How to Make a Cheap Patio

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Patios provide a peaceful natural spot for relaxation just outside the comforts of your own home. They are great places to throw parties, store garden supplies or to just sit and read a book. However, you might be thinking that building a patio is an expensive investment. While large, fancy patios can cost thousands, you can build a modest patio for as little as a few hundred dollars. This article provides step-by-step instructions for building a cheap but beautiful patio.

Things You'll Need

  • Four pieces of outdoor lumber (2-inch by 6-inch)
  • Outdoor screws
  • Electric drill
  • Sand
  • Bricks or pavers
  • Level
  • Tamper
  • Brick saw or masonry blade
  • Broom

Build a Cheap Patio

Locate the area for your new patio. Unless you want to spend lots of time and money you should consider building a small patio that does not exceed 15 feet in either direction. Dig out the area where the patio will lie (approximately 6 inches or the height of your lumber).

Build your patio frame by attaching the outdoor lumber with screws at each corner so that a large open box is formed. Make sure that the boards are flush and fit tightly against each other. Any holes or cracks could cause your patio to sink eventually.

Fit the frame into the hole so that the top of the frame is level with the ground. Test to see if the frame is level and flat. If you notice any slope, correct it before proceeding. The flatter and more uniform the frame the better the patio.

Fill the frame with about 2 or 3 inches of sand (just enough so that the bricks reach the edge of the frame when resting on the sand). Level the sand with a board and wet it. Tamp down the sand using an electric tamper or other tamping device. You may have to do this several times, adding sand as you go until you have a hard, level surface at just the right level for your bricks or pavers.

Begin laying the bricks or pavers in one corner and move out from there. Experiment with different patterns and continue until you have finished the box. Constantly check to make sure that the bricks are level and that they fit snugly against each other. If a brick wobbles, take it up and smooth the sand beneath it. Cut bricks to fill in the open spaces along the edges of the patio (only cut bricks or pavers if you feel comfortable operating heavy machinery). Finish the patio by sweeping sand into the cracks left between the bricks or pavers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never operate heavy machinery without prior experience or instruction.

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