Building A Paver Patio: It Begins!

Note: For those reading this post during happy hour, feel free to turn it into a drinking game and take a sip every time you read the word liriope. Or maybe just a half-sip. Don’t want things to get crazy.

Woot. We’ve officially started to attack the side patio (previously mentioned here and here) that we want to bang out in time for Clara’s big b-day bash in two short weeks.

That’s right, in the words of Cee Lo we said “forget you” (yes, we prudes sing the PG version) to the insane ten-ish rows of liriope. And John only had to dig about half of it up thanks to two friends of ours who came over to help / steal some for their own homes in the liriope digging party to end all parties (we were happy to repay them with all the free liriope they could grab). Everyone used the shove-the-shovel-under-each-clump-and-step-on-it-to-pop-it-out method, and it worked like a charm. I think with three people the whole thing took a total of around 2.5 to 3 hours. And I got to hang out inside with Clara, except when we were making various patio-digging appearances to boost morale and bring ice water to the crew.

After the dirt settled we were left with a nice bare area that will soon become about two-thirds of our patio (the brick path still needs to be removed before we can begin digging out and leveling the soil for the next phase of the project which involves tamping, gravel, and sand).

So although we have a lot ahead of us, we’re just happy to finally be getting started after lots of talk. And there’s something about looking at a newly bare area that enables you to envision things so much more easily (like, say, a patio) that you couldn’t quite picture as well with all that dastardly liriope around.

We already shared this odd little photoshopped sketch to give you a vague idea of what we’re envisioning…

… and when it comes to the materials, we’re planning to use cobblestone pavers very similar to the ones in our driveway…

… but in order to get the best deal we priced some out at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and a local place called Southside Building Supply. The local guys won out with the best price per square foot by around 40 cents (and happily had just a two day delivery turnaround), but we’ll share more info, photos, and prices of the actual pavers once they arrive and we (hopefully) get ’em laid (that’s what she said). And you know we like to overshare when it comes to the deets, so here’s the boring stuff that we did first for anyone at home who’d like to play along with us patio-fy with us:

  • talked for way too long about possible dimensions and even used a garden hose to map out possible shapes
  • schlepped around to those paver places that we mentioned above to find the best deal (more on that when the pavers arrive)
  • called Miss Utility to confirm that there’s nothing buried under that area that we could dig into and somehow ruin (Miss Utility might be the local name, but they’re a public service group who contacts gas and water and electrical companies who then come out to mark things that are underground)
  • dug out that pesky liriope (but we still have to remove the brick path, dig out more dirt, level things, add gravel, add sand, etc)
  • made sure our bank account could support a pretty pricey project (well at least to us – the stone and other supplies like gravel, sand, & tools along with delivery costs may be around 1K, but considering we paid nearly 3K for our last patio, which was smaller, to be put in by the pros just weeks before our backyard wedding, we’re psyched to hopefully save a lot by doing it ourselves this time)

Thankfully we got confirmation that there’s nothing lurking under that side of the house from Miss Utility and we think we’ve even finalized a plan when it comes to cobblestone paver type as well as patio shape. More info/pics/sweating/rambling as we go. In the meantime, have any of you guys laid your own patios complete with digging, leveling, tamping, and lots of gravel and sand? We’re obnoxiously excited about it. Seriously, we need to get a life.

Psst- We announced this week’s contest winners, so click here to see if you’re one of them.

Psssst- Liriope, liriope, liriope. Just kidding.


  1. says

    Wahoo! Nothin’ like a deadline to light a fire under your butts! Hah. Leveling a paver patio was a beeeyoootch. But as with all DIY things, it was totally worth it!

    • says

      that’s definitely a lot of work but I think it will look good when it finishes. I see a lot of potential in your garden :) Hope to see pictures after all the work’s done.

      Kate Gasset
      International Propertiesand Investment Inc
      Visit my Website @ Homes in Wellington

  2. Margarite says

    So exciting!

