Author Topic: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space  (Read 8372 times)

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« on: October 26, 2015, 02:17:41 PM »
Hey guys,

I'm hoping to help my buddy, who just got married and moved into a new condo complex, with DIYing his front patio area. We were thinking about laying down pea gravel or crushed granite/rock initially and then getting some edging for areas where they might want to plant (or for contrast) to fill mulch in. And probably will also get some pavers to section out a small area that would be flat for them to put a small bistro table on. 

The problem is, if we get the gravel or crushed rock through a supplier, we'd likely need to figure out a way to transport it (ala wheelbarrow) from the street to his condo. He does not have direct drive-up access to his front yard area so there's just no way they would be able to pull up to dump it. Also, I'm pretty sure the association won't let the truck dump the gravel in the street or in front of their garage haha.

I estimated that he'll probably need close to 1.75 tons of gravel to get a 3" gravel or crushed rock base in that 15x9ft area. Currently it's just a cement walkway and slab that are about 4-5" up from the dirt (or I think this is road base since it's new construction and is in an enclosed area).

Any ideas or advice?

Le Barbu

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1040
  • Age: 47
  • Location: Québec
  • I really didn’t say everything I said - Y. B.
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2015, 02:30:18 PM »
Hey guys,

I'm hoping to help my buddy, who just got married and moved into a new condo complex, with DIYing his front patio area. We were thinking about laying down pea gravel or crushed granite/rock initially and then getting some edging for areas where they might want to plant (or for contrast) to fill mulch in. And probably will also get some pavers to section out a small area that would be flat for them to put a small bistro table on. 

The problem is, if we get the gravel or crushed rock through a supplier, we'd likely need to figure out a way to transport it (ala wheelbarrow) from the street to his condo. He does not have direct drive-up access to his front yard area so there's just no way they would be able to pull up to dump it. Also, I'm pretty sure the association won't let the truck dump the gravel in the street or in front of their garage haha.

I estimated that he'll probably need close to 1.75 tons of gravel to get a 3" gravel or crushed rock base in that 15x9ft area. Currently it's just a cement walkway and slab that are about 4-5" up from the dirt (or I think this is road base since it's new construction and is in an enclosed area).

Any ideas or advice?

I did that kind of wheelbarrow job last year in about 3-4 hours (no rush) so 2 healthy dudes with 2 shovel and 2 wheelbarrow can achieve this in less than 2 hours. Can't believe they wont let you do this if asked politely, aks the best timeframe to do it and schedual the job accordingly. Pros are not bothering with that kind of detail and still do jobs everywhere, anytime, make noise, dirt etc

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2015, 02:36:33 PM »
Hey guys,

I'm hoping to help my buddy, who just got married and moved into a new condo complex, with DIYing his front patio area. We were thinking about laying down pea gravel or crushed granite/rock initially and then getting some edging for areas where they might want to plant (or for contrast) to fill mulch in. And probably will also get some pavers to section out a small area that would be flat for them to put a small bistro table on. 

The problem is, if we get the gravel or crushed rock through a supplier, we'd likely need to figure out a way to transport it (ala wheelbarrow) from the street to his condo. He does not have direct drive-up access to his front yard area so there's just no way they would be able to pull up to dump it. Also, I'm pretty sure the association won't let the truck dump the gravel in the street or in front of their garage haha.

I estimated that he'll probably need close to 1.75 tons of gravel to get a 3" gravel or crushed rock base in that 15x9ft area. Currently it's just a cement walkway and slab that are about 4-5" up from the dirt (or I think this is road base since it's new construction and is in an enclosed area).

Any ideas or advice?

I did that kind of wheelbarrow job last year in about 3-4 hours (no rush) so 2 healthy dudes with 2 shovel and 2 wheelbarrow can achieve this in less than 2 hours. Can't believe they wont let you do this if asked politely, aks the best timeframe to do it and schedual the job accordingly. Pros are not bothering with that kind of detail and still do jobs everywhere, anytime, make noise, dirt etc

Hmmm, so I'm assuming the truck would end up still having to dump all the gravel somewhere and then you'd just shovel it in and wheelbarrow it over? Doesn't sound like the truck driver would want to be waiting around for you to get all the gravel out haha.

