Many people don’t realize that part of our expertise at Mirage Landscaping is pathway and patio construction. We enjoy the challenge of working to make the most out of a space plus the creativity of stone and brickwork. Retaining walls are one of our specialties, and along with that comes the knowledge needed to create curved pathways, pretty patios, and attractive stairways, all installed with safety and use in mind.
Come up with your vision
Ask yourself and your family what their ultimate dream is for your yard. Would you be willing to sacrifice some green space for a larger area to barbecue? Do you need a spot to put down a shed for extra storage? Would you like your patio to also be a place where you can sit in the sun, or do you want some more shade? Tell us what you’re looking for and we can make the best recommendations based on our three generations of experience.
Pick your materials
Apart from conceptualizing your project, perhaps one of the most fun part of your pathway and patio construction project is choosing your materials. Brick is a great choice for adding visual appeal to your yard, as they can be laid out in a number of different patterns (such as herringbone and basket weave). Brick is also practical, because individual bricks can easily be pried out for repair if needed. Natural stone, such as slate, can provide an elegant, expensive look, however it will need to be sealed properly in order to be able to fight off the elements without being damaged. Flagstone is a popular choice because it survives extreme temperatures better than other options. Poured concrete doesn’t just come in grey anymore, but a number of different colours and can be textured in attractive ways. It must be well cared for, however, to avoid cracking.
When budgeting, the general rule of thumb is that you are going to need to purchase ten per cent more material than your geometric plan indicates. A certain amount of the stones will break and others have to be cut to fit the space you envisioned.
What the pathway and patio construction process will look like
Before we start your patio and pathway construction project, we will find out whether any utilities run through the site. You may assume that nothing critical runs through your backyard, but it is far safer to verify that nothing valuable or dangerous lays beneath your future patio. At Mirage Landscaping, we will handle this step, and any required permits, for you.
Then, now that the design, materials, pattern, and size of your pathway and patio construction project has been all sorted out and we are ready to start, the area to be excavated needs to be marked off with sticks or flags. This step, though seemingly simple, is critical to success of the patio. The lines or curves have to be precisely marked for a perfect result.
When it has been determined that digging may proceed, the entire staked-off area has to be excavated to a depth of about six to eight inches. If you want stability in your patio and year after year of weed-free utility, the patio area has to be thoroughly dug up and not merely laid upon the existing grass. Once excavation is complete, Mirage Landscaping will level and compact the soil using a power compactor.
The next step is to lay and, compact in, first a layer of gravel and then a layer of sand. These preparations are critical for two reasons: First, your patio will be able to drain away melt or rainwater without your help. Secondly, a sand and gravel base that freely drains makes the narrow spaces between your pavers an inhospitable place for future weed growth.
Finally, the paving stones are placed in the pattern you desire. Though fitted as tightly as possible, small gaps will remain. To prevent your stones from shifting during use, the stones should be power compacted and bound by either a flexible plastic edge trim or some masonry work needs to be performed. Lastly, to ensure weeds do not easily grow between the stones, the gaps are all filled with sand and the excess swept away.
Landscape construction services by Mirage
Mirage Landscaping has been Calgary’s premier residential and commercial full service landscaping design and maintenance firm for three generations. We know that good landscape construction requires meticulous practices, especially when it comes to creating pathways and patios.
Installing new pathways and patio areas painstaking job, requiring a lot of labour and attention to detail. If that sounds more like work than fun, take a few minutes to check out our portfolio and then contact us for a free quote.