    You guys might not have encountered this yet, but any idea what to do in the case of tree roots getting in your way? We’re talking about putting in a walkway along one side of our house, but there are some serious roots that might be problematico…

    • says

      We were really nervous about the tree roots right next to that outside edge of the patio but in digging up the liriope they seem to be really buried so nothing has “shown itself” as an issue yet. Not sure what we’ll do if we encounter roots other than perhaps try to dig out some area under them and gently guide them lower into the ground so we can lay pavers over them (and of course clip them if they’re tiny since that doesn’t seem to impair the tree too badly).


    • megan e says

      We put in a path next to our garage last summer and literally just took an axe to the tree roots that got in the way. They were only about 2 inches in diameter and at least 10 feet away from the 50+ year old tree, so we knew they wouldn’t cause any strain on the tree. As long as the tree is healthy and standing strong, trimming the roots (in moderation) is a-okay.

  3. Kim says

    We just put an addition on our 1950’s ranch house. We saved the brick that was removed on one side and we have made paths and a small patio where we store our trash and recycling. Some friends of ours also took some brick and made a front walkway at their house. It didn’t look like that much on the house, but it was alot! I’m glad we could recycle it! And it looks great because it’s old brick-lots of charm.

  4. says

    I feel ya on the liriope, we’ve got a ton at our house that my dad put in to “hold a bank”…and that it did. Now it’s multiplying like crazy. I do a good job keeping it at bay, but man that stuff is about the only thing I haven’t managed to kill. We’re about to do a patio too. Good luck!

  5. says

    I’m following your project with rapt attention because we’re building our own patio over Memorial Day weekend. I’m a little surprised you’re estimating only $1k for the project – even with boring brick just the pavers for our smallish patio are going to cost almost that much. And thanks for the reminder about checking with the utility company about underground stuff before we dig!

    • says

      We definitely could be underestimating, although we feel a lot better after having gone to the stone yard and nailed down a price that was substantially cheaper than the other options we saw at Home Depot and Lowe’s. So far with delivery it will be around $800 for the stone pavers alone, but we’ll still need gravel and sand so it could creep up for sure.


  6. Steph says

    Nothing better than reading a new post from my fave strangers (hehe) at 11pm after spending 3.5 hrs watching the royal wedding :)
    Looking forward to seeing the new patio!

    • LauraC says

      You East Coasters are lucky. Totally stayed up and watched it at 3 AM Had friends over for a “Royal Wedding Party” and we woke up our daughters (3 and 6) to watch it. So fun!

  7. Allison says

    Hey Guys! This is so great because we are in the middle of doing the same thing to our new house! We had to rip out a brick pathway that consisted with more than 500+ bricks. My question is what do you guys plan to do with all the bricks/rocks/stones that you know you don’t want to keep? We were able to put them online and found someone who wanted them – so we lucked out :) Can’t wait to see this whole process!

    • says

      We definitely plan to craigslist anything we can’t use when it comes to that stuff (although lately we’ve been thinking about using some of the excess to create some raise garden beds since termites will be less attracted to stone).


    • Rachel says

      I just posted a whole slew of random bricks on craigslist – free for the taking – and got 50 responses in the first day! The first lady to inquire showed up the next morning and took EVERYTHING. It was great!

    • aluck89 says

      I did the same thing with some loose brick. Also, we had a whole slew of brick, slate, concrete, etc. that was buried in our back yard… apparently a stone foundation to a shed that used to be in our backyard was busted up and buried in the back corner of our lot. Of course it was covered in dirt and then mulch. We realized when we tried to plant back there. So I put an ad on Craigslist and a guy needed the material. He helped dig it up and loaded it up and took it away. I <3 Craigslist!

  8. Stephanie Phillips says

    Uh oh! I guess this means the hubs and I have to get our butts in gear to join in! We’re hoping to lay our patio with salvaged brick from an old tobacco warehouse that burnt down a few years ago. Woot!

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