Le Barbu

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1040
  • Age: 47
  • Location: Québec
  • I really didn’t say everything I said - Y. B.
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2015, 02:43:23 PM »
Hey guys,

I'm hoping to help my buddy, who just got married and moved into a new condo complex, with DIYing his front patio area. We were thinking about laying down pea gravel or crushed granite/rock initially and then getting some edging for areas where they might want to plant (or for contrast) to fill mulch in. And probably will also get some pavers to section out a small area that would be flat for them to put a small bistro table on. 

The problem is, if we get the gravel or crushed rock through a supplier, we'd likely need to figure out a way to transport it (ala wheelbarrow) from the street to his condo. He does not have direct drive-up access to his front yard area so there's just no way they would be able to pull up to dump it. Also, I'm pretty sure the association won't let the truck dump the gravel in the street or in front of their garage haha.

I estimated that he'll probably need close to 1.75 tons of gravel to get a 3" gravel or crushed rock base in that 15x9ft area. Currently it's just a cement walkway and slab that are about 4-5" up from the dirt (or I think this is road base since it's new construction and is in an enclosed area).

Any ideas or advice?

I did that kind of wheelbarrow job last year in about 3-4 hours (no rush) so 2 healthy dudes with 2 shovel and 2 wheelbarrow can achieve this in less than 2 hours. Can't believe they wont let you do this if asked politely, aks the best timeframe to do it and schedual the job accordingly. Pros are not bothering with that kind of detail and still do jobs everywhere, anytime, make noise, dirt etc

Hmmm, so I'm assuming the truck would end up still having to dump all the gravel somewhere and then you'd just shovel it in and wheelbarrow it over? Doesn't sound like the truck driver would want to be waiting around for you to get all the gravel out haha.

Usualy, they dump where you ask them to do so. If you want more "security" ad some orange cones and if you want to reduce the mess, ad a cheap tarp on the gound before it dumps (not recomended if not necessery i.e. on grass). Make sur you got some serious shovel and wheelbarrows with 40psi tire presure.

jba302

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 623
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2015, 02:54:36 PM »
This summer I got a load of gravel delivered to my house, 5 yards worth. I couldn't get it delivered to the back yard due to power lines. They dumped it in my driveway and I moved it by wheelbarrow to the back yard. The driveway is uphill but a short trip, maybe 40 feet.  It took around 4-5 hours. I think with a buddy and 2 wheel barrows you could probably take it out in 30 minutes.

Fishindude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2003
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2015, 02:55:37 PM »
15' x 9' x 3" thickness = 1.25 CY
A cubic yard of stone weighs approx. 3,000 LBS, so you are looking at approx. 3,750 lbs of material.
A standard wheelbarrow can easily haul 200 LBS of stone at a time = 19 trips from the pile.   

Just have it dumped in the road or driveway.
No fun, but not a horrible job with a little help.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2015, 02:59:08 PM »
Thanks guys! Do you think 3" high would be enough for the gravel or crushed rock? Especially considering the cement path/slabs in place are about 4-5" or so? For the small patios/yards in new condo construction, do they usually put down road base? The dirt out there just looks super-compacted. The concern there is if gravel is *enough* to just pour over the existing dirt (e.g. in case it rains hard, he wouldn't want it to be a mess out there or for it to be all muddy and things shifting around). I supposed crushed rock would give a more stable base either way. Especially if they decide to install pavers later down the road.


nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10056
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2015, 03:02:26 PM »
15' x 9' x 3" thickness = 1.25 CY
A cubic yard of stone weighs approx. 3,000 LBS, so you are looking at approx. 3,750 lbs of material.
A standard wheelbarrow can easily haul 200 LBS of stone at a time = 19 trips from the pile.   

Just have it dumped in the road or driveway.
No fun, but not a horrible job with a little help.
+1.  Last year I had 3CY of crushed aggrigate delivered to use in some drainage ditches behind my house.  The closest the truck could come was maybe 50 yards away.  I was able to move all that stone in a long afternoon, and I got a great workout to boot!

