Well, here's something no one expected (even us) we managed to get ourselves a new patio! What started as a simple project to deal with the poor drainage, and subsequent lack of grass, in our backyard turned into a much bigger project that neither of us anticipated tackling this year.
Before, our wrap around stairs led to our grassy (well for a couple of weeks a year, anyway) yard and now they lead onto a stone patio. Truthfully, the patio had always been in the master plan, but after another year of no grass, aerating and re-seeding, and several experts telling us the only real solution was to deal with the drainage and grading - it moved to the forefront of the master list.
We agreed to the proposal, met at the stone yard to select our materials, and excavation started almost immediately. After a lot of debate, we settled on Devon flagstone, a natural stone with quite a bit of color variation that works with our pallet and provides the old world style we love so much.
On paper our patio looked huge (bigger than my first studio in Chicago!), but in person it looked even bigger.
Trusting the process, we shut our mouths (kind of) and went with it, but let me just tell you, there was a lot of nail biting going on. Especially when it came to the curve of the outer edge and whether or not it would look natural and like it had been there forever. Two of our main goals for almost any project we tackle.
The process of laying the stone, fitting each individual piece, was really amazing to watch. A giant jigsaw puzzle configured by a very patient artisan. Once the stones were all in place, we opted to use Gator Dust (a polymeric stone dust) to secure the stones in place. It provides a similar look to mortared joints, but allows for more breathing room as temperatures fluctuate (and it's considerably more cost effective).
The whole project came together quickly and fairly seamlessly. Of course we had an irrigation issue, but that's pretty normal. When was the last time you didn't run into at least something, right?
I snapped this picture after the patio had cured and before they dug up the rest of the yard to bury the drainage pipes, aerate and re-seed. While the grass grows, I'm looking forward to decorating and enjoying the new patio space. Starting with a camp fire this weekend, hopefully. More to come...