Creating and Installing a Stone Patio
Here at Two Oaks Farmstead, we are always on some kind of project and this one happens to be a stone patio installation. If you have followed any of our recent posts, then you know that we have recently built a natural pool here at our place, with a surrounding deck. The pool surround meets up to our original two-level deck with the exception of one area. We knew that we wanted to install a stone patio in that spot, but the first step was to design the project.
Designing the Patio
We measured and determined that we wanted to use an area that was close to 250 square feet, in a somewhat organic shape, as it follows the edge of the pool and fits into the hollow between all of the surrounding decks.
In designing the patio, one of the most important elements for us to check was the actual lay of the land. We needed to know about any obstacles that might be in the way and most importantly, which direction the land leaned for water run off purposes. When designing your patio, you want to make sure that it allows fall away from the area so that you are not left with any puddles. In our case we decided to put in a French drain along one edge.
For our main patio stones, we chose ‘Oklahoma Patio Stone’ from a local dealer, Home Grown Stone. It is a relatively flat stone, about 1 1/2″ thick. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. We still had about 2 tons of leftover pea gravel from our natural pool project so that’s what we decided to use in between the stones.
Crushed granite is also another good option here. Sand is a necessary element in layering and flattening your patio and Landscape fabric is a very important first layer in order to beat back the grass and weeds.
Step 1 – Prepping the Patio Area
The first thing we did was to make sure that the land leaned off in the direction that we wanted. The next step in preparation for a stone patio is to lay in a good layer of sand over a layer of weed-blocking fabric. In our case, we used about 2-3 inches of sand that was also leftover from our natural pool project. (In some areas, depending on your soil content and weather, it may be advisable, to begin with a good layer of gravel, but in our area of Southern Oklahoma, it wasn’t necessary.)
After the back-breaking work of scooping and shoveling the sand into place, the next step that I took was to use a straight 2×4 and screed the sand into a relatively flat surface. Once I had it flat, I used a cast iron tamper to pack the sand in place. (Not hard, but also back-breaking work!)
Step 2 – Laying in the Patio Stones
The next part is a lot like Tetris. You just take the stones and fit them in where they look best. We decided on 2-inch spacing between the stones. I also left about a 6-inch wide strip between the patio stones and the swimming pool deck in order to utilize that spot as my French drain.
When I got the stones placed where I wanted them, I first went back over them to make sure that everything was going to work out well. Satisfied with their placement, it was time to wriggle and squish them into place. In doing this, you want to make certain that the stone does not wobble or rock. Sometimes you have to add sand, sometimes take it away, but you do whatever is necessary to keep them still.
Step 3 – ‘Grouting’ with Pebbles
The next thing we did was to start bucketing in the pea gravel. We poured it into all of the cracks and crevices, paying special attention to the French drain area to make sure that it had a nice layer and no downhill obstructions. After bucketing the gravel, we began sweeping and washing it into place, packing it as we went along. A good stiff broom is a good tool to use for this step of the stone patio project. My husband helped out with that part while I grabbed the water hose and started spraying.
Step 4 – Final Touches with Edge Stones
We chose a very natural, organic-looking rectangular stone to use as our edging. The purpose of the edging is twofold; to make it look nice and neat as well as to hold everything in. Without it, a good rain could wash out your sand and gravel, leaving you with a mess to deal with! We laid our edge stones tightly in a line on the two open sides of our stone patio, against the sand. The last part of that process was to backfill with the pea gravel.
This was a fairly easy project to tackle. There was a lot of hard work involved, but none of it is terribly technical. Certainly, the finished product was well worth it!
As always, we would love to hear from you! Comments and questions are welcome. Have you ever installed a stone patio? How did it work out for you? What materials did you work with? Let us hear from you!
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We also, as a homesteading family, have three additional blogs that might interest you. A Life on the Farm focuses on the more personal side of the homesteading life. We discuss subjects like family, parenting, relationships, homeschooling, cooking, canning and so much more.
Farm Raised Family is basically a hub for everything under the Two Oaks Farmstead umbrella. You can learn a great deal about all parts of the farmstead there. The Farm Raised Family blog focuses on financial matters such as budgeting, saving, and more and on current events affecting families.
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