Jake and Karen's house...
...the progress

backyard: current photos; fence; shed; patio

After spending last summer with the patio furniture on the grass, mushrooms growing around the feet and the grass dying, we decided to bite the bullet and build a patio. We contemplated doing a deck but we didn't want any of the critters that can live under a deck. Besides, we feel that a patio is a bit more of a classy, upscale look. We came back from our vacation to Europe and a week later started looking at options for stones.

We checked a few landscaping places near us but ended up at Brooklin Concrete. We bought standard (untumbled) grey random rectangle pavers. We wanted a crisper look which is why we decided against the tumbled.

Dismantling the builder-provided deck. It served us well for 3 years.

The concrete footing was impossible to get out. After using the car jack, sledgehammer, brute force, we left it in for the bobcat.

String outline of patio to come.

Delivery of the stone and high performance bedding (HPB) which we used as a base. Every single paver and all that stone had to make it to the backyard. The poor grass suffered over the next month from the stones sitting on it. We're still trying to revive it.

Bobcat delivered. Jake's gonna have some fun!

Outline dug out to make it easier for the bobcat. It took a pickaxe to do this, we have impossible to dig clay.

Tight fit! We rented the size that would fit through the gates. When we built the gates, we made sure we could get a bobcat through, just in case.

Odie cat and Suzy cat checking out Bobcat.

He became quite the expert by the end of the day, whipping around corners.

Digging out the corners and edges.

All dug out and bedding starting to be laid. We used landscape fabric to stop the dirt mixing with the bedding. This is not for weeds. Weeds don't grow from 8" below, they grow from above.

Electrical run to the shed. Will also be used for landscape lighting. We laid the essential wiring under the patio.

Many wheel barrows later.

The grading begins.

First step layed. Every single block needs to be leveled 4 ways but with a slight slope for water run-off.

Concrete paver saw, rented for just one day. Did the larger cuts but used a couple of abrasive blades on the mitre saw. It would have been too expensive to rent the saw for the entire project.

The beginning.

More pavers. Levelled with a slight slope.

Close up of a corner. The soldier course is made up of 9x12" pavers. We used 4 6x6" pavers on the corners to allow for a clean transition on the soldier course.

Lots of cuts.

All fits together neatly. That took about 5 hours of work.

Working in the dark.

The main patio is done. Now for the walls and planters.

Contemplating the planter in the rain.

Another area with a lot of cuts. Two diagonal sides to the shed.

Planter in progress. Need to mitre the caps at the 4 corners.

Sanded. We used polymeric sand. Supposed to resist weeds from growing in the cracks and ants borrowing. I'll let you know next year if that's true because it's 5x the price of regular sand. Sorry no photos of the actual process, this was a fast 4-hour job as the tamper had to go back. The area was tamped, sanded and swept 3 times.

Step 2.

Retaining wall planter done. Line with landscape fabric to keep the soil from running through any cracks.

Planter insulated with styrofoam to give a bit more protection to the tree that will go here. NO, it's not a firepit.

Edging nailed in place all along the perimiter.

Sheesh.. someone's enjoying it before we can!

Step 3 begins.


Barbeque corner.

Full view.

Other direction, towards the shed. We freecycled those stairs leaning against the fence.

Inside the planter. The wire is for the landscape lighting.

Longest run.

Japanese maple transplanted. The nursery didn't recommend it in July, but with lots of transplant fertilizer and babying, it seems do be doing fine 3 weeks later.

Triple mix and grass seed around the edges to cover the edging. This gets watered 2-3 times a day during the upcoming heat wave.

Electrical work continues. This is for a light in the shed, outlets in and out the shed for landscape lighting, charging lawnmower, etc and outdoor wireless speakers.

Other side of the electrical. BTW, the gas line for the barbeque was where the steps ended up so Jake had to move it to here.

The shed has a light! It was also handy for plugging in the shopvac for cleanup.

Completed patio with furniture in place.

Another view.

Seating area.

Dining area. This dining set is old and will be replaced next year, no budget for that this year.

Retaining wall is planted. Delphiniums, evening primrose and snow in summer on the two outsides. In the centre is a climbing hydrangea (which I want to climb up the entire back of the house) and a couple of astilbes. Hopefully this fills out nicely next year.

Japanese maple with irish moss at the base. We need a couple of trees along the back of the property for privacy.

Base of Japanese maple and uplight.

Some of the landscape lighting. This will be expanded once we get some more trees in the yard.

Other direction at night.