We’re so excited. Adding a patio space to the backyard has been a pipe dream since we designed and built the deck in 2010. The deck that extends off the back of the house is big enough for a table and chairs, but while you’re resting on it, you take a beating from the daytime sun, and we’ve been looking to build a secondary outdoor living area in a shadier part of the yard, closer to an area where we also want be grilling and having campfires.
As most time-intensive and cost-prohibitive DIY projects start, we spent the last few weeks exploring and pricing products at local landscaping shops, and finally came up with something that would be the perfect fit for our yard. Note: It’s not what I’m vying over in this photo, it’s better.
Keep on reading to learn more about our patio planning process!
This is probably the most laborious project we’re taking on during the summer months, and we’re hoping to work fast so that we can thoroughly enjoy our new patio before fall sets in. We have grand plans to carpet a larger portion of the yard in flagstone (yes! Flagstone!) over the next few years, but we wanted to start small by paving a 225 sq. ft. area in the back of our property to make sure we really liked the way it looked, and how it served as a functional surface. Flagstone in bulk gets expensive, so it seems more logical to do a test run and save up gradually as we can.
Over the last few years, I’ve created a small half-circle area behind the garage and ornamented it with a tree (apple? cherry?), but the tree never really took root and always looked sickly. Time to yank it up and make better use of the space. With the half-circle space serving as inspiration, we set out to create a full, round area for the stones to sit within.
As I mentioned, we shopped around for weeks, calling different local landscapers, outdoor design centers, negotiating prices, comparing what the landscapers recommended in terms of supplies, and arranging deliveries.
It’s always a good idea to go to these centers and walk around the grounds to get your hands (and feet) on the products they sell. Many retailers will stage their own landscapes as a showroom to display all sorts of pavers and stone options, making it easy to see how the products will look in real-life settings and give you some really good ideas for execution. Remember to take lots of photos while you’re exploring your options, it’ll be worth having them to look back upon when you’re home making measurements and planning your project.
For our own reference, we captured a few photos of designs and stones that looked really nice in execution.
I liked the real steps made from these locking pavers; we won’t be needing steps to our new patio, but maybe someday we will in a future home. They looked so clean and geometric, and felt really solid.
This particular cove at one of the landscaping design centers felt a lot like how we envisioned our own patio, with a nice rounded edge and a floor space large enough for a chiminea and chairs, or a table for a backyard picnic. We really liked the rock retaining wall too, but that might have to come as a Phase 2 construction detail.
There are an overwhelming number of options when it comes to pavers and patio stones, but when you begin to consider the colors, textures, how they need to be assembled, and pricing by the palette/square foot, you’d be surprised how easily you can narrow down your decision. Nonetheless, the whole selection at one shop was really pretty and I probably would have taken any one of them home with me.
It’s worth chatting with the professionals at these landscaping centers; I’ve found that most were willing to help a novice DIY-er and offer good tips on quantity, material, and installation. One good piece of advice was that these smaller stones were better suited for building a wall than being used as floor pavers (boo, they would have made for a very affordable flooring).
At another shop, we seriously considered these thick, smaller pavers, so I posed in the summer lake breeze and had myself a little moment (they were $430/palette, but thicker than our flagstone option, so the whole palette wouldn’t have covered as much ground (literally):
But ultimately, we went with our gut and buy large palettes of heavy, jagged flagstone for our own backyard oasis. The shop that we bought from, Northern Stone & Design Center in nearby Fairport, NY had a lot of inventory, an amazing on-site outdoor showroom, and stocked both the lilac-colored flagstone (in the foreground of this next picture) as well as a more rainbow colored flagstone (the palette in the back). I don’t know the specific genus and species of these flagstones, but I do know that there are easily 100 colors and varieties depending on geography, and these are just the colors we saw supplied locally.
Rainbow was our pick. We liked how it looked dry (gray undertones which would look nice beside the garage and house), and when wet, the nuances in color really begin to shine.
One of the landscaping shops had offered this information as a guide for measuring the palette of stand-up broken flagstone:
- A palette of 1″ thick stones would cover 200 sq. ft.
- A palette of 1.5″ thick stones would cover 130 sq. ft.
- A palette of 2″ thick stones would cover 90 sq. ft.
Because our space was roughly 225 sq. ft. (measured as a 15×15 circle, which is ), We ordered two pallets of stone and two yards of crusher to serve as an underlay. The total cost (with delivery) totaled just under $1,100.00, and we achieved some efficiencies in delivery by ordering all materials from the same supplier. It feels like a lot to invest for a small outdoor space (especially after overhauling your entire bathroom for only $1,500.00) but we’re excited to see it begin to take shape.
More to come in the coming weeks! Is anyone else out there working on installing a new patio during one of the hottest summers on record?
Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Winters is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at DIYNetwork.com. You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at facebook.com/merrypad.