A two-man team should make it simple - have one guy spreading the gravel at site while the other runs back and forth with the wheelbarrow.  Switch every 20 minutes or 5 loads.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2015, 03:46:24 PM »
Any advice on how high the gravel should come up to where the concrete walkway/slab are at? I'm thinking he probably wouldn't want for it to be level with the concrete... but maybe 1-2" lower?

dess1313

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 442
  • Location: Manitoba Canada
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2015, 08:58:15 PM »
i would do at least a 3in base of crushed rock.  we have 3/4 down and 1/4 down limestone.  the 3/4 is good for a base, the 1/4 for finishing and leveling.  I just did my own patio and we had almost 2 cubic yards of crushed delivered, had to move it about 25 feet and it was no problem with a good wheelbarrow and shovel.  Get a good compactor from your local hardware place, and make sure the base is compacted well or else you'll have problems with it sinking down the road.  If you know what  stone/slab you are using, do your math and raise the crush stuff so that there is just enough room for your brick to come flush with your existing sidewalk.  Its not hard, just have to do a bit of testing.  A good 4x4 treated timber is a good way to help hold it all together.  Drill a hole and slam some 12-24in rebar through it to hold the 4x4 in place.  Stabilizes your whole patio area, and you can use the 4x4 as a guide when you're laying crushed rock and to help level it with a scree bar.  I would suggest just putting in paver bricks all over.   crushed stuff could be muddy/messy. There's a ton of beautiful brick out there that's easy to lay

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2015, 10:15:39 PM »
i would do at least a 3in base of crushed rock.  we have 3/4 down and 1/4 down limestone.  the 3/4 is good for a base, the 1/4 for finishing and leveling.  I just did my own patio and we had almost 2 cubic yards of crushed delivered, had to move it about 25 feet and it was no problem with a good wheelbarrow and shovel.  Get a good compactor from your local hardware place, and make sure the base is compacted well or else you'll have problems with it sinking down the road.  If you know what  stone/slab you are using, do your math and raise the crush stuff so that there is just enough room for your brick to come flush with your existing sidewalk.  Its not hard, just have to do a bit of testing.  A good 4x4 treated timber is a good way to help hold it all together.  Drill a hole and slam some 12-24in rebar through it to hold the 4x4 in place.  Stabilizes your whole patio area, and you can use the 4x4 as a guide when you're laying crushed rock and to help level it with a scree bar.  I would suggest just putting in paver bricks all over.   crushed stuff could be muddy/messy. There's a ton of beautiful brick out there that's easy to lay

Thanks. My friend measured how high up from the dirt the concrete is and says it's closer to 4" and maybe 4.25" in some spots. If that's the case, anything more than an inch in terms of base seems like too much. Does he need to excavate it more? As I mentioned, I have a feeling the existing dirt plot is road base that has been compacted down already... if that's the case, is he okay with just getting 1" of crushed rock filled in, then doing 1" of sand and 2" pavers or flagstones if he wants a hard surface? He's considering putting mulch down as well and maybe creating walkways with gravel or more crushed rock. But if he wants to do pavers/flagstones, I don't think he'd want to put too high of a base in right?

dess1313

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 442
  • Location: Manitoba Canada
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2015, 08:23:10 PM »
So my process was this
I cheated, i had nothing to really remove, more build up than anything.  lots of bad grade to fix.  anywhere from 3-5 inches in some spaces had to be filled in
Most bricks are 1 3/4 or 2 inches deep
2 inches of base might be barely enough.  you could shave off an inch or so quickly with a bit of shovel work
i did 1/4down limestone as my entire base.  not the perfect way but it worked for me
My yard was stable for 15 something years without being touched
I put my 4x4 timbers around and pounded them in.  drilled holes for the long rebar.  make sure you check where your underground wires and stuff are before you do this.  this is the perfect time to pick your grade angles and such
I wheelbarrowed in the limestone and spread around approximately 1/2 in below what i wanted for my brick level. 
rented a little compactor from the hardware store and packed it all.  filled in the voids and ran around with it again.  take the hose and wet it slightly to remove the dust that will get kicked up
Then i shoveled in some loose 1/4 down and spread it around with a board till it was level at the exact level i wanted.  only needed about a 1/2 inch or so.  sometimes 3/4 inch
Started laying slabs and had a small pail next to me to fix the odd low spot i would find.  get a nice 4ft level that you check your grade and level of your bricks as you go.  the 1/4 down is pretty loose and is very small so its fairly close to what sand purpose is.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2015, 11:13:24 AM »
So my process was this
I cheated, i had nothing to really remove, more build up than anything.  lots of bad grade to fix.  anywhere from 3-5 inches in some spaces had to be filled in
Most bricks are 1 3/4 or 2 inches deep
2 inches of base might be barely enough.  you could shave off an inch or so quickly with a bit of shovel work
i did 1/4down limestone as my entire base.  not the perfect way but it worked for me
My yard was stable for 15 something years without being touched
I put my 4x4 timbers around and pounded them in.  drilled holes for the long rebar.  make sure you check where your underground wires and stuff are before you do this.  this is the perfect time to pick your grade angles and such
I wheelbarrowed in the limestone and spread around approximately 1/2 in below what i wanted for my brick level. 
rented a little compactor from the hardware store and packed it all.  filled in the voids and ran around with it again.  take the hose and wet it slightly to remove the dust that will get kicked up
Then i shoveled in some loose 1/4 down and spread it around with a board till it was level at the exact level i wanted.  only needed about a 1/2 inch or so.  sometimes 3/4 inch
Started laying slabs and had a small pail next to me to fix the odd low spot i would find.  get a nice 4ft level that you check your grade and level of your bricks as you go.  the 1/4 down is pretty loose and is very small so its fairly close to what sand purpose is.

