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Old 05-29-2012, 03:49 PM
Acorn
 
Join Date: May 2012
USDA Zone 6
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pihwht is on a distinguished road
Rebuilding an old patio.

Jane and I have an old patio with 8 X 16 red pavers. The patio was oldish when we moved into the house in 1974. (We believe it was built in the late fifties or early sixties.) The people we bought the house from didn't know when it was put it. Around 1980 I we decided to replace some of the broken pavers. I soon realized that this was a mistake, because looking closely at the patio revealed more cracked pavers. This led to the library and eventually to pulling up the pavers, resetting the brick paver restraints where the patio met the yard, adding to, leveling the sand, packing it a bit, and finally resetting the pavers in a basket weave pattern.

This worked beautifully and the patio was nice and stable for 28+ years. We faithfully pulled weeds and added sand periodically until a few health adventures intervened. Year before last we started to get on top of things again, but I noticed more broken pavers and I said to myself that I ought to just redo it again. That is happening now. Information is much more readily available than it was back then.

This information brings me here with a couple of questions. First, the grade of the yard and garden which border the patio has gone up. The garden in particular in about six inches above the level of the pavers thanks to composting. Im thinking of putting some sort of restraint on the garden to keep dirt from washing down onto the patio. The soil in the yard/lawn adjacent to the patio has just barely over-topped the line of pavers set as a restraint for the patio, but that puts the lawn an inch to and inch and a half above the patio. Should I add sand to raise the patio to more closely match the yard?

My other question concerns the base of the patio. Out of curiousity and to remove Virginia Creeper roots I've been digging in the sand. Curiously, in one stretch the sand covers a sidewalk at a depth of one to two inches, but elsewhere there seems to be nothing but sand. I don't think there is any gravel. In spots I've gone down eight to ten inches and found only sand. I've not yet dug down to discover how deep the sand actually is. Was this normal in the fifties or sixties?
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:30 PM
Seedling
 
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Your sand shouldn't be more than an inch deep. It sounds like you need to add aggregate to raise the level and compact it. Then add an inch of sand before laying the bricks again. Don't forget a 1 to 2 percent grade away from the house for drainage.
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:04 PM
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Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice
Raising the level of the patio 1.5" to meet the existing level of the yard is a huge undertaking. You mentioned the amount of sand in certain spots and I'm wondering if you don't just switch to rock screenings / stone dust at this point for the minor fixes.

If you remove a majority of pavers and raise the patio, you'll probably have to excavate all the sand, replace with ABC / Crusher Run, add screenings / sand to the level you want. In between it all, you'll need compaction in certain points. It's basically double the labor of having a new patio put in from scratch ( on a different yard, of course).

For a border around the patio where the natural areas are 6" higher, I would construct some kind of border ( stacked stone wall, cobblestones, etc..).

Can you post any pics?
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:42 PM
Acorn
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fine Edge View Post
Raising the level of the patio 1.5" to meet the existing level of the yard is a huge undertaking. You mentioned the amount of sand in certain spots and I'm wondering if you don't just switch to rock screenings / stone dust at this point for the minor fixes.

If you remove a majority of pavers and raise the patio, you'll probably have to excavate all the sand, replace with ABC / Crusher Run, add screenings / sand to the level you want. In between it all, you'll need compaction in certain points. It's basically double the labor of having a new patio put in from scratch ( on a different yard, of course).

For a border around the patio where the natural areas are 6" higher, I would construct some kind of border ( stacked stone wall, cobblestones, etc..).

Can you post any pics?
This sounds like a real good reason not to worry about the different levels of the yard and patio which I hadn't really noticed until I pulled out the pavers. I had noticed a discrepancy between the patio and the garden, but didn't realize how large it was because that stretch in the garden is covered thickly by oregano and Jane had some planters with herbs on the patio along that stretch.

