Tired of retro concrete with a boring brick trim? Or perhaps the pressure treated border timbers holding back a creeping riot of crab grass down the middle of your patio or drive? Making a stone patio design change has never been easier. New materials like interlocking paving stones, improved engineering and installation open a new world of landscape patio ideas to add class, and value to your home and lifestyle.
Outdoor Patio Ideas - The Creative “Ah Hah" Insight. Where does a new, bold and classy patio design idea come from? For starters, “think outside the box" . . . view your property fresh . . . eliminate all the conventional square edges and rectangles, and see whether new shapes and a wholly different integration of plants, patio and drive can be created.
Step #1 - Measurements And Layouts. Take your time. Measure your present drive or patio space. Add any features or re-shaping that you'd like to consider. Once you have the gross dimensions worked out . . . or square footage, you're ready to look at some of the contemporary stone patio designs . . . drawing from the wide range of interlocking earth hued long lasting textured stones . . . or perhaps an innovative brick paving pattern to highlight your property.
Step #2 - Who's The Right Contractor? Stone patio construction requires engineering knowledge, special measuring tools, excavating equipment and a trained eye for space and layouts. Unless you're on the extreme edge of the do-it-yourselfer Bell Curve, you'll be looking at local landscape construction firms to do the heavy lifting. Here's the “inside scoop" on how to gauge the best artisans:-
* Tip #1 - Background Business Stuff. The background ‘business stuff" you need to directly look over includes (a). a copy of the contractor's license to operate (b). evidence of workers comp coverage and (c). evidence of accident and property liability insurance, to insulate you-as-customer from potential legal actions based on the contractor's fault.Step #3 - Stone Patio Construction. Going from a stone patio design to a finished landscape is all about engineering know-how . . . building proper foundations, understanding the various materials and how they'll integrate to create strength and long lasting durability.
* Tip #2 - Examples Of Job Performance. Here's where your critical eye comes into focus. You want naturally to see current site work, in order to get a feel for how the contractor works, type of equipment, whether he shows up on schedule and so on. However, a deeper time-based view of the contractor's skill will exist in past work . . . jobs that he performed 2 to 5 years ago! These are the sites where the “product quality" reveals itself. Did the patio or drive foundation buckle or sag? Did the paver stones or bricks move around? Did the edges collapse? Did crabgrass and other vegetation take over?
* Tip #3 - Get Customer References. You can't talk to enough customers, or competent referring tradesmen, when you're selecting your contractor. After all, you're making a substantial investment in your property. You want your new stone patio design to look terrific . . . and last for years with minimal maintenance and cost.
* Site Prep. First, your site is “prepped" . . . old stuff like concrete, wood borders, excess gravel and so on are removed. Your patio or drive is marked and elevation or depths marked and measured with strings.Bottom Line. Learn more about the patio ideas including stone patio designs and patio landscaping ideas that will create an outdoor living environment that will add a new lifestyle touch.
* Establishing Level “True" Grade. Small “cats" and back hoes scrape and re-position material, drawing down to around 7 inches below the final elevation. By hand, workman screed the patio or drive area, fine-tuning the grade so that it's ‘true’ and level, even where it naturally slopes away for drainage.
* Sand And Compacting. Refined sand is spread across the patio ‘field', then compacted and screed-leveled until a perfect grade and substrate has been created . . . at an elevation about 3 inches below “final grade", or at the grade where your selected paving stone's dimensions will complete the elevation.
* Laying The Brick Patio Pattern. No matter whether you've selected bricks or an interlocking paving stone design, the next step is where the patio or drive “field" is actually set out . . . all the stones or bricks are laid down, true to your stone patio design. Dry sand is spread over the bricks or paver stones, followed by careful compacting which shakes and distributes sand into all the cracks. Result? Sand plus stones plus substrate “interlock" to form a solid, long wear surface.
Patio Ideas: http://www.wise4living.com/hgdeck/patio-ideas.htm
Brick Patios: http://www.wise4living.com/hgdeck/brick.htmL
Stone Patios: http://www.wise4living.com/hgdeck/stone.htm
Author Robin Derry is publisher for Wise4Living, com, a specialty knowledge site that gives insights and solutions on a wide range of product, technology and lifestyle interests for web-enabled people.