Thursday, May 10, 2012

How to build a patio {part 4}: Laying pavers

I have noticed a lot of you stopping by from Pinterest. Thanks for looking!

We will be doing many more patio and landscaping projects this Spring 2013. Please sign up to follow our blog by email or Google Friends Circle on the right hand side if you scroll down.  Or click on the button below to follow via Bloglovin'.

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To catch you up to speed on our project:
{How to build a patio}
{How to trench a downspout}
{How to build a patio: part 2}
{How to build a pergola}
{How to build a patio: part 3}

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We are done with the patio!  Well technically we are only done LAYING the patio. We still have to bring in dirt and landscaping (stay tuned for that!).

We haven't added up the cost of patio project. However, we have estimated, that doing this project ourselves, saved us around $10,000 or more.  Yes, I said $10,000 with five zeros.

Some of the phrases that come to mind with this project are: "back-breaking labor," and "blood, sweat and tears."

Although, we are so excited to have our patio done, it took a lot of hard labor to get it completed.  After working on it every evening or weekend (it took us about 4 full weeks), we would sit in bed and hope and hope and hope that somehow in the morning it would magically be completed. Wishful thinking, huh?

Did I mention that this was very hard labor?  I can't describe to you how hard this project was, physically. We had 15 pallets of stone for the pergola columns, seat wall stone, patio stone pavers and stone boarder pavers. Each stone weighed anywhere from 5lbs to 50lbs. It was very hard work, words can't even describe it. I already mentioned that didn't I?

Supplies used:
No-dig landscape and paver edging kit
Circular saw
Diamond blade
Polymetric sand (grey)

Stone used:
Belgard Brittany Beige Mega Arbel (patio stone pavers)
Urbana in Ashbury Haze (boarder pavers)
Highland Stone in Brownstone (seat wall, pergola columns and seat wall caps)

In order to lay the patio stone pavers our first step was to put sand over the gravel. We put about 1 inch of sand on the gravel. The kids had a blast playing in the sand pile.

Josh used a tamper (that we rented) to level the sand and get it in there flat and tight.

Then we did the same thing we did with the gravel and used a 2x4 to level out the sand by scraping the sand.  Then, using a level we would make sure it was at the correct grade we wanted.

After the sand was ready and level we used no-dig landscape and paver edging to hold in all of the pavers we were about to lay.

We started laying the patio stone pavers first.  It took us a while to figure out the pattern of the stones. In the photo below you can see the pattern we used.  It was kind of like a puzzle. Every time I would pick up a patio stone paver and bring it to where it should be set, I would forget the pattern and get so mad, as I'm standing there trying to figure it out while holding a 50lb stone. UGH!

Patio stone paver pattern
And look how many patio stone pavers there are! My arms are definitely toned after this project.

Josh measuring and marking stone paver to cut it.

We decided to add edging or boarder pavers to have a more completed look for the entire patio.  Although, this "completed" look, looks AMAZING, it took a LOT of time to cut each and every patio stone paver. Josh is so awesome, he did all the cutting and it took about four days to edge the whole patio.

We laid the patio stone pavers first, then measured 8 inches from the no-dig landscape and paver edging where to cut.  (The boarder pavers were 8 inches that is where we got that measurement from).

Laying the board pavers in was easy! (once the patio stone pavers were cut, cutting was the hard part)

Using a circular saw to cut patio stone pavers.

He used a circular saw, chisel and a hammer to cut the stone pavers.

Chisel tool to break stone.

Josh did say that if we told a contractor that we built our entire patio only using a circular saw, they would laugh at us. So, if you are building a patio, I would strongly recommend renting a larger saw.

When all of the patio stone pavers were in the "square/straight" areas we moved on to the circle fire pit. To edge and create the fire pit we measured 7 ft from one of the pergola posts, then put a metal stake in the ground.  We took a piece of 7 ft. string and tied it to the metal stake and drew a circle using spray paint. Then we put the no-dig landscape and paver edging and started laying the patio stone pavers.

Laying the fire pit stone.

We laid the fire pit first. We used the same stone as our stone wall.  The stone wall comes with a large, medium and small stone.  We used all of the sizes for our seat wall {here} but to make a smaller circle for the fire pit we could only use the smalls and mediums in a small, small, medium, small, small pattern.

In order to cut the patio stone pavers around the fire pit or in a circular cut, we had to cut the patio stone pavers from each side, creating an angle since you can't cut a circle with a circular saw. Why do they call it a circular saw anyway? Ha!

Fire pit pattern.

We decided to have the boarder pavers go all the way around the fire pit.  It breaks up the space a little more don't you think?

We are DONE laying the patio stone pavers and the boarder pavers.  But, we're still not completely DONE. Whaa?

After all of the patio stone pavers and boarder pavers are dry, we need to fill the crevices with ploymetric sand. This is a sand that sets and is what I would call similar to grout in your floor tile.

To put the sand on we just poured out the bag into the crevices. You HAVE to  make sure that your stone is dry!

Then brushed it with a large broom.

After brushing it with the broom we used a gas blower to get all the sand off the top of the stones, then sprayed the sand with water on it so it would set.

We then used the gas blower again to make sure there were no pools of water and sand on the patio stone pavers.

We let it set overnight and voila! We are DONE laying these extremely heavy stones. 

Here is a before photo below.

 Now, here is the after photo below.

 All the hard work was so worth it, but because of our dedicated time to this project, our house is falling apart!  Yikes, time to do a deep cleaning, but I think I'd rather celebrate instead. I think it's time to make a fire and have a party! It's Mother's Day this weekend and I can assure you that we will be making a fire and grillin' s'mores. YUM!

We still have a mess that we need to clean up.  I can't wait to show you all pictures of our patio once the dirt and landscaping is in.  Stay tuned!

Are you building a patio or deck this spring/summer?



  1. We love your patio and the details that you share..We are getting ready to start ours as soon as the weather permits here in lovely TN!!!
    Thanks again for sharing.

  2. Wow that looks beautiful!! You did a fantastic job and I'm so inspired to start on ours!!:) enjoy and happy Mother's Day!

  3. This was very helpful and looks great! The cherry on top is the Iowa State sweatshirt in the one picture! :)

  4. WOW! You guys did a great job! We got a ridiculous quote for a paver patio and I'm inspired to try to get my hubby on board so we can do this on our own! I'm going to look up the no dig kit you mentioned as I've never heard of it! Glad I stumbled upon this from Pinterest!

  5. This is amazing, I've never seen bricks like that. Must have been really hard to lay. How is it holding up so far?

  6. Hey you mentioned some great tips for stone patio circles paving. Yes it will very helpful for me. Thanks!

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