Over the past few months we have been kicking around ideas about how to work with our clients to design their gardens, and then actually get them BUILT at a reasonable cost. We’ve come up with the something called DIY Construction Coaching. The way it works is this: at the start of construction, we work closely with our clients to teach them the skills necessary to install anything complex, such as sand-set pavers, fences, and basic retaining walls.
Over at the Pantry at Delancey, our cost-conscious yet highly motivated clients, provided us with the perfect testing ground for this concept.
As mentioned in my previous post, Pantry owner Brandi found these mid-century concrete blocks (pictured above, the dimensions are about 1′ x 1 ‘x 4″) that were used for a wall in their previous life and she wanted to reuse them for a patio. Brandi wanted to do the work herself (with her devoted helpers alongside), but, having never installed a sand-set patio before, she needed some guidance. After setting Brandi up with tools, materials, and a few tricks, she was on her way! And her can-do attitude was just the icing on the cake.
Here’s is the rough step-by-step installation process for this custom project.
First, the team removed all the weeds and prepared, leveled, and compacted the subgrade using gravel (5/8″ minus).
Once compacted, buckets upon buckets of sand were schlepped in until there was a layer approximately 2″ deep of sand covering the gravel. Then, the sand was meticulously screeded (aka, leveled off) using the jig that you see Brandi holding. The jig was made specifically for this project (which is a great example of the sorts of things we can help with). After this process was complete, the pavers were set on the sand and they were flush with the deck.
While one person was screeding, others were painfully working away at chipping off the old mortar from the sides of the pavers. Scott was a champ at this!
The pavers were not uniform in size so we decided to make the space between each a hefty 1.5″ wide. This way, once the gaps were filled with gravel, any inconsistencies in the pavers would disappear.
After all the pavers were carefully layed in place, the gaps were backfilled with same 5/8″ minus gravel.
Now that looks tight—nice job, crew!
Here you can see how the deck and patio work together to create a one big space for hanging out!
Next up: plants!