PATIO’S AND WALKWAYS
The Importance of Functionality:
Many individuals do not give much thought to what a nice patio or walkway can do for a home. Many homeowners see them as a way to simply “bridge the gap” between their door and their back yard. At Phillips Home Services, we believe that a patio or walkway should: complement the architecture of a home, improve property value, and set the stage for creating an inviting atmosphere.
What we love about hard scapes is that there is no end to creativity when it comes to designing them. Simply put, If you can dream it, we can build it. When designing important features like patios and walkways, we ask ourselves important questions like:
- What is the function for this space? What will it be used for?
- Does the homeowner like to entertain?
- How can we make this an unforgettable space for guests?
- What activities does the homeowner like to take part in inside their back yard?
Because there is no end to creativity, we can use a ton of different things to create your outdoor patio or walkway space, but common elements are flagstones or pavers.
What is the Difference Between a Flagstone and Paver?
A flagstone is a natural stone that is not manufactured. Flagstones can come in all different sizes and can fit the need of most all of your design ideas for your patio or walkway. Because flagstones are natural, you are limited by the colors that are quarried. Flagstones naturally have a very high end feel to them and when used well in design, can elevate the look of your yard.
Pavers are paving stones, tile, brick or brick-like pieces of concrete commonly used as exterior flooring. Pavers are made in a In a factory by pouring a mixture of concrete and some type of coloring agent into a mold of some shape and allowing to set. Pavers typically come in one of four materials:
The Patio Installation Process:
Some inexperienced workers or homeowners might be tempted to just throw flagstones or pavers on top of the dirt and level it, but there is definitely a lot more work required to make sure your patio or walkway looks good for a long time to come. In order to achieve a high end look for your patio or walkway, Phillips Home Services takes this approach:
First thing is first. Always find out where gas lines are placed before digging in your yard. Before setting down flagstone or pavers, we prep the area and adjust the grading. Sometime this includes adding or removing dirt, depending on how high the patio needs to sit. This step is important because a slight slope in your patio is required to prevent water pooling during rain.
Once the area is prepped, we make sure to add any irrigation lines that may attach to the rest of the property because you can’t go back to add it once it’s complete.
The next step is to create the appropriate base. At Phillips Home Services, we take care in creating a minimum of 4 inches of packed gravel base (type 2 gravel). This helps ensure that the flagstones on top will be stationary over time and not crack from uneven ground.
After the 4 inch base is established, we add a layer of finer gravel to become a “leveling layer”. The leveling layer allows us to level out your flagstone or paver patio to get the stone tops nice and even. We need this layer because all flagstones are not created equal. Some are thicker, some thinner. The key is creating the best layer ratio to prevent stone cracking on the surface and also helps with creating uniformity.
Once that layer is created and the flagstones are placed and level, we use polymeric sand between the cracks. A vibratory plate compactor is used to allow the polymeric sand to sink in all the cracks evenly and the sand creates a chemical reaction with water to make it adhesive.
Although some contractors might say there are other ways to create a patio or walkway, Phillips Home Services sticks to this high quality procedure laid out above to ensure that your patio does not just look high end, but that it lasts it’s full lifetime.
Things to Consider When Designing Your Flagstone Patio or Walkway:
- Flagstone Thickness- The thicker the flagstone, the more expensive, but the stronger it would be. If you wanted to build a drive way, you might want to consider a 2 inch thick flagstone.
- Flagstone size: You can have big or small. The bigger the piece, generally, the less time it will take to complete a project. The smaller you want your flagstone cuts, the more time it takes because you have to cut flagstones to make them fit together.
- How thick do you want the gaps between your flagstone? If you want moss between your flagstone, you would want to leave a 2-2.5 inch gap.