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Original Post: Grading backyard for patios
elvis156 – Member
I will lay patio pavers and that way I will have to rate my garden because it is uneven. I have to take 4-5 “dirt from a 20 square meter area …
Stupid question but how can I do it other than a shovel and “scrape”
All this depends on the fact that I can buy a level to measure exactly how much I should dig.
All thoughts or posts are much appreciated!
GSR – Member
Are you talking about an area of 20 square meters, ie a patio of 4 feet x 5 feet or are you thinking of a patio of 20 x 20 feet?
If it’s the smaller option, your cheapest bet is a shovel and a long level – find the low spot and the high spot to determine how much you need to dig out. It does not have to be perfect but should be close – the gravel and sand base covers minor irregularities.
If you’re talking 20×20, I’d get a bobcat or some friends. You can use a straight board to extend the range of your level.
I do not think it is worth buying a laser level for such a project – the $ 20-40 models do not work well outside or for your purpose. Buy only a good 3-5 level hand level.
troyer – Visiting guest
As an archaeologist, I have had to dig lots of square holes that need to be level. We use a line level for best results. Simply place an insert in a corner of the area to be leveled .. attach a cord to the insert that is long enough to reach the farthest part of the area … slide on the line level. One person holds the end of the cord so that the line level shows the level … the other can measure the depths along the length of the cord and make sure that all measurements are the same. This works well for larger areas that a normal level cannot extend over. We also used this method to build an area to set up a pool.
By the way, you can get a line level for about $ 3- $ 5 … make sure you get a metal, not a plastic because the plastic tends to bend at the crooked ends.
larchy – Member
You do not even have to worry about dirt getting smooth. trust me on it. I have installed many hard drive jobs in recent years. what you need to do is a little math. Pavers are usually about 3 “thick. After that, you generally want to lay down 1” sand, and underneath it is a good 5 “compact clean filling.
So, dig down about 9 inches where you want the top to be. do not worry about how the earth is even. you should be more concerned about smoothing out the clean filling. for this, a rake works exceptionally. Be sure to use a tamper to compact the stone. then apply your layer of sand. this is where the level is most important.
If this is incorrect, pull up a section and add more. Lay down two metal rods on each side and then place a 2X4 on top to level the sand. As long as you get the metal pipe level, your sand will be even. After that, it’s the fun part! good luck, and definitely get some buddies to help you dig?
beneselaine – Member
pavers in cold winter climates / Minnesota
Has anyone installed pavers in a climate that freezes in the winter. I once heard that you have to put some form of foam insulation between the sand and the pavers? Some ideas. I plan to make a 20X 20 ‘paving patio and “do it yourself” … or do I just go ahead with black dirt planned with a layer of sand and then lay pavers and put a discharge sand over it to feed the pavers.
Concretemasonry – Member
grading backyard for patios
Absolutely no insulation under the patio if you do not live north of the Arctic Circle.
Add dow 4 “to 6” garavel and compress it.
Put down a 1 “sand setting bed and level it.
Place the locked pads close together.
Install an edge holder.
Spread fine sand over the pavers and vibrate it in the joints with a plate vibrator (which can be rented).
You can get instructions online or from your paving supplier. If he does not have instructions, you may be buying junk from a supplier who should not sell pavers.
You have some good suppliers of pavers locally if you buy real pavers and not just cutting stones (10×10 or larger).
beneselaine – Member
Thank you very much – the information is fantastic. I think that was the last amount of information I needed to move on and start my project. Except for the rain. Need it to stop first. Appreciate your knowledge and experience!
kgbamb – Member
Depending on your soil type and the size of your project, a cutter and rototiller can help you dig into your project. Much cheaper than a bobcat. Also make sure that there are no buried electrical wires or other tools. You should only dig 9 “or so, but you never know. Also, when digging, my recommendation would be to dig one foot beyond your intended limit all the way (if possible). This gives you room to work and make adjustments if necessary.
I did a 9X9 patio and a walkway last fall and was very happy with the finished job. When it comes to a level, an 8 ‘long 2X4 should suffice. Check, check again and check your measurements as far as excavation, pavers and sand go. Everyone else’s advice so far given I would go. Also think about electric near, around or under your patio and check for necessary permits.
kgbamb – Member
One more thing. If your intended patio is located near your home or garage, make sure it has a small degree or slope away from these structures. I think 1/4 to 1/2 inch per ten meters is acceptable, maybe someone else can weigh it. You can achieve this with the compressed paver finisher using efforts and a line level.
beneselaine – Member
Thanks for the extra information. every bit helps. love it when everyone has great knowledge! thanks so much!
Holger Ridder – Member
You’ll probably be done with this job in a long time, but …
If you have a base of about 5 “gravel topped with rock dust, your stones will not come up. The pavers lift because there is water underneath. During the winter, the snow melts and the water goes underground. When it freezes, trapped water pushes the pavers up. The gravel provides proper drainage so that it does not happen.