How to Build Patio

patio garden

Building your own patio can be a great way to save some money instead of hiring someone to do it. If you plan properly, you should be able to build your patio on a weekend, or even one day, depending on the size, but be prepared for some good, hard work!

Be Prepared

Before you get started, you need to make a few decisions: where your patio is going to be, how big it’s going to be, its shape, and, finally, what you want to build your patio from. There are many different types of material you can choose for your patio – paving stones, concrete pavers, bricks, you can even make your own paving stones with do-it-yourself kits, so choices are endless.

Once you have decided on the size, shape, material, etc., it’s time to make sure you have everything you need. The size of your patio will determine how many stones you need and how much sand to buy. Measure carefully and always order at least 10% more to cover any breakages.

Things You Need

  • Paving stones / Bricks / Concrete pavers (whichever you choose)
  • Sand (Paving sand is the best)
  • Shovel (a square one is ideal)
  • Rake (should have steel tines, not plastic)
  • Wood stakes
  • Rope or twine
  • Measuring tape
  • Rubber mallet
  • 1 6′ long 2×4 board
  • 1 1′ long 2×4 board
  • 4×4 square post
  • Level
  • Broom
  • Gloves
  • Block saw (optional – only necessary if you have to cut stones)

Building Your Patio

build patio diy

For ease of explanation, I have used paving stone throughout, but it doesn’t matter what you are paving with, the steps are basically the same:

  1. Using the measuring tape, wooden stakes, and rope, measure out and outline your patio in the area you want it. Rectangle and square patios are always easiest, so you may want to start with one this shape if this is your first time. Also, if your patio is going to be directly beside your house, ensure that it declines away from your house for drainage – about 1 inch for every 8 feet.
  2. Use a shovel to remove any grass or higher areas where you want to lay your patio. This is where a square shovel is helpful as it will make neat, straight lines. Dig down at least 4 inches to ensure the area is deep enough for the sand and paving stones. Confirm your measurements by laying paving stones the length and width of the area you have cleared. Once you have the size and shape right, remove them. Use the 6′ 2×4 to check the decline away from your house once you have cleared the area.
  3. Rake the ground as smooth as possible and then tamp it down using the 4×4 post before pouring it on the sand.
  4. Spread the sand over your cleared patio area. You should have at least 2 inches across the entire area so that it is easier to level stones later. Do NOT use all your sand!
  5. Once you have the sand poured out, rake it and tamp it down with the post. Smooth the sand using the 1′ 2×4 board. You are finally ready to lay your first paving stone!
  6. If you are building your patio beside your house or a structure (a fence for example), lay your first patio against it. Use the level to make sure it is level and the right height. Add or remove sand if necessary and smooth the sand again.
  7. Add your second paving stone beside the first and knock it into place with the rubber mallet. Check its height and level compared to the first stone and add or remove sand as necessary. Continue in this manner, laying stones next to each other, using the previous one as a guide for position, height, and level.
  8. As your rows increase, use the 6′ 2×4 to periodically check that the patio is level and if it is beside your house, that it is running on a decline away from the house.
  9. When all your stones are in place and level, pour the rest of the sand over the top of the patio. Use a broom to sweep all of the sand down between the paving stones to fill any spaces. Make sure the sand is compact between the paving stones. Periodically, you may have to add sand as it can be washed away.

Lastly, and most importantly, put out your patio furniture and bar-be-que and enjoy your new patio!

Note: If you are making a shaped patio, you may have to cut some of the stones so they fit into the shape. Also, if you are using oddly shaped stones, you may have to jig the edges of your patio area. Finally, if you are being a bit more creative and creating a patio out of bricks with a design, where you start your patio can vary. In some designs, you can start from the edge as outlined here, but if you are working on a circular design, it is better to start from the middle and work your way outwards.

Patio Roofs

We will talk about the patio roof in this specific section. This is because the roof is a really crucial part of the patio you are going to build.

patio roof

An open garden, or a patio, offers you some great sunbathing options but a lack of patio roof makes it prone to windstorms, snow, and rains. Hence, more and more people today prefer to cover up portions or the entire stretch of their patio with different patio roof plans. There is no dearth of variety when you search in the market and you can even get the designs and patterns customized to cater to your patio’s needs. Patio roofing can be done using a variety of materials. Some popular choices that you can opt for are:

Aluminum

One of the most loved patio roof covers, an aluminum covering is sturdy, resistant to rust, and also has overlapping corrugated panels that make it waterproof and hence ensure minimal damage during the rainy season. You can go for different options in the patterns available and can get your choice of color to complement the entire look for your patio.

Plastic Roofing

Another wonderful option to cover your patio is by adding a translucent plastic sheet on top of it. These sheets can be plain (green colored) or you can even opt for designer sheets that come in multifarious floral and geometrical patterns. The best part about these plastic roofs is their cost-effectiveness. These are the cheapest of all materials and are waterproof too. If you prefer a bit of sunshine on your patio roof, a plastic roof is the best choice as it allows sunlight to pervade through and lends a cozy feel to the patio.

Pergola
Pergola roofs are constructed out of hardwood of superior quality and are quite tough. They can withstand strong winds and hail storms. However, since these have fitted wood planks arranged with few gaps between them, they cannot protect your patio from rain. Direct exposure to sunlight can be avoided using a pergola roof as it only allows bits of sunlight to enter the patio from the built-in gaps.

Polycarbonate
This type of patio roof looks quite stylish and appealing as they appear to be made of glass, however, the material used here is Plexiglas, which is cheaper as compared to fragile glass. Either polycarbonate can be entirely transparent or one can opt for its tinted version depending upon preference. The more tinted this glass is, the lesser will be the intrusion of sunlight. These create a greenhouse-like effect in your patio and add some visual delight to it as well. However, the glass-based roofs are the least sturdy and can be damaged by hailstorms or heavy rainfalls, hence these are suitable for areas with lesser rains only.

Custom made Patio roofs
Customized patio roofing is an extremely popular choice given its high strength and the beauty it adds to the patio. These can be built for different types of patios and can be customized using wood or tiles. The best part about a custom roof is that you can get it designed in the same color and pattern as the rest of the house and yet make it look different with some added texture or design. For those who are looking for a permanent roof, a customized roof constructed to perfection serves the purpose well.

pergola patio roof

The choices and options for roofing are unlimited, yet one has to gauge their specific needs and requirements in order to opt for the right kind of patio roof. Besides the type of material, you should also consider the pricing and the quality of the material that is being used. Since it involves a good deal of money, ensure that you get references about the best brands in the market and only then settle for one.

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