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 practises, especially when it comes to creating patios.
Installing a new patio area made from pavers is a painstaking job, requiring a lot of labour and attention to detail. If that sounds more like work than fun, take a few minutes to peruse our portfolio and then contact us for a free quote.
The Steps to a Weed-Free Patio – Start With a Plan
As with any large yard project, installing a paving stone patio begins with planning the size and contours of your new patio. You need to decide whether you’d like a traditional square or rectangle or if you’d rather have a patio with more curvaceous lines. It is important to keep in mind what you wish to do with the final space and ensure everything you want to place on your patio will comfortably fit upon it.
The other beginning detail you’ll finalize is the shape of the pavers themselves and the materials they are made from. 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. No one can ensure that the trimmed ends will remain useable after meeting a saw blade.
Marking, Locating, Digging and Grading
Once the materials, pattern, and patio size have been worked out, the area to be excavated to lay the patio 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 to prevent having an odd-looking final result.
Secondly, it has to be ascertained whether any utilities run through the site. You may assume that nothing critical runs through your back yard, but it is far safer to verify that nothing valuable or dangerous lay beneath your future patio. At Mirage Landscaping, we will handle this step, and any required permits, for you.
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 excavated and not merely laid upon the existing grass. Once the patio area has been excavated, Mirage Landscaping will level and compact the soil using a power compactor.
Laying the Drainage Layers
Once the soil has been suitably levelled, 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.
Place The Pavers and Final Details
Finally the paving stones are placed in the pattern you desire. Though fitted as tightly as possible, small gaps will remain. Also, to prevent your stones from shifting during use, the stones need to be power compacted and the patio has to be bounded by either a flexible plastic edge trim or some masonry work needs to be performed. Lastly, to ensure weeds do not easily gain purchase between the stones, the gaps are all filled with sand and the excess swept away.
Longer Term Weed Control
Though Mirage Landscaping prides itself on the precision construction of our paving stone projects, the environment of Calgary will eventually blow some particularly tenacious volunteer seeds onto your patio.
Before you turn to herbicides, some of which can discolour your pavers, consider manually pulling the weeds and replacing any lost sand in the gaps. You can also easily kill weeds by salting them, spraying them with strong vinegar and liquid soap solutions, or even by thermally shocking them by carefully pouring boiling water upon them.