Prep for Spring: My Patio Project

Spring is supposed to begin in a couple of days- it certainly doesn’t feel like it here.  It’s still flipping freezing and hope is waning in these parts.  But as the snow melts (and we pray we don’t get any more) I can start thinking about outdoor living again!!!  In the warmer months I spend as much time as humanely possible outside, it just makes me happier.  So when we bought our house I knew I HAD to get a patio installed sooner rather than later. Luckily, we did to get to design and install a fabulous one last summer thanks to the fine folks at Quikrete ,Pavestone  and Chris Miller Brick Paving.  If you are thinking of adding a patio or re-doing one at your home this spring I thought a little step by step may be helpful!

We have a long narrow yard, but after living in the city for years it felt like a farm to us. 

1. Product arrives!  Yay!  Site preparation – level patio area and remove any tree roots, stumps, or anything you may find (there’s more on this whole process in my book because it was kind of hilarious/dramatic.)   The fun part of excavating any area new to you is you NEVER know what you might find!

2. Lay down QUIKRETE HardScapes Base Sand and make it level so the pavers have a level surface to be placed.  Note: slope patio away from any structures for drainage. This protects your basement from water problems which we ALL want to avoid! You’ve seen Property Brothers- wet basements are a HUGE bummer.

3. Place the pavers on the level surface. I used the Venetian Stone™ Combo 80mm in charcoal and in 4 different sizes to achieve a slightly more “natural stone” look.  The grey color is great and works nicely with the classic New England style of our house.

4. The pattern, while seemingly random, needed to follow the design so it seemed random.  Follow your plans and the pattern plans to make sure the repeat looks it’s best!  It’s a OCD person’s dream to figure out and perfect this puzzle!
5. Make sure blocks are tight together.

6. Pour and sweep in QUIKRETE HardScapes Polymeric Jointing Sand – this product is so great because it joins the blocks together to keep out insects and grass growth, while remaining flexible to give with the freeze thaw cycles throughout the year. Unless you live somewhere that is always warm where you don;t have to worry about such things,  in which case I congratulate you for being so smart.

7. Pound it in with a tamper to make sure it fills the depth of the joints.
8. Spray with a fine water mist to activate to polymers in the jointing sand. As a side note, I also recommend wetting some samples of  pavers when deciding which to use as color changes dramatically when wet and you want to like it both dry and wet!
9. Build up lower beds, retaining walls and borders where needed.  I used RumbleStone™ Large Block in charcoal to build several risen planter areas to really make the patio feel surrounded by plantings.  Secure stacked stones with QUIKRETE Construction Adhesive.
10. Voila!  A complete patio that will last for a very long time in a few days!  And because this product is so durable (it can be used for driveways, walkways, you name it) the maintenance is easy!
We also designed and added a small deck/stairs and decorative trellis and lattices for climbing roses to grow on!  And when we do our addition this area will look even BETTER!
By the way, I am still obsessed with my IKEA patio chairs!
I love entertaining on summer evenings out here.  It’s so perfect!
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Oliver knows we really did all this for he and Baxter though. Of course.

If you plan on doing something like this yourself Pavestone has many how-to guides on their site as well as Quikrete.  Tune in this spring when we start our addition too as I plan on using a different product of theirs to do a lovely new retaining wall in our widened driveway (I know, it doesn’t sound like sexy stuff, but after living with a too narrow driveway for this long it’s the thing I’m most excited about!!!!)

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Photos by Sarah Winchester Photography



  1. I can’t wait to read more about what you discovered during the clean up process!…I can only imagine! It looks beautiful now and I appreciate the Ikea patio chair recommendation! xx

  2. Thank you for the step by step, it really makes the process less intimidating to us DIY families! It really came out great and I can’t wait for the addition demo/construction to begin, sooooo exciting! All the choices you guys have made really enhance the house, not compete with it. I love that you are respectful to the homes age and character.

  3. Thrilled to see your patio installed complete with Grandma’s dining table and chairs. They look great resprayed and with your signature black and white stripe pillows. They’re so “Erin”.
    I’m looking forward to seeing your garden progress (when it finally thaws in Boston).

  4. The patio looks awesome! I need to show my husband this post to hopefully get him inspired to start a design for us. He actually went to school for landscaping/hardscaping. When we bought our house a year ago, we eyed up some projects to fix all the half-assed things the former owner did. After this winter, I’m so eager for outside living that I’m willing to just sprawl on the patio in the sun. No chairs needed (but yours are pretty!).

  5. I CANNOT believe that is the same backyard! Can’t wait to read the book…and the “hole” in the yard!

  6. I’m dying to know where your addition is going relative to this patio. I have been unable to convince the husband that we should invest in something like this ourselves because our someday addition will be coming right off the back of the house over top of where we’d put the patio. So his “it’s wasted money” arguement is killing me because we really would have to undo the whole patio for the addition. :(

  7. LOVE everything – pavers, the yellow accents, and the Ikea chairs are gorgeous. We have an Ikea table on our patio and it’s perfect.

  8. Dina- the addition will be more of an expansion out to the side and towards the front of the house. The area where that big plate glass window is now facing the patio will be torn town along with the garage and rebuilt but that part will be the same footprint as now but there will be a glass door and sconces there instead of that ugly window. :) Won’t affect the patio.

  9. Looks fantastic! Love it. We recently did the same, and my only regret: Not knowing we could have buried our electrical lines. Such a bummer. We live in the city and figured it couldn’t be done. Wish the patio co or landscaping co would have told us.

  10. Love the patio and the color scheme! Where is the wall sconce from , hope you don’t mind sharing?

  11. @Donna – Are you for real right now?! Ugh, what a troll. Erin, it’s gorgeous! I was trying to track down those chairs yesterday and love every inch of this! It’ll be so worth all of the snow to enjoy it this sumer :-)

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