Wow, the rebar+timbers sounds pretty heavy duty haha. Plus, he doesn't have much height to work with at 4-5" max. At this rate, I don't think he wants to do full on pavers across the entire area. What he's thinking about doing is laying all around and then mulching a strip near one of the walls to plant stuff. He's still not sure yet. His wife really wants spaced flagstones throughout the patio but he'd rather have a separate gravel/rock path and and sitting/table area where the flagstones are underneath. He's probably going to have a contractor come out and deliver the 2" base of crushed rock... although, i'm not sure if he's going to tamp it down or anything.

BTW: regarding the limestone, "1/4 down" is the actual size grain of the limestone? And you used 1/4 down for the entire thing? How many inches of limestone would you say you initially put in for the first layer that you compacted before laying in the loose 1/4 down and laying pavers?
« Last Edit: October 30, 2015, 11:20:35 AM by jplee3 »

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2015, 04:36:41 PM »
Some pictures (these are older though):


This is a view from as if you were walking out of the front door into the patio. There is a concrete slab (prob 3'x3' to the right in front the sliding glass door). The pipe with the red paint is the drain and has been cut down and currently has an atrium gate installed over it.



This is a view from the path outside of their patio facing the front of their unit.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2015, 07:31:40 PM »
Here's a recent pic.... is that roadbase?


dess1313

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 442
  • Location: Manitoba Canada
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2015, 07:53:54 PM »
The 4x4s were because i had nothing around the edge to hold my stuff in place especially since i was building up and not digging down.  You have a nice wall to hold everything in place it seems

1/4 down i believe technically is 1/4 inch diameter crushed limestone(the biggest parts are 1/4 in, the smallest is almost like sand, its a nice mixture).  3/4 is 3/4 inch diameter i believe with some smaller stuff. I did use 1/4 for the entire thing, but if i had to put a deeper base i would have used a layer of 3/4 down then finished it with the 1/4 down

The flagstones aren't very deep looking, maybe a inch at most depending on the source?  If you did a treated timber between the planting area and the flagstone area might be good.  it would keep the dirt from getting mixed into the flagstone/limestone.  I would just fill it with the 1/4 down up to the flagstone level, get a hand tamper, pound it a little to get it settled.  spread around just a little loose limestone and put your flagstones in.  Fill in the cracks with the loose stuff.  Check it with a level as you go.  If you don't want to have flagstone everywhere leave some depth in the limestone, and get some nice crushed rock and fill it in with that.  Shouldn't be much more than a weekend project.  Mine was a 20x20 patio plus sidewalk, with some work shifts in between all the yard work

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2015, 10:00:33 PM »
The 4x4s were because i had nothing around the edge to hold my stuff in place especially since i was building up and not digging down.  You have a nice wall to hold everything in place it seems

1/4 down i believe technically is 1/4 inch diameter crushed limestone(the biggest parts are 1/4 in, the smallest is almost like sand, its a nice mixture).  3/4 is 3/4 inch diameter i believe with some smaller stuff. I did use 1/4 for the entire thing, but if i had to put a deeper base i would have used a layer of 3/4 down then finished it with the 1/4 down