I'll try to get some pictures. Thanks.
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:53 PM
Acorn
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.NewEarth View Post
Your sand shouldn't be more than an inch deep. It sounds like you need to add aggregate to raise the level and compact it. Then add an inch of sand before laying the bricks again. Don't forget a 1 to 2 percent grade away from the house for drainage.
When I messed with this thing before, I did remember the grade. The house is near the top of a hill, and the whole back yard has slight slope to it which I tried to follow. If I throw an inch of crushed limestone on top and compact it, would it just pound into the sand? I really ought to go out and dig a hole and see how far down the sand goes. The patio is/was around 400 square feet. Unless I just happened upon a couple of isolated thick spots, someone put a lot of sand in my backyard. Thanks.
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:08 PM
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Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice
It all depends on how thick the sand is and what type they used.

Plus, you may just have that kind of "Old World " look that people try to achieve for decades!
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:23 PM
Acorn
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fine Edge View Post
It all depends on how thick the sand is and what type they used.

Plus, you may just have that kind of "Old World " look that people try to achieve for decades!
The sand is coarse. It's been a long time since we had a sandbox, but I think it is about the same as that was. I think I'll dig some more holes tomorrow. Whatever look we had, it took decades to achieve. A sunken patio with a living wall on one end sounds nice.

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brooks agrees: Sounds gorgeous, actually
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:22 AM
Acorn
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fine Edge View Post
Raising the level of the patio 1.5" to meet the existing level of the yard is a huge undertaking. You mentioned the amount of sand in certain spots and I'm wondering if you don't just switch to rock screenings / stone dust at this point for the minor fixes.

If you remove a majority of pavers and raise the patio, you'll probably have to excavate all the sand, replace with ABC / Crusher Run, add screenings / sand to the level you want. In between it all, you'll need compaction in certain points. It's basically double the labor of having a new patio put in from scratch ( on a different yard, of course).

For a border around the patio where the natural areas are 6" higher, I would construct some kind of border ( stacked stone wall, cobblestones, etc..).

Can you post any pics?
Fine Edge is so correct. Its Double the work to repair a patio. I just did one for a client and under estimated the Job. I ended up working for minimum wage but I sure learned from it. Its picking up all the block. removing the layer of sand. Screeting and compacting the base to the desired level and then trying to put all that block back in so it fits..
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:32 AM
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I have a client who is 93, she had her patio built in the 60's. We were repairing some of the weathered patio stones and discovered it was set on 10" + of coarse sand. So it got me thinking. Its still very level ( much better than some these days), stones held up rather well (even though they are sandstone), drains extremely well. So I feel this would be an acceptable way to do patios at least.
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:52 PM
Acorn
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4seasons View Post
I have a client who is 93, she had her patio built in the 60's. We were repairing some of the weathered patio stones and discovered it was set on 10" + of coarse sand. So it got me thinking. Its still very level ( much better than some these days), stones held up rather well (even though they are sandstone), drains extremely well. So I feel this would be an acceptable way to do patios at least.
I think that is what I have. I've dug down eight inches or so and found nothing but sand. This time I had a sunken area, but I think that result from the roots from an enormous maple tree we had to remove ten or twelve years ago finally collapsing. The last two or three years. I've been filling in holes in the yard which radiated out from the location the absent stump..
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:24 PM
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If the patio has remained fairly level over all these years it says something about the functionality of the base. You say some pavers have cracked, but has it settled more or less evenly? if so, I would probably go ahead and add sand.

I think most of us landscape pros would want to give a quote to do a "proper' base for which we could offer a warranty and some peace of mind. But I also try to be practical too and explain the possible savings and risk of adding to an existing base especially when it can cost thousands less. (It's true that if you get into too much manipulation of the base it can turn into much more work than starting from scratch)

There's some slight risk that by adding an inch or two of sand you may see some settling or washout. Think about where the water comes from when it rains and in what volume, and think about how it gets off of the patio, and assess whether adding sand would change much about what's been going on for decades already.

Good luck!
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