Last Fall Slav and I worked on lots of hardscaping, including paving a small patio next to our garden shed:
Behind the flowers hid this patio space. It is pretty spacious, with an entrance from the lawn space in the front, and an exit to the mulched area behind the shed.
From the get go, I wanted to use flagstones for this patio. I like the rough surface and the aged look of flagstones, and I also think that the earthy color of flagstones would pair well with the retaining wall blocks we used here. We sourced our stones second-hand, from another yard in the metro Denver. The owners of that property wanted to rip off their patio to create a lawn, whereas we decided to do the reverse.
The patio we took apart had been there since the 1950’s. It was directly laid on the hardpan clay without any gravel base, and it was SOILD. We too have hardpan in our yard, and Slav had compacted the soil well. So we decided to lay the flagstones exactly the same way as where they came from – directly onto the clay soil.
We started from the far corner of the patio and slowly paved our way forward. You can see the gentle flare Slav created at the end of the retaining wall here. It looks so natural and so pretty!
From the picture below you can appreciate the thickness of the flagstones – the old building materials are so beefy! The previous owner of the patio said he could drive his truck onto the patio without any movement underneath.
We started paving the patio when the leaves started falling, and did not finish until the first snow… The stones were so heavy that I could not move most of them, so this part was all Slav’s effort. All I did was pointing – “this one, goes there!”
As first timers we had a hard time piecing the stones together. But slowly and surely, we came to this:
The thickness of the pavers varies, so the surface was not level. But there was no tripping hazard at this moment. We decided to level it next Spring, after the pavers naturally settle from all the snow and freeze/thaw cycles.
Here is how the entrance from the lawn to the patio looked. The pavels are so heavy that we do not think that we needed any edging to hold them back. The black tubing along the stones is the drip tubing for watering the fruit trees. We were able to neatly tuck it behind the retaining wall and bury it next to the pavers.
This is how the exit of the patio looked like. It goes out onto the mulched area along the northern fence.
We have not filled the gaps between the flagstones yet. Originally, I was gonna fill the gaps with compost and plant some ground covers. But for the longevity of the patio, we probably should use stone dust. It will also be used to level the stones from underneath.
We almost ran out of the pavers! I honestly thought we would have so many pieces leftover, that I would pave a path behind the shed…But in the end, we were left with only a couple big pieces, and the rest were all trimmings:
When Slav worked hard on laying the stones, I continued to re-shape the flower beds around the patio. I enlarged this end of the flower bed to better match the curve of the retaining wall. I might add an anchor plant, such as a small evergreen or some kind of small trees, to frame this exit next Spring.
Right after we laid the last paver it snowed in Denver. We have been living with snow on the ground for a couple months, and these flagstone pavers still felt very stable. Interestingly, the snow on this patio melts much quicker than that on other concrete patios/walkways, which kept the patio dry and pleasant to be on. I think this patio might be a good spot for starting seedlings next Spring!
To complete this patio build, the only task left is to fill the gaps and level the pavers with stone dust. We will be tackling this step next Spring after the ground thaws. We will also overseed the lawn leading to the patio, and refresh the mulch around the shed – this little corner will look so tidy and buttoned up next season!
So! How do you like our new shed patio? I love it! Although we are a looong way to the Spring time (our last frost date is 5/15), I could not help but picturing a small bistro set and warm tea among colorful blooms. What do you think?