The flagstones aren't very deep looking, maybe a inch at most depending on the source?  If you did a treated timber between the planting area and the flagstone area might be good.  it would keep the dirt from getting mixed into the flagstone/limestone.  I would just fill it with the 1/4 down up to the flagstone level, get a hand tamper, pound it a little to get it settled.  spread around just a little loose limestone and put your flagstones in.  Fill in the cracks with the loose stuff.  Check it with a level as you go.  If you don't want to have flagstone everywhere leave some depth in the limestone, and get some nice crushed rock and fill it in with that.  Shouldn't be much more than a weekend project.  Mine was a 20x20 patio plus sidewalk, with some work shifts in between all the yard work

Ah, thanks for clarification around the framing. Yea sounds like he won't need it then. And I like the idea of doing it in different levels. We were trying to figure out what to do - his landscape guy says decomposed granite would be another option. But now it sounds like the landsaping guys is backtracking and saying he'll only do the work if it's $500 or more. prior to this he quoted my friend around $400 to fill the area with crushed rock. Unless he specifically is saying he works a $500 minimum for decomposed granite specifically. I think my friend is bugging him too much and probably just wants to get him off his back by giving him a minimum at this point in time - I can see how that would be annoying. No problem though - he just needs to find someone who can basically come and deliver either 1/4" crushed limestone or decomposed granite, and the rest we can handle ourselves it sounds like.

dess1313

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 442
  • Location: Manitoba Canada
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2015, 05:02:02 PM »
If you just go to a landscaping place, most will offer some sort of delivery.  get a nice tarp and wheel barrow and shovel and its only a few hours of work to do.  sounds like a worse project than it is. 

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2015, 07:22:52 PM »
If you just go to a landscaping place, most will offer some sort of delivery.  get a nice tarp and wheel barrow and shovel and its only a few hours of work to do.  sounds like a worse project than it is.

My friend went to home depot and they told him all he needs is to pour paver sand and lay the pavers. It doesn't seem like it would be *that* easy. He really doesn't seem to want to deal with shoveling and using the wheelbarrow at his place... I think his neighbors kinda set the bar in that nearly all of their patios look pretty crappy. So the more and more he thinks about it, the more he seems to want to cut corners and do things the easy way. Considering he's never researched or done anything like this before, I don't think he has tempered his expectations.

He was asking if he could just get this stuff and pour it in before setting the bricks:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-48-lb-Leveling-Sand-98000/100343385

It seems like that would work and probably be OK but he'd have to get like 40 bags of that stuff and could probably get it for less from a landscape place/nursery. However, this goes back to the whole point of him doing it vs him paying someone to do it. i think he's afraid to DIY even that part because of the labor and probably not wanting to enlist a few more friends, which is why he was originally OK with paying a guy to do it. Now he's having second thoughts probably because of penny pinching. He wants it cheap but either thinks someone else will do it for cheap or thinks it'll be easy. I keep telling him: good, fast, cheap - pick any two. Hahaha, I don't think it has sunk in yet.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2015, 07:52:35 PM by jplee3 »

andyp2010

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 93
  • Location: NZ
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2015, 08:20:39 PM »
If you contact an arborist, they will usually deliver mulch/chippings for free. It costs them to dump and they have unbelievable amounts of the stuff. They wont even consider it cheeky for you to ask.

dess1313

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 442
  • Location: Manitoba Canada
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2015, 08:18:27 PM »
If you just go to a landscaping place, most will offer some sort of delivery.  get a nice tarp and wheel barrow and shovel and its only a few hours of work to do.  sounds like a worse project than it is.

My friend went to home depot and they told him all he needs is to pour paver sand and lay the pavers. It doesn't seem like it would be *that* easy. He really doesn't seem to want to deal with shoveling and using the wheelbarrow at his place... I think his neighbors kinda set the bar in that nearly all of their patios look pretty crappy. So the more and more he thinks about it, the more he seems to want to cut corners and do things the easy way. Considering he's never researched or done anything like this before, I don't think he has tempered his expectations.

