While a nicely maintained lawn is always a valuable feature in any garden space, one thing it is far from ideal for is providing the proper surface for barbecuing, or installing a fire pit or chimenea. For this, you will need a patio; however, they don't always come cheap. If your heart is set on a patio but your budget won't stretch to bringing in a professional, the following guide to designing and building a simple patio for yourself might just do the trick. So, let's get started!
Step 1 Choose the shape for your patio and mark out the space to start work. As a first time project, you should try to keep things simple: measure out a square or rectangle to the desired size and cordon off the area with string around the perimeter, tied to four upright wooden posts. When the length of the diagonals is even, you have a properly measured rectangle or square.
Step 2 Now it's time to dig out and level the patio area. More labour-intense and skilled patio installation requires digging, filling and levelling a six-inch pit with gravel and sand. For ease of installation and minimising the need for materials, opt instead for interlocking paver base panels which will eliminate the need for gravel. Dig an even pit two inches deep and tightly compact the surface of the dirt with a tamping tool.
Step 3 Lay a weed blocking fabric over the area that you have now excavated. Ensure that the fabric overlaps between strips: 8–10 centimetres is a good standard to maintain.
Step 4 Spread a layer of sand approximately half an inch thick over the weed blocking fabric. Run one side of a straight wooden board over the entire surface, eliminating any high points and leaving an even finish across the future patio area. Simply lay your paver base panels over the top, ensuring that they interlock securely, and you are now ready to install your paving stones.
Step 5 Choose and install your pavers. For an elaborate look which is still easy to install, consider purchasing stamped pavers. Stamped pavers can be found in a vast array of styles mimicking ornate stonework, but are as easily installed as a simple square paving stone. Lay your stones directly over the base panels until the entire area is covered before hammering in ten-inch landscape spikes tightly around the perimeter of the stones to keep them in place. Fill any visible gaps between your pavers with sand and your patio is complete. Enjoy!