April 29, 2013

Patio Part 5: Compacting Base Rock, Leveling Sand and Placing Pavers

It finally started to get fun! Or at least started to look like a patio. Over the past week, we rented our trusty friend the plate compactor (for the 3rd time! could have almost bought one by now!) and compacted/leveled out the 3 inches of base rock. That went a lot faster/easier than compacting the soil below it. No idea why, less dust to fly around? (Shout out to Brian here, thanks Brian!)

Then we dumped in the 1 inch of sand that is the base for the pavers. Using two 1" pipes nestled into the sand (accounting for 2% drainage slope) we used "screed guides" to level the sand (I've always wanted to screed!) After that task, it was time to get those pavers down and those stick arms beefed up! As you can see below, Mattie enjoyed the beach-like atmosphere, and was no help at all.

Of all the patterns available, of course we had to pick the most complicated one. Having never done this before, we wanted to keep things challenging. Well, not really - it just seemed like the best pattern that would allow for a natural, non-O.C.D. sort of look when complete. I stared at the schematic of the pattern on the website for awhile. Didn't get it. Squinted at it.. cursed at it. Then finally gave up trying and did something else for awhile.

That must have been the key, because I came back to it with a sort of magic-eye approach about 30 minutes later and somehow the rows made sense. We managed to get the pavers down almost 100% correctly. I see a mistake we made in the pattern, but since the the arrangement is pretty balanced, we're going to live with it. Also, I was getting to the point where I couldn't stand up any more. Placing the pavers was awesome and satisfying! (but crampy, muscle-soreness inducing work).

Next steps are: more compaction, sand in the cracks, rinsing, and toasting to completion! (and oh - cleaning up the construction site that is now our backyard..)

Also: Anyone who completes this project in a 2-day weekend (as the D.I.Y. youtube videos state) either: 1) owns a sod cutter and plate compactor and really knows what they're doing, or 2) is on meth.


  1. Anyone who completes this project in a 2-day weekend (as the D.I.Y. youtube videos state) either: 1) owns a sod cutter and plate compactor...

    Or a Tardis.

    Great job ladies. Are you going to have a party with gifts to give away to anyone who can see the break in the pattern?

  2. Oh, good idea! I'm afraid that might mean a lot of party favors to give away..

  3. BTW, having never watched Doctor Who, I had to look that up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TARDIS

  4. The patio is looking amazing!! You are an inspiration!!