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How Do You Install a New Patio Design, and Is It Really a DIY Project?

July 27, 2020

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When you decide to install a new patio design, know that it's an excellent choice for affordable outdoor living space, perfect for relaxing and entertaining. Today’s patio design materials come in a wide range of styles and color tones, so you’re sure to find something that coordinates with your home’s exterior color, your patio furniture style, and even your beautiful landscape features.

Patio design materials cost anywhere from $5 to $50 per square foot, with most people paying between $8 and $10 per square foot. A standard 12x12 patio design averages around $1000 or just slightly more, depending on the materials chosen and needed prep work for your yard.

The cost of a new patio design will vary according to its size, your chosen paver stones, stamped concrete surfaces, and any add-ons such as decorative planter boxes, retainer or privacy walls, and built-in lighting. Despite its costs, a new patio is typically one of the most affordable ways to add outdoor living space to your yard, and most will last for years, if not decades before they need restoration or replacement.

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Before you start shopping for paver stones, however, you might note this quick step-by-step guide for patio installation and the cheapest way to build a patio. This will ensure you choose the right materials for your project and know when to call a patio contractor near you versus trying to DIY this project!

How Do You Install a New Patio Design?

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New patio installation isn’t always as easy and straightforward as it seems, even if it's just following the steps for how to build a small patio. Improper installation can result in damaged flooring, uneven surfaces, tripping hazards, and an unsightly design. Consider how to install a new patio using standard pavers, so you know if this is a job you can tackle or if it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

  • New patio installation starts with marking the area of installation with stakes along its edges. Many patio contractors will also use landscapers’ spray paint to paint the ground of your planned patio so you have an accurate feel for its length and width.
  • Once painted and marked, you might also set out your patio furniture and other items, as this allows you to adjust your design as needed! You might notice your planned footprint encroaching on landscaping features or that it doesn’t seem to offer enough needed space, so you can adjust it accordingly.
  • Your utility company is then typically called so they can mark underground pipes, wires, and other fixtures. This will tell you where you don’t want to dig and help you determine if you should move your planned installation space.
  • It’s helpful to check soil conditions before installing pavers; if the soil is overly moist, you might consider adding grading, so that excess moisture runs away from the patio rather than collecting underneath it.
  • Excavation ensures a solid, firm surface free of grass, weeds, and other debris. Exposed soil should then be tamped until it’s firm and covered with what is called landscape fabric; this helps stop weed growth and insect infestation beneath your paver stones.
  • It’s vital that you then install gravel or sand, or a combination of these base materials, over your planned patio space to provide a solid foundation for your paver stones. The more moist or soft the soil, the thicker that base. These materials should also be tamped into place so they’re firm and solid.
  • Aluminum edging keeps stones and your gravel and sand foundation in place. Edging also protects those stones if you should get too close with a lawnmower or weed trimmer.
  • To ensure straight patio paver lines, snap a chalk line between stakes set along the edge of your planned footprint.

Once all these steps for how to build a patio are complete, it’s time to set down your paver stones and tap them into place firmly with a rubber mallet. Check your progress as you go so you ensure straight lines and follow any planned pattern with your stones. To save some energy on this step, consider options for stamped concrete designs.

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To cut pavers for your patio edge or to fit around obstructions, simply measure the size of the paver needed and hold a thick chisel at that point. Tap the back of the chisel with a rubber mallet until it cuts through the paver.

Choosing Patio Design Materials

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If you’re like most homeowners, you don’t want your outdoor space to look like every other patio in the neighborhood! The good news is that there is a wealth of options for patio design materials, so you’re sure to find something that fits your style and budget while also incorporating existing landscape into your new outdoor living area. Note a few of the most popular options here, along with a few of their pros and cons.

  • Patio pavers are often the preferred choice for homeowners as they come in a wide variety of sizes and color tones and are typically cut to a uniform height and width, ensuring a level and even patio space. Pavers are cut from natural stone, so they easily withstand a variety of harsh weather conditions, while their smaller size and lighter weight make them easy to install.
  • Concrete is affordable and durable, and more versatile than many homeowners realize! Concrete can be painted or stained and then stamped to resemble individual stones. One drawback to concrete is that it’s best to leave its installation to a professional to ensure proper consistency and to avoid property damage.
  • Asphalt also provides an excellent base for a patio, and your pavement installer might offer more color shades and tones for asphalt aggregate than you realize! Asphalt’s bumpy texture provides lots of traction underfoot while also absorbing sound waves, creating a safe and comfortable outdoor space.
  • Gravel is also very affordable and not as difficult for a homeowner to install themselves. Gravel might cost anywhere from $3 to $10 per square foot, also making it very affordable. There are also a number of color tones and shades as well as pebble sizes available, so you’re sure to find something that fits your home’s overall style.
  • One drawback to gravel is that it does allow weeds to grow through if you neglect landscape fabric installation underneath those pebbles. It’s also vital that you provide edging of some sort to keep stones in place.
  • Another disadvantage of gravel is that it doesn’t provide the best base for patio furniture! Invest in wood furniture with thick leg bases for a gravel patio, and use caution about bringing out anything that might topple dangerously, such as candles or a fire feature.
  • Brick offers a natural look and texture that homeowners often appreciate and can soften the look of a modern home while also adding color to an otherwise dull yard. Another advantage to bricks is that they are easy to score and cut, using just a chisel and mallet.
  • Brick might fall in the mid-range for pricing, so look around for salvage yards that offer remnants or reclaimed brick if you’re on a budget.
  • Natural stone also offers a pleasing aesthetic but note that large stone pieces are expensive, heavy, and not usually uniform in appearance or size. If you have the budget for it and know that you must have natural stone, rely on a patio contractor for proper handling, cutting, and installation.

Quick Tips for Sprucing Up Your Patio Design

Setting out some bricks or pavers will provide a functional outdoor space, but rushing through your patio design project and trying to do a DIY patio won’t provide an eye-catching, welcoming spot you’ll love to use for relaxing and entertaining! To add some personality and spruce up your patio design, consider a paver pattern rather than setting them in straight lines next to each other.

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Note a few suggestions for brick or paver patterns. A herringbone pattern sets bricks in an L shape, and a 45-degree herringbone tilts those L shapes to a 45-degree angle. A basketweave pattern sets two bricks next to each other and then two bricks next to those running in the opposite direction. If these patterns seem a bit complicated, use a running bond pattern; place two bricks or pavers, so their ends meet right above the middle of a paver under it.

You might also spruce up your patio by setting pavers out in a shape other than a dull square; try a circle, two circles touching each other or a freeform around a nearby tree or landscaping feature. You might also add a path from the patio to a nearby landscaping feature for even more stunning visual appeal!

Related Questions

What is a dry land patio?

The term dry land patio refers to a patio installed without wet concrete or asphalt; rather, it will consist of stones, gravel, or pavers set over your property’s soil. A DIY dry land patio saves money on the cost of a patio contractor, but the work is cumbersome, and your soil will need proper prep, so consider leaving this in the hands of a pro as needed.

How long should a new patio design last?

Concrete, asphalt, and stone need consistent sealing to stay durable; with proper maintenance, concrete and asphalt should last at least a decade before needing replacing. Natural stone might last indefinitely! Ask your patio design contractor about needed maintenance for your chosen footing material and how long you should expect your beautiful new patio to last before needing repairs. And never attempt to do a DIY patio. You'll only end up disappointed. Call The Deck Builders of Kansas City for a FREE Quote.

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