Patio Problems to Patio Perfection

Jason and I are big proponents of clients doing projects on their own with the right information and resources. Sometimes all they need is a little advice and they’re good to go, but sometimes it’s more complicated. The good news is, we are always ready to step in if needed.

Patio Problems

We have a client in Dahlonega who owns a beautiful contemporary home that we helped design a front yard for in 2009. This past summer they contacted us because they were having issues with the patio they had put in themselves a few years back. The clients love taking on their own projects and wanted to try their hand at creating something that matched their modern style. They selected rectangular stones and filled in the spaces with grout and gravel. The overall look is beautiful but unfortunately, it turned out to be unmanageable. The problem? Well, there were a few.

Though at first it was attractive and matched the owners’ style, overtime the patio was becoming a mess.

For one, their patio was sinking. It was falling away from the house slowly but surely. It was built on an uneven surface so when it rained, water was washing away the gravel and edging. Runaway patio! They needed to create a level plane for the materials to sit on and then find a way for water to drain without eroding it. Part of this problem also has to do with the choice of grout and gravel.

Here you can see the space between the sinking stones and the house.

Over the years, the couple had tried a number of different products to fill in the spaces between the stones. When we arrived, they were using pea gravel and white gravel. Pea gravel is round and smooth and because of this, it rolls around a lot and is easily dislodged. The clients have beautiful wood floors inside the home so the gravel was inevitably being transferred indoors and creating unwanted marks on the new flooring.

White gravel is more angular and easier to compact. However, it can still congregate to the top of the surrounding stone during rain events, making it look messy overall.
Loose material such as gravel allows weeds and moss to grow through the stones. This contributes to the untidy look.

Stepping In

To solve their patio problems, we had to remove everything and start again. It was imperative that there be the appropriate slope to the patio to ensure proper drainage. After removing all the current material, we dug down 8 inches. Then, we added 6 inches of gravel and compacted it, creating a solid surface. Next, we added 1 inch of gravel dust and laid the pavers in the dust. Finally, we filled the joints with polymeric sand and compacted them again. Lastly, the pavers were held in place with a one foot thick concrete edge.

The pavers we installed are special, colored concrete pavers called Belgard pavers. These have ridges on the side of each piece which allows them to lock together.

This image shows the 2 ridges or bumps on the side of the stone that helps the pavers lock into place.
Patio perfection! The final project resulted in a much more neat and tidy hardscape that is easy to clean, void of drainage and sinking issues, and overall better for long term maintenance.
We love how the patio showcases the water feature urn in the center and makes an inviting space to sit and enjoy the North Georgia mountains.

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