Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Updating with Concrete Patio Stones

A few weeks ago during a routine trip to Lowe's the hubs made a beeline for the hard-scaping section when I was picking out flowers.  Sometimes it's rather dangerous to head into any home improvement store because what begins as "just a few things" quickly escalates into a new project.  It turns out the hubs thought we could update our rather narrow driveway and the weird walkway in our side yard for a few hundred bucks. 

I thought he was kidding, but sure enough he was spot on! 

Now, if only I wish he didn't pick the hottest weekend of the year to tackle a project that entailed moving nearly 2,000 pounds of stone. 

Narrow drive before and narrow driveway with stone path after. 

Weird side yard area before.  It looks like there used to be some type of stone walkway here connecting our carport to the backyard, but it was missing more than it had which meant it wasn't doing much for either of us.

Tools: shovel, broom, 10x10 inch tamper, rubber mallet, level

Materials: 50 of these Allen + Roth concrete patio stones from Lowe's 

Total Cost: $250

Step 1:  Purchase your materials/ get them to your house. I know that seems rather basic, but the hubs and I wanted to pick out the patio stones in case any were cracked at the store.  That mean we had to take two trips back and forth with both of our cars because we didn't want to over burden anyone's car. Thank goodness we live ridiculously close to a Lowe's.  This also meant that the hubs and I got serious side-eye looks from people when we were pushing thousand pound blocks of stone through the store.  

Dear old man who refused to step-aside in the aisle - thanks! Starting and stopping that car easily burned an extra 100 calories! 

Step 2: Dig out your trench/path for the stones.  We had to dig for our driveway because we wanted to the patio stones to be somewhat flush with our driveway.  For the side walkway we just laid the stones on the ground because we plan on building up the area.

I'm of the mindset it's easier to start smaller than you think you need and then dig bigger if needed. I've also got to give the hubs a round of applause because once we put one stone down as a reference point for sizing on the driveway he dug a small trench that was spot on. Man is a machine when it comes to dimensions!

Step 3:  Use a tamper and go crazy! Be careful because if that thing bounces off of the ground and smacks your klutzy-self leg it's going to hurt. 

A very nice neighbor saw us outside and brought over his wagon to make our job even easier! Score! 

Step 4: Lay some stones! Don't worry about being level at first, just get the general fit down. The hubs thought I was crazy because I didn't want too many of the seams to match up on the stones.  When everything was done and final he commented that I was right (victory is mine!). 

Step 5: Remove stones 1 to 2 at a time and continue to level them either packing in more dirt or smashing things down more with the tamper. We used a level here to make sure we were somewhat even with our driveway. 

Step 6: Surround the stones with dirt or some type of locking sand. We didn't purchase locking sand because our yard is very sandy. If we find our sand isn't cutting it then we'll purchase locking sand and brush that over the stones.  I brushed dry sand over the stones and made sure to get as much of the sand packed down into the crevices as possible.  The hubs then took a hose and lightly sprayed the entire area to pack the sand down even more and I went back over everything again with the broom. 

Step 7: Enjoy your new walkway! 

Side walkway area still needs work, but this is much better than the mud pit it used to be! 

We only broke 1 stone during the entire project, which is pretty amazing. Again, I'm so thankful to be married to an engineer because the hubs did all of his calculations and we had the exact number of stones we needed and didn't have to run out and get more.  

I didn't take a picture of every step because there came a point where I was absolutely disgusting and I didn't want to trek back inside to retrieve my camera or even touch it! 

I know this is the most ground-breaking (total pun) update to our house, but it's subtle and we love it. We're actually using these patio stones as a test run to see how they hold up in our sandy yard.  If they survive a few years, then the goal is to redo our backyard, tear down our back deck, utilize patio stones. If we don't have to bring in a ton of additional base sand that will really make this a more cost-reasonable approach. 

1 comment:

  1. The new walkway is a nice touch to the plain walkway/driveway before. There's a distinction now, at the very least. And though it wouldn't really matter as you can walk on either side (even on the center!), looking at it now seems more satisfying. :)