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PAGE 18

THE CENTRE COUNTY GAZETTE

MARCH 14-20, 2013

Follow these tips for patio prospects By SAMI HULINGS For The Gazette

Are you considering building a patio? Here are some helpful tips:

BUILDING A GARDEN PATIO Building a garden patio with brick or stone pavers is probably the best way to accomplish any patio project. Laying the correct patio can be a relaxing and idylic retreat for those lazy summer days, but that’s why it is important that you make the right choice. That means you have to make sure it is ideally positioned in your garden. You should not erect/build your patio in an area where it will be isolated, but consider to build it in an area with the best views. This means that the positioning is especially important, I would place my patio in a positioned where I get the sun and a degree of privacy! But this is personal preference and is upto you and your lifestyle.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL CONCRETE PATIO OR BRICK? To build a garden patio can be very satisfying and look really good. The work is fairly straightforward if you are relatively

decent with your hands. The first and foremost points to remember are good planning and preparation, without the two you will find the project harder than you expected and your results will be sub-standard. Remember to look at the positioning of the sun, not a massive point but none the less a factor worth considering. Check out your landscape, have you got any trees obstructing the light?

YOUR CHOICE The patio can be many shapes and designs, but if you’re not confident, then it is probably best to have a square patio, although a circular one is also possible, but you would have to start cutting bricks. Circular patios can be purchased from most do-it-yourself stores and at reasonable prices. Don’t forget that you will need at least two inches on the edges to place brick edging. Clear the area you have chosen by digging it out to a depth of about 8/9 inches. Make a frame up the same size as your project and place it around the edges. Don’t forget you will need to put a slight slope onto your patio to enable rainwater

to run freely off. Make sure you run the slope off in the opposite direction of the house and below any damp courses! After this you should now do a run with your bricks just to make sure everything is lined up and going to fit.

PRACTICAL GUIDE Pour limestone or any hardcore aggregate into the area to a depth of about 5/6 inches. When the area is covered with this you need to tamper it down ideally with a whacker plate. Alternatively, get a plank of wood about 8 inches wide by 3 inches thick, and as long as needed, and simply place it across the hardcore and hit it down with a lump hammer. Once this procedure is completed you now need to place a weed blanket over the area to protect your patio from weeds growing up through the surface. Now you can pour your sand and it must be a minimum of 2/3 inches deep. You now need a screed to level the sand , check for a good level up against your framework.

START LAYING BRICKS At this stage you can begin to lay your brick. Make sure you have a line to keep

you on the straight and narrow. Keep checking for level as you go along laying your bricks. Always start at a corner and work your way along, you will need a rubber mallet at this point to gently tapp the bricks into place whilst using a spirit level for trueness. Assuming you will be using standard 4x8 bricks at 2 inches thick, you can continue with the weave pattern this pattern looks good and is very effective because it interlocks the bricks very well and makes for a stronger job! Once your bricks are laid you need to put sand on top and sweep this into the cracks and crevices.

SIT BACK AND ENJOY THE VIEW If you are using paving slabs then the principles are basically the same. But remember to continuously check for the right level, using pavers will probably be quicker but visually just as effective. Any cutting you need to do can be done with either a grinder, hammer and chisel or a brick splitter, I recommend purchasing a simple brick/paving slab splitter. (Editor's note: Information for this story came from a variety of sources, including Your Building Center).

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