We all know that having a patio in the garden is a great way to not only make the space a little more functional, but also stylish. Any gardener will tell you that having a designated area for enjoying the fruits of your labour is a great idea, but do you know where to begin, in terms of planning a patio project? If you want a stunning patio, but haven't sat down and really thought about how you could create one, this is the article for you, as we're going to walk you through the whole process. Let's get started!
Hardscaping refers to anything non-organic in your garden, so we are talking about walls, paving, paths, decking and everything else that is a solid structure. In terms of patios, you need to hardscape, to ensure a level surface and a decent lifespan for your installation.
This is a personal question that only you can answer! Do you feel capable of taking on a garden project? Do you enjoy DIY? If the answer is yes to either or both of these questions, then you should be able to plan and execute a wonderful patio, without the help of a professional, which can get costly.
If you do decide to go it alone, always be mindful of your existing garden, in terms of style, size and the views that it enjoys. Your patio should complement and add to these aspects, so while you might want a 16 foot-long decked area, if you only have a small garden, you need to think proportionally.
Grab a pad of paper and draw yourself a rudimentary sketch of how you'd like your finished patio to look. You don't need a degree in graphic design to do this, as it's just a reference tool for you, but it will help you to evolve your ideas until you hit upon the perfect one!
Creating a patio is super simple, really it is, so we are going to give you a step-by-step guide to follow!
1. Mark out your proposed patio with pegs and rope. This will help you to be sure it's the right size and in the right place.
2. Dig out your marked area to a depth of six inches. This is to make sure your area will drain well and sit perfectly flat.
3. Once you are happy with your area, tamp the soil firmly, to create a level base. You might want to check your work with a spirit level at this point!
4. While a layer of landscaping fabric is optional at this stage, we do recommend it. Proper gardening fabric will help with drainage and prevent pesky weeds from sprouting up.
5. Add two inches of your chosen gravel and tamp down, HARD! Repeat this step a second time.
6. With your tamped gravel in place, you can add two inches of sand. This will be the base that your paving slabs sit on, so try to be mindful about getting a level finish.
7. Lay your slabs, making sure the surface is level. Don't forget that your patio furniture needs to sit on top of them, so work slowly and check your work with a spirit level regularly.
8. Fill the gaps between your slabs with polymeric sand. This is a magical material, as it effectively acts like a grout, which helps to give your slabs enough support, offers a waterproof finish and even prevents weeds from growing.
With your patio laid, it's time to grab a drink of something cold and refreshing and enjoy it! Who would have thought that for a couple of days of hard graft, you could have something so amazing?
For more patio inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: Affordable patio renovation ideas.