How-To Videos

Tips for Making a Backyard Patio Paradise

By: Allen Lyle
Allen Lyle standing in front of outdoor paver fireplace.

Allen Lyle showing off paver patio and outdoor paver fireplace.

Watch this video for tips on how to add a paver patio, improve the look of an existing concrete slab patio, and choose the right lawn mower to keep your lawn looking good.

Building a Paver Patio

  1. Location: Decide if you want the patio near your back door or further out in the yard.
  2. Layout: Mark out the area for your patio using stakes and string.
  3. Excavation: Remove the top several inches of the existing soil, and level the area.
  4. Base: Spread 3” of crushed limestone over the area, and use a plate compactor to compact the stone. Add 1” of sand on top for a base.
  5. Lay Pavers: Lay pavers, such as those from Pavestone, in a random pattern or specific design.
  6. Extras: Construct planter boxes, an outdoor fireplace, or a fire pit from stacked patio pavers held together with construction adhesive following plan from Pavestone.

Scoring and Staining a Concrete Patio

  1. Cleaning: Use a pressure washer to thoroughly clean the surface of the concrete, and allow it to dry.
  2. Scoring: Use a circular saw equipped with a carbide tipped blade and a straight edge to score decorative grooves in the concrete. Always wear an approved dust mask or respirator when cutting concrete.
  3. Stain: Apply either a translucent or solid concrete stain to the surface with a roller.

Resurfacing a Concrete Patio

  1. Waterproof: Apply a waterproofing coating, such as RedGard from Custom Building Products, to the concrete to prevent water from migrating through the slab and to reduce crack transmission.
  2. Lay Material: Choose a durable, exterior material—such as tile, stone, or brick—to cover the slab, and use a polymer modified mortar to adhere it.
  3. Apply Grout: After the mortar has set, fill the spaces between the tile or stone with quality grout, such as Fusion Pro grout from Custom Building Products.
  4. Seal Surface: Seal the surface annually to the patio keeps looking good.

Choosing a Lawn Mower

Keeping your lawn looking good starts with a quality lawn mower, such as the 22” Recycler All-Wheel Drive Personal Pace mower from Toro. Features include:

  • All-Wheel Drive: Ensures traction in tough mowing conditions.
  • Personal Pace: Senses and smoothly adjusts the speed of the mower to your preferred walking pace.
  • Mulching: The recycler cutting system cuts the clippings into a fine mulch that feeds your lawn and eliminates bagging. Or use the Bag-On-Demand quick-change lever to go from mulching to bagging in seconds.
  • Engine: Briggs & Stratton ReadyStart™ engine eliminates the need for choking and priming and features “Just Check and Add” so you never have to completely replace the oil.

Read Create Your Own DIY Backyard Patio Paradise to find out more.

Print   Video Transcript

Allen Lyle: Hi everyone, it’s Allen Lyle with the Today’s Homeowner television show. I’m here to give you some tips today on creating your own patio paradise.

Now, number one is location. Where do you want to put it? It can be right outside your back door, it can be at the end of an existing deck, maybe out in the far corner of the grass. It doesn’t matter where you put it, that’s up to you.

But if you’re starting from scratch, here’s my recommendation for you, use pavers. Pavers are easy to work with, and you can build more than just a patio with it. Here we’ve got a patio, we’ve built these beautiful planter boxes, we even created this gigantic outdoor fireplace all from pavers.

And you really have to pay attention to the diagram and schematics you get from your paver company. What we did on this, put it down one layer at a time, used some construction adhesive to bind them together. No mortar at all involved in putting this together.

However, if you’re putting down a patio, here’s some recommendations for you. You do need to excavate some of the dirt out of there, because you want to start with a good solid base. Do not go with crushed rock.

A lot of people just do a pebble, not a crushed rock but a pebble like this. This actually, it may seem like a good solid base, but it doesn’t bind well. So what I would recommend is going with a crushed limestone instead, this makes a great base.

Pack it down very well. Two, three inches—minimum really three inches. On top of that you’re going to put some sand down. And once you’ve got the sand in place, you’re ready to put down your pavers. Any random pattern will work, you really can’t mess it up. Just make it look nice, regardless of how you put it down.

If you’ve got an existing concrete slab, some things that you can do. Take a circular saw, put a carbide tipped blade on it, use a two-by-four as a straight edge. Any you can actually cut these shallow grooves in the concrete. Create maybe a diamond pattern, that looks great, and then come back with a stain or a paint.

If you’re going with a stain, I do recommend using a translucent stain, rather than a solid one. I really don’t like paints or solid stains. I like the translucent because the beauty of the concrete will shine though.

If you’re going to place anything on top of the slab—and that’s a great way to upgrade—you can use the pavers we’ve talked about already, bricks, you can use natural stone. You can use a tile, I would go with a porcelain instead of ceramic, because porcelain just holds up to the elements a little bit better.

However, outdoor slab never have moisture barriers put down under them, so you do want to make sure you put a moisture barrier on top of the slab. Normally you just paint this on, maybe two coats. And what that does is provide that moisture barrier so moisture doesn’t migrate through the slab and then effect the integrity of what you put on top of it.

Always use a polymer modified mortar to set any stone. And if you do actually do true stone, you’ll want to seal that. And really you need to seal that maybe once a year. You could get by every other year, but my choice is to seal it at least once a year.

Finally, when you’re thinking about a paradise outside, well, think about the less work the better. Choose your lawn mowers that will work for you. Self-propelled models, I like them. But if you can get an all wheel drive that also has a system that allows you to work at your own pace, even better.

Four wheel drive means, or the all wheel drive means any terrain will work well. If you want to use the bag you can. I personally like to use a recycler mower only because I can recycle the clippings right into my lawn and feed the grass at the same time.

Now, if you’re like me, and you need a little bit of help with whatever you do, we’ve got thousands of videos and articles online at TodaysHomeowner.com, all designed to help you have the best looking house on the block.



Comments

Please Leave a Comment

One Comment on “Tips for Making a Backyard Patio Paradise”

You can follow comments to this article by subscribing to the RSS news feed with your favorite feed reader.


  • Kendall Everett Says:
    May 23rd, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    I love that you mentioned the extra step of landscaping in building a paver patio. When my husband and I refinished our backyard we hired someone to do the concrete patio and I found that to be worth it because I ended up spending my extra time on the landscaping surrounding the patio. We used the extra materials from the patio like you mentioned but also used the extra soil that we excavated and that was a great way to recycle the land.


We want to hear from you! In addition to posting comments on articles and videos, you can also send your comments and questions to us on our contact page or at (800) 946-4420. While we can't answer them all, we may use your question on our Today's Homeowner radio or TV show, or online at todayshomeowner.com.