Other materials

Brick isn't the only topping you can lay over a sand base. Stone comes in three main types: rubble (round rocks), flagstone (irregular-size flat pieces), and ashlar (dimension-cut stone sliced into uniform pieces). The box on page 157 depicts several other possibilities for a sandbase patio. Installation procedures are the same, except that in some cases you may want to fill spaces between masonry units with mortar, as explained on page 157.

J To save cutting bricks, lay out a fete in the Ji desired pattern W gauge their most-efficient use. Cut !/4-inch spacers to maintain et'en distance between the paving bricks. The edging brick at lower right has been marked to assure that the depth of the trench, fill, and paving bricks does not exceed the brick's height.

A For the edging bricks, pour a small amount of sand into the trench and set the bricks on end. Check to be sure each brick is level. If one is too high, tap it with the handle of a trowel or remove sand from underneath; adjust low bricks by adding sand. Backfill as you work

2 Mark the patio's perimeter with strings, batter boards, and powdered chalk (.see pages 58-59)- Remote sod and dig trenches for the edging bricks. (If you like, mark the inside edges of the trenches with string while you dig them.) Excavate the patio area to the necessary depth. Tamp the soil to firm it.

3 Thoroughly spray the patio bed with preemergent weed killer or a vegetation killer. This prevents w eeds or grass from growing up between bricks. Spraying also helps settle the soil.

C After you've installed all the edging bricks, roll out plastic sheeting as further insurance against weeds. Overlap each sheet an inch or more as you work across the patio area. For drainage, cut 1-inch-diameter holes spaced about a foot apart into the plastic.

6 Note spread an inch-deep layer of crushed stone over the plastic. This layer of stone helps drainage and provides a sound base for the sand and bricks.

1 7 When all the bricks are laid, sprinkle thy IX sand over them. With a stiff broom, gently sweep back and forth to work sand into the joints. Sweep at an angle so you don't dislodge sand from the cracks.

7 Pour sand to a depth of 2 inches. Level the bed with a rake and shovel, then spray with water to compact it. If the sand begins to chy out as you work, spray it again.

Improvise a screed board like the one shown to assure a uniform depth of sand. Screed one area, lay bricks, then move on to another. Our screed consists oj a 2x6 notched at the ends: you also can make a screed by nailing together lengths of different-dimension lumber,

After laying a 4- or 5-foot-square section, check the surface with a kvel and adjust the height oj any brick too high or ton low. As you work, kneel in the sand, not on the bricks. They will wobble until you fill the spaces between them.

1 7 When all the bricks are laid, sprinkle thy IX sand over them. With a stiff broom, gently sweep back and forth to work sand into the joints. Sweep at an angle so you don't dislodge sand from the cracks.

OTHER PATIO SURFACES

7 O After all the joints are filled, jlush away 1 ¿L excess sand. As the sand settles, sweep in more and wet again. You may need to repeal this process several limes over a feu weeks.

9 Stretch a level line across the patio and press bricks into the sand, checking their tops against the line. Use more sand to raise bricks: dig sand away to lower them, Move the line and spacers as you proceed.

7 O After all the joints are filled, jlush away 1 ¿L excess sand. As the sand settles, sweep in more and wet again. You may need to repeal this process several limes over a feu weeks.

Concrete paver blocks come precast and in several sizes; or build simple forms and pour your own. Install them like bricks or leave a wider, t/2-incb space between the units.

Wood blocks or rounds provide a slightly resilient surface. We mack these by slicing 4x4s with a circular saw. Use only redwood or cedar heartumod, or pressure-treated lumber.

Flagstones can be set in sand, then grouted with sand, as we did with the bricks. Or grout them with mortar by sweeping dry mix into the joints and sprinkling with water.

Cobblestones have an irregular texture. Grout between them with sand or mortar mix. Cobblestone streets, set in sand, hare lasted for many centuries.

You also can lay a variety oj other paving materials in sand, including hose aggregate and wood planks (see page 130), ceramic tile, and quarry tile. These last two are best grouted with mortar mix.

Compared to the task of laying bricks or other paving materials on a sand base, constructing a concrete patio is a more demanding project. First, you must excavate and build forms to contain the concrete. Then you must pour the concrete, strike off the excess, level, and trowel a smooth surface—all within the several hours it takes for concrete to set up. For all your pains, however, you'll be rewarded with an absolutely flat, durable surface that will last for decades with little or no maintenance.

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