand swept into the joints to lock them together.

It’s downhill from here:  Slopes can complicate the installation of a patio. You will to need to install similar materials for stairs or retaining walls. However, if the edges of your patio are high, you may want to add seat walls for safety as well. If there are walls that end up being over 4 feet should have a landscape architect or a civil engineer to create a plan for. The fill behind walls will collect moisture as it drains between pavers. The correct drainage pipes also must be installed to move the water out so it doesn’t seep through the walls and cause them to lean over time.

Don’t be cheap:  Don’t assume that whatever materials you can get at your local home and garden box store or hardware store are of the highest quality. If they are much cheaper than leading materials, it’s because they aren’t as good. Using an inferior pavers, blocks, or bricks may leave you with an ugly, easily damaged patio later. Do your homework and make sure you’re getting quality materials.

If you’re still up to the task, I wish you the best of luck. If, however, you’re realizing it may be better to find a local landscaping company to design and install patios, walls, or walkways, there many contractors that can help. Please don’t hesitate to contact one.