It's not as difficult as it used to be, to build an attractive patio.
You can buy new types of stone work and plans that make your best do-it-yourself patios a reality.
New patio systems have tiles or bricks that can be mounted on panels, so they're easier to use.
You just lay the panels on sand beds and seal between them. But there are also ways to make your own patio designs come alive in your back yard.
Slate for patios comes in many different colors, and you can use rectangular or square tiles to make your patio dreams a reality. You can build a main patio with walkways, after you build a border for the perimeter. The border can be done with brick pavers, plastic edging or 2x4's. When you lay out the border, remember to allow room for the full size panels or tiles you'll be using.
If you're building a border from 2x4's, screw the four boards together to form the frame for the perimeter. This frame should be set onto the ground, making sure that your corners are exactly square. Make it as level as you can get it, too. Drive 2x4 stakes in every six feet or so.
Your next step is digging out roughly one inch of soil around the inside of the frame. Set the dirt aside, in case you need it to backfill your patio. Spread three inches or so of sand inside your frame and then pound it compact with a hand tamper. This helps in preventing your patio tiles from sinking, when you lay them.
Scrape the sand to make sure that it's level, using two boards that have been screwed together. Drag this device across the framed area, and it will drag off any excess sand and give you a uniform depth. Fill in any low spots you find by filling them with sand and then dragging them again. If you don't want to spend the time to build a border, you can dig out the area you'll use for your do-it-yourself patio, and add three inches of sand. Tap the sand to compact it, and set the tiles or pavers. The grassy area and ground will contain your panels, around the recessed area. You have to excavate a bit more to make a borderless patio, but it will look more smooth, since the patio bricks or pavers are flush with the lawn. It's easier to mow around a borderless patio than one with a border, too.
Once your ground work has been completed, set your bricks or pavers. You can use rubber or plastic spacers to maintain a space between the pavers that is consistent everywhere on the patio. If you are using pavers that come pre-attached to panels, you can trim them if you need to, with a circular saw. Be sure to cut evenly through the polystyrene and the slate, both.
After you set all your bricks or pavers, remove your spacers and push in half-inch foam backers between the bricks or pavers, or secure the spacer areas with sand. You'll want to backfill around the finished patio shape with mulch or soil.
Then you'll have plenty of time to show off your new do-it-yourself patio, since friends and relatives will enjoy stopping by for barbeque's and parties.
When you throw a patio party, your guests will love arriving to the scent of grilling food. When you select a patio grill, decide what type of gas you want to burn, or if you'd rather have a charcoal grill. Charcoal gives its own unique taste, but it can be harder to keep an even cooking surface. Propane will heat up more rapidly, and is easy to regulate. Find a patio grill that you will enjoy working with, whether it's black or stainless steel. Get a grill large enough to use at parties, but not so large that it's unhandy to use at smaller gatherings.