He was asking if he could just get this stuff and pour it in before setting the bricks:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-48-lb-Leveling-Sand-98000/100343385

It seems like that would work and probably be OK but he'd have to get like 40 bags of that stuff and could probably get it for less from a landscape place/nursery. However, this goes back to the whole point of him doing it vs him paying someone to do it. i think he's afraid to DIY even that part because of the labor and probably not wanting to enlist a few more friends, which is why he was originally OK with paying a guy to do it. Now he's having second thoughts probably because of penny pinching. He wants it cheap but either thinks someone else will do it for cheap or thinks it'll be easy. I keep telling him: good, fast, cheap - pick any two. Hahaha, I don't think it has sunk in yet.

Good fast or cheap....only 2 of the above....yep!!!!  It takes some work.  is he handy at all?  If he won't even throw sand around with a shovel, then i don't know if he's really going to be game for this.  if he gets frustrated and throws his hands up half way through of course it will be crappy looking.  Buying in bulk from a landscaping place is almost always going to be cheaper, but what's the difference between dragging 40 something bags and borrowing a wheelbarrow for a day?  Sand might be okay for the top layer but remember he has that grate thing there, if its below the level of the brick it will likely wash out.  if the grate will be above the bricks, then it might be okay.  You can get bags of crushed limestone too.  people get just a bag or two for doing fence posts and such.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2015, 10:35:42 AM »
If you just go to a landscaping place, most will offer some sort of delivery.  get a nice tarp and wheel barrow and shovel and its only a few hours of work to do.  sounds like a worse project than it is.

My friend went to home depot and they told him all he needs is to pour paver sand and lay the pavers. It doesn't seem like it would be *that* easy. He really doesn't seem to want to deal with shoveling and using the wheelbarrow at his place... I think his neighbors kinda set the bar in that nearly all of their patios look pretty crappy. So the more and more he thinks about it, the more he seems to want to cut corners and do things the easy way. Considering he's never researched or done anything like this before, I don't think he has tempered his expectations.

He was asking if he could just get this stuff and pour it in before setting the bricks:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-48-lb-Leveling-Sand-98000/100343385

It seems like that would work and probably be OK but he'd have to get like 40 bags of that stuff and could probably get it for less from a landscape place/nursery. However, this goes back to the whole point of him doing it vs him paying someone to do it. i think he's afraid to DIY even that part because of the labor and probably not wanting to enlist a few more friends, which is why he was originally OK with paying a guy to do it. Now he's having second thoughts probably because of penny pinching. He wants it cheap but either thinks someone else will do it for cheap or thinks it'll be easy. I keep telling him: good, fast, cheap - pick any two. Hahaha, I don't think it has sunk in yet.

Good fast or cheap....only 2 of the above....yep!!!!  It takes some work.  is he handy at all?  If he won't even throw sand around with a shovel, then i don't know if he's really going to be game for this.  if he gets frustrated and throws his hands up half way through of course it will be crappy looking.  Buying in bulk from a landscaping place is almost always going to be cheaper, but what's the difference between dragging 40 something bags and borrowing a wheelbarrow for a day?  Sand might be okay for the top layer but remember he has that grate thing there, if its below the level of the brick it will likely wash out.  if the grate will be above the bricks, then it might be okay.  You can get bags of crushed limestone too.  people get just a bag or two for doing fence posts and such.

I don't think he's too handy but he's learning [slowly]. He was having trouble putting up curtain rods in the new place and ended up drilling multiple holes in the walls before getting it right. I think his concerns about getting sand or material dumped around the condo is more around what his neighbors will think of it - he thinks they won't like it and that the HOA won't be happy. I keep telling him it's worth asking them and giving them a time window of when you'd do it. He also has this perception that it'll leave a mess and is so much work to shovel all the stuff and keep running it back and forth. I told him the contractor would *likely* be doing it this way anyway... if he doesn't want the contractor to do it, and the contractor would do it the exact same way, why would he want to deviate from that?
Anyway, he keeps implying that it's too much trouble and would be easier carrying bags through the garage and then condo's bonus room into the yard - the unit is such that the garage entry goes into a bonus room and the sliding glass door to the patio is right there. I see what he's saying, because that actually would be 'closer' in terms of getting material in. But that is A LOT of material to be hauling on your shoulder and just seems like it would end up being pretty inefficient. Those .5cu ft bags of sand or material he's thinking of weigh a lot (at least 50lbs each right?). So again, it goes back to good, fast and cheap pick any two. I'm not sure he gets it... or I think he's burying his head in the sand and thinking he can have all three. I'll just let him make the decision - he'll learn the hard way I guess. He seems to have the tendency to get in over his head with things like this. I too have that tendency so I guess I shouldn't talk hahahaha.

