Wednesday, August 14, 2013

So You Want To Do A Paver Patio???

While it’s technically not “done” done, I’m putting this one in the bag.  Who wants to hear about the worst project ever?  You all should send a big thank you for my father not disowning me while you are at it.  I honestly didn't think it’d be as bad as it was.  I mean, HGTV gets it done in a 30 minute show.  With commercials for crying out loud!!  Just kidding.  I’m not that stupid.    Anyway- let’s talk patio.  Some of you might have seen this photo already.  But this is what was delivered to my house Saturday morning.  At 8am.  My neighbors LOVED me.  Thank god they delivered!

First, let’s start with the basics.  I ordered 263 pavers that were 16 in X 16 in, 154 bags of gravel, 154 bags of sand, and 12 bags of polymeric sand- per the instructions on the virtual patio designer at Menards.  It was going to be roughly 500 additional square feet added on to my existing concrete patio.  Each paver was about 40 lbs, the bags of gravel about 45 lbs and the bags of sand about 40 lbs.  I also rented a bobcat for the day- which they actually left at my house for over 3 days- for a total of $350.  BEST MONEY SPENT IN MY LIFE!  The above patio supplies cost just under $1100 including a $59 delivery fee for everything- for those of you thinking about doing your own.  May I suggest that you shoot yourselves in the face instead? 

{before the chaos}

The bobcat arrived at 8:30am on Monday and we went outside to start working around 9am.  After plotting out the size and marking the area with stakes, Dad got to work digging out the area with the bobcat.  And as easy as one would think this step would be with heavy machinery, I stress to you- it was not.  Indiana ground is made up of clay.  Hard clay.  Not dirt.  You may remember me bitching about this when I was digging my flowerbeds.  It’s heavy and hard and doesn't want to move.  Even with a 500 lb bucket trying to scoop it up.  After a few choice expletives and a couple of hours, the area was dug out and fairly level. 

Mini Photo Shoot!!

You should know that my back yard is sloped- not level.  Therefore, some areas were only dug out an inch where closer to the house was more than 6 inches.  Some areas we were actually adding dirt since it was too low.  I can’t stress enough how happy I was to spend money renting that bobcat.  Because we would still probably be digging if it wasn't for that.  I’m not kidding. 

At the end of day one- which was probably 8:30pm- we had the area dug out, the landscaping fabric covering it and most of the bags of gravel down.  I was feeling pretty good about the timeline at this point. Three of the six steps were basically done.  SCORE!  I should note that we also used the bobcat to take the bags of gravel, sand and pavers from the front driveway to the back yard- rather than carrying them around the house one at a time.  We are smarter than we look.  We also used it to get rid of most of the extra dug up dirt and piles of grass that were dumped on the side of my house.  Unfortunately for us, we got busted about about the 4th load getting dumped at the end of the road so I still have a big pile.  But each night I’m taking carloads of it there, so hopefully within the next few days it’ll be all gone and I will have my yard back. 

The next day I actually thought I wasn't going to be able to move, let alone continue.  But surprisingly I wasn't all that sore.  Try lifting all of the pavers, gravel and sand twice.  It’s not fun.  We headed outside around 10:30am and finished putting the gravel down and started working on dumping the sand.  The night before we placed most of the sandbags on the gravel so we just need to open and dump them rather than having to go get them, carry them over and do it.  Again, we are smarter than we look.  I wanted to lift them as little as possible.  Call me lazy. 

After using up the rest of the gravel and starting on the sand we realized that overnight, some of the area had sunk a little bit.  Or the laser level was off from the beginning.  So we had to backtrack a bit which threw our timeline off a little.  But we managed to finally lay some pavers.  And it looked so good, even with just one row down!!  I actually had to run back to the store with my aunt and when we came back, my dad had the first row down.  It was awesome.

And totally the motivation we needed to keep going.  It wasn't shortly after that- that we realized that we were going to be needing a lot more sand.  Like A LOT more.  So we headed out to pick up an additional 30 bags.  Totally a guesstimate at that point.  We got as far as the below shot before it really started raining on us.  So we packed it up for the night. 

