Jul 15, 2011

Patio Preparation

Before we even embarked on this giant patio project, we did some research.  We read DIY guides online, we talked to the folks at the building supply stores, and we watched how-to videos.  The most helpful guides we found were actually videos from Lowes  - How to Design Your Patio, How to Lay the Patio Foundation, and How to Install a Paver Patio.  We decided on a shape, measured out the space, calculated the square footage, decided on the materials and pattern, shopped around for the best price, then finally placed our order.

Once the materials arrived, our first step was to prepare the area for the patio.   We used stakes, mason line and these handy line levels to mark the size, shape and grade of the patio we’re about to dig out.   We put stakes at every corner of the patio, then strung the mason line between each stake.

To properly set up the mason lines at the right grade, the first thing we did was make sure all of the strings were level using the line levels that hang right on the line.  We used the height of the cement slab to determine our starting point for the tops of the pavers, knowing we had to dig 7 inches down from that point.  We marked “zero” on the closest stake and raised the line 8 inches to accommodate the slope towards the house (so that the level lines would be above ground in all places).   Then we adjusted the height of the string line to accommodate the grade away from the house - 1 inch every 4 feet.  The patio goes about 16 feet out from the house, so it has to drop 4 inches end to end.  We made all of those height adjustments to the knots at each post.

We also installed diagonal lines going across the patio areas to help us make sure we dig out everything to the right depth and keep the proper grade.  As we dig we’ll use a level and a yard stick to measure and make sure we’re preparing the area properly.

Now it's time to dig out 300 square feet in the sweltering July heat.  Yes we’re a little crazy. But we’re going to go slow, take our time and share our progress along the way.

And so it begins...

No comments:

Post a Comment