As far as the sand, it's called "paver sand" from Home Depot and it seems more course than regular joint sand or beach sand. Quite a few larger pieces of rock intermixed. I still think it would get through the atrium gate though. Maybe he can pour some crushed rock around the grate itself if he is insistent on going this route.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2015, 10:37:57 AM by jplee3 »

dess1313

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 442
  • Location: Manitoba Canada
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2015, 05:51:05 PM »
If you're going through the house and wanting to do it that way, consider grabbing a furniture mover.  my place is similar.  depending on if you have many stairs or not, you'd be able to move it slightly easier that way.  I've loaded a rubermaid tote on one of the little flat ones and filled it and moved it that way.  other times i put on on an upright one that can do stairs.  I also have some mats i'll roll out to protect my flooring when ever i need to go through my living room with its carpet.  $25 in cheap long rugs sure do well at protecting my carpet/flooring.  sounds like he might be slightly in over his head for this, but then some us need to learn by doing, and then fixing it, then doing it again!

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2015, 09:49:51 PM »
If you're going through the house and wanting to do it that way, consider grabbing a furniture mover.  my place is similar.  depending on if you have many stairs or not, you'd be able to move it slightly easier that way.  I've loaded a rubermaid tote on one of the little flat ones and filled it and moved it that way.  other times i put on on an upright one that can do stairs.  I also have some mats i'll roll out to protect my flooring when ever i need to go through my living room with its carpet.  $25 in cheap long rugs sure do well at protecting my carpet/flooring.  sounds like he might be slightly in over his head for this, but then some us need to learn by doing, and then fixing it, then doing it again!

You mean one of those rolling platforms? He only has a couple steps up from the garage and that's it. It's not that bad but he'd have to figure out how to actually transport the base material especially if it doesn't come in bags or anything. I have some leftover ram board from a paver install that was done on my patio not too long ago. So I can bring that over. I think he is slightly in over his head but he seems super excited to tackle it as a first time thing... it would be a good experience for me too haha. Definitely not too over our heads for first-time patio work. We'll see how it goes.

dess1313

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 442
  • Location: Manitoba Canada
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2015, 10:38:04 PM »
these are what i have.  the tall one does stairs usually.  if you lifted it up the 3 stairs then dumped it on the flat dolly it would do the rest of the work for you.  pull it up to the other doorway and dump it.  for sure use some larger grit or stone around the floor drain.  sand will eventually get washed away

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11715
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2015, 11:00:58 PM »
If you are more excited than he is, back away and get his plan. Its his place, and although its nice of you to offer to lend a hand, ultimately whatever is wrong will end up being your fault if you take it away from him. Don't own the mess if it goes sideways.

Having said that, and only skimmed through the thread, I would call an aggregate supplier and ask for "A-gravel" sometimes called roadbed. Lay it in to your 3" depth, sloped at least at 2% in the best direction for drainage. You need to get the slope going away from the building and out from the corners of the patio or you will end up with ponding/puddles in the corners. Get a good compactor or plate tamper and pack it good and flat.

Once you are satisfied with the slopes for drainage, come in with rock dust or sand and stringlines and lay out your bed. Now you can put in pavers or interlock over the sand.

With the pavers in place, follow up with polymeric sand. This is sand with s cement-like compound that  you sweep into the spaces between pavers. The sand will lock everything in place, then harden to prevent weeds growing in the cracks.

For cutting/breaking slabs, there are a few techniques you can use. A cold chisel and a hammer is both cool and gives you a feeling of brute power. A second method is to get the cheapest skilsaw available (seriously - aim for $20) and a masonary blade. Score the paver while dribbling water along the cutline, then tap it with a hammer to get it to snap along the cutline. Test the GFCI's before doing this as water and power tools can be a bad combo.

Our last hardscape project was a retaining wall and pool deck that near killed me. I built the wall in spurts of 2 hours after work, then brought in a pro for teh pool deck once I had burnt up too much of the summer.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2015, 10:02:47 AM »
If you are more excited than he is, back away and get his plan. Its his place, and although its nice of you to offer to lend a hand, ultimately whatever is wrong will end up being your fault if you take it away from him. Don't own the mess if it goes sideways.