Unfortunately I had to go to work on Wed and Thurs because we had a big international soccer game on Thursday night. I felt really bad because even though my dad had stuff he could have done in the house, he totally was out there busting out the patio on his own.  He got pretty far too, since one of the days rained and he was also working on things inside.  He rocks.  I got home on Thursday night around 11:45pm and we were out there with his pocket flashlight looking at it. 

One thing I will add is that I knew from the original dimensions, that there was going to be a gap from the last paver to the wall of my house roughly 8 inches.  We started at the outside corner of the existing concrete patio so that we didn't have to make any cuts.  This left a little area that I figured I could find other coordinating pavers to put in there or maybe plant some flowers.  However, when it got to that point, the area was about 15 ¼ inches wide.  SOOOOOO CLOSE to the 16 inch paver.  You can kind of see the dirt in the above photos where there isn't the top row near the windows.  Since it was THAT close to fitting, we decided that it was only going to look good if we cut ¾ of an inch off of the pavers and had the patio go all the way to the house.   So we headed back to Menards to rent a masonry saw.  And also found out that we were smarter than everyone in the store.  By a long shot.  Fucking morons.  We literally went back and forth for what seemed like an hour about how it wouldn't work for what we wanted- without having to buy a $45 diamond blade for it.  Scammers.  So to shut them up, I bought the blade, we used what was already on the saw and I returned the blade unopened.  Idiots.  But I saved $45 and the patio looks much better complete there than leaving it “unfinished” and open for a flower since that’s where the chaise lounges are going. 

We also had purchased the plastic paver edging that gets staked into the ground and butts up to the last outside row of pavers.  This would have worked if I had a flat back yard.  But since the depth tapered from almost 8 inches down to about 2 inches, the edging wouldn't have done the job.  We bought 8in X 1in X 12ft pressure treated boards to make a border around the pavers that are a lot more decorative and functional than the edging would have ever been.  Eventually I’ll get some top soil and butt it up against the boards, slope it down and throw some grass seed onto it to give it more of a finished look and kind of “bury” it rather than keeping the entire side of the board exposed.  But for now it works.  It almost looks like a deck from the side until you walk up to it and see the pavers. 

Working on it continued Friday, Saturday my dad was on his own as the girls did a fun little day trip and we were almost done on Sunday morning.  We had only about 6 more rows to finish up but ran out of sand (this would be the 4th and FINAL trip to buy extra sand BTW).  We finally finished it on Monday I believe.  At this point all of the days are blurred together.  I just know that it was hot, sweaty, long, hard, and not fun at all.  Here's my pops putting down the LAST row!!  I think I did the Irish Jig when this was happening.

It sure does look ah-mazing!!!  Finished glamour shots!!

I worked my dad like a dog.  I feel bad.  It sucked.  I probably wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  Well, OK, a few of them I would.  You bitches know who you are!  But I am being completely honest- if you want to do one yourself,don't.  Hire it out.  Or don’t get 40 lb pavers.  And have about 15 friends helping you.  You all know I’m all about the DIY factor.  But this is one instance that maybe saving $4,000 wasn't worth it.  Dare I say it?    But again, the end result that I will enjoy for many many years to come will definitely be worth it.  Eventually I’ll forget about the manual labor, right? 

We kept joking the entire time about how we were definitely not experts on paver patios.  Clearly.  But I said that at least we know that we would never want to make a career out of it.  Check that one off the list.  I’d probably pick being a backed up septic tank cleaner before I’d ever choose to lay patios again. 

At the end of the day, we had to pick up about 105 additional bags of sand, 10 bags of gravel and returned 8 bags of the polymeric sand.  Clearly their design center works.  Very accurate.

Now it’s time to build some furniture for out there!  Wait- am I already talking about the next project?  This mama is poor.  I need to eat Ramen for the next year or two before I can do any other projects.  Good lord.   Stay tuned for a few other projects my dad worked on while he was here.  What???  You think I only had the patio for him?  Shit.  There was a list.  Printed out.  That everything got crossed off (well except for one thing and he called me crazy for that one).

So who wants to come sweep the polymeric sand into the cracks this weekend with me?   It'll be a blast, I promise!!  Once that step is done- I can check this puppy off the list.  Then it's PARTY TIME!!!!

Now excuse me while I go out in the dark to get rid of some dirt!

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