Sunday, April 19, 2009

Let There Be Patio!

Creating - ok, building - the sitting place was not nearly as hard as I had feared. I was able to create the solid walkway with a matching paver and then it just grew from there. Because of the curve in the walkway, I had to play a bit with curve, but even that worked out well. I used the six slate squares to create a bit of design on either side of the walkway, which - I hope - draws the eye to the pond, and then filled in the rest as I went.

The hardest part was keeping it level. There is an incline from the front of the bed toward the back that rises about 2.5 inches overall. I decided to make the sitting area higher so that water would run off of it, rather than standing on it, so I had to add soil underneath the pavers nearer the front, but even that worked out ok. Approaching the sitting area from the front, there is a small step up - but it's clearly seen, so should not be a hazard for tripping. I ended up getting some half bricks and burying them under the very front edge of the front step. That gave it the stability it needed and let me get it settled well and level without the front tilting.

Around the pond I planted some sedum to help hold the soil and soften the edges and where the stones created "holes" around the edges I put groundcovers and small plants. I had to pull up a good bit of ground cover - mostly a creaping euonomyous, which will come back and help soften the edges.

The only potential problem child that I see so far is an iris at the front corner of the new space. I am afraid that water coming off the sitting area may stand there and - well, drown it. I will keep an eye on it this spring and try to move any standing water away and then transplant it in July to higher ground just in case. It's a huge pink iris that mother gave me, so I want to take good care of it.

The final step was to take some construction sand to fill the spaces between the pavers. I like the orangy color - which emphasizes the slight "sunray" effect that is caused by the curve of the walkway - and it's more course than play sand. I filled the spaces by hand and then watered it. Should have swept it first because the washing was too hard and moved a lot of the sand around. Once it dried I swept it back into the spaces and it looked fine. Will probably have to add more sand in a few days. We are due to have rain tonight, so that will help settle both the sand and the dirt under it, and I may need to fill a bit more.

Overall it took me 8 - 10 hours of work, and not too hard, plus about $25 in materials. Since I had about half of the stones to begin with, I saved a lot there. Of course, I spent it on other plants for the garden. But now I am ready to all it a patio!

What's new in blooms today?

Spring is coming on so fast, that it will soon be hard to keep up. The first (dark, dark pink) azaleas bloomed Saturday, and the first lavendar bloomed today. The woods hyacinths bloomed Saturday, too.

A word to the novice: This is not the way to set a patio to last forever. To do that one must dig out the space, fill with construction sand, level and then set the stones. I have done it the cheap and easy way and will pay for it over the years with heaving. I will have to relevel some of the stones every year. Since we will only use this patio for sitting and it will not get much foot traffic, I decided it was worth the risk.

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