Having said that, and only skimmed through the thread, I would call an aggregate supplier and ask for "A-gravel" sometimes called roadbed. Lay it in to your 3" depth, sloped at least at 2% in the best direction for drainage. You need to get the slope going away from the building and out from the corners of the patio or you will end up with ponding/puddles in the corners. Get a good compactor or plate tamper and pack it good and flat.

Once you are satisfied with the slopes for drainage, come in with rock dust or sand and stringlines and lay out your bed. Now you can put in pavers or interlock over the sand.

With the pavers in place, follow up with polymeric sand. This is sand with s cement-like compound that  you sweep into the spaces between pavers. The sand will lock everything in place, then harden to prevent weeds growing in the cracks.

For cutting/breaking slabs, there are a few techniques you can use. A cold chisel and a hammer is both cool and gives you a feeling of brute power. A second method is to get the cheapest skilsaw available (seriously - aim for $20) and a masonary blade. Score the paver while dribbling water along the cutline, then tap it with a hammer to get it to snap along the cutline. Test the GFCI's before doing this as water and power tools can be a bad combo.

Our last hardscape project was a retaining wall and pool deck that near killed me. I built the wall in spurts of 2 hours after work, then brought in a pro for teh pool deck once I had burnt up too much of the summer.

Thanks for the tips. I think at first I might have been. But I have backed off a bit - I basically gave him my ideas and then he started bouncing back and forth between a bunch. Now he's debating between pavers vs flagstone; leaning towards flagstone. I basically told him that he can do whatever he wants but that pavers will probably be more intensive and take more time and effort to get right versus flagstone (just because you have to be meticulous about putting down each paver a certain way and in the right formation, etc).

Is this "roadbed" the same as "road base"? And as far as grading, I've always wondered what the best technique is to get what you say is a "2% slope" - how do you practically measure that out? I understand having a level is important but how do you know it's 2% or whatever?

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11715
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2015, 10:30:07 AM »
on your job, easiest is to go with "a quarter bubble" as a close-enough measure of slope. Set a level on a staright 2X4. Lift one end until 1/4 of the bubble is outside the line. prop it up with whatever. That's your slope.

Proper way involves math boning rods and levels/total stations. but since you're just building a patio, no use sweating it.

IMO pavers are way easier than dealing with the irregularities of setting natural flagstone.

Dunno about roadbed vs road base - there are very local names for aggregates in different areas. I think A-gravel is universally recognized engineering term.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2015, 12:38:49 PM »
So a couple people recommended that he just fill 2" of sand over the existing base since the soil is so compacted already. He was looking at "washed plaster (masonry) sand" - http://www.southcoastsupplyinc.com/bagged.php

Would that be sufficient as a 2" top-base over the current packed-dirt that's there? My concern is with the packed dirt that's exposed now - if it gets muddy after a rain or getting wet, then I would think any sand over that would be prone to shifting right? I told him to run some water over the area as it is to get an idea of how muddy it actually is or if it just drains off well. I think if it drains pretty well, then sand might be the answer.

The sand would be half the cost of the decomposed granite.

The other question would be around the drain/atrium grate. I was thinking he should pour some 3/4" to 1" sized rocks around it to prevent sand from getting into the drain while we're working on things. He was talking about putting a coffee can of the grate too which is probably a good idea. But i'm thinking longer-term in terms of avoiding having sand filling the drain and clogging it.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 12:42:57 PM by jplee3 »

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2015, 10:06:15 PM »
So he's also considering natural flagstone that isn't pre-cut. He has been talking with a supplier and mostly all they have is natural flagstone. He's thinking all we'll need is a chisel or two and hammers to cut them ourselves. But that seems kind of labor intensive and will draw out the overall process for laying the stones... what do you guys think? Is he getting too over his head at this point in time with thinking about having us cut natural flagstone in addition to installing everything?

tkainz

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Central Colorado Mountains
    • TEKnical Services
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2015, 09:03:56 AM »
While I see a lot of on-topic and excellent suggestions pertaining to the various landscaping options, I haven't seen too much discussion about the association itself.  While Homeowