When we moved into our house, there was a teeny, tiny patio out back. It wasn't able to serve much purpose, so the last owner used it to hold her trash bins. You can kind of see it in the background of this picture of Oliver:
I wanted to expand it. First, I decided to set up the raised garden beds that my mother-in-law and father-in-law got for me for my birthday this past fall. I've been so excited to use them! We did this step near the end of March. On the left, you can see the old patio.
With the garden beds in place, we got busy digging out the patio! It needed to be at least 6" deep: At least 4 inches of gravel, an inch of sand above the gravel after it sinks in, and then the pavers on top of that. We also wanted it to slope away from the house. So, we dug down 6" near the house and 8" farthest from the house to get a good slope.
Before we were done digging, Home Depot had a big sale on patio pavers: 88 cents! We weren't ready for them, but I couldn't pass up that deal. We went and loaded up!
It took weeks to dig. Seriously, digging a giant pit doesn't sound as time consuming as it is. Well, at least, it didn't sound very time consuming to me! I would go out and dig on dry evenings after the kids went to bed, and, many days, I'd be out digging in the backyard while the kids played. It still took weeks! I'm so glad we had the raised garden beds to fill. That helped relocate a lot of the dirt.
Then came the gravel. Once again, I underestimated this step. It took so much gravel. I mean... we used more than a cubic yard of gravel! I stomped it down every inch to make sure it was well compacted. We were able to keep the slope going, too. This part was expensive. It cost us about $100 in gravel!
Then came the sand! We had it delivered for fairly cheap. We still have some leftover that I'm trying to put to good use.
Andrew used some garden trim that the previous owner left for us to trim out the patio. Then, we added a layer of sand. I had to make it kind of thick to get the pavers to the height I wanted them. I placed most of the pavers myself and painstakingly leveled each and every one. It took a lot of time. Everything about this patio took a lot of time!
There's our patio! We finally got all of the pavers in place.
We found a really nice picnic table on Craigslist for a fairly reasonable price, and I planted some pansies around the patio that my parents gave me when they visited last. Our lettuce and snap peas are starting to really grow, so Andrew used some chicken wire from our neighbor to protect our vegetables. The pansies weren't as lucky. The bunnies ate most of those flowers.
We're going to have to continue putting sand down into the cracks over the next few weeks as it compacts. We're really happy with the outcome of the patio, though. I love having a table and look forward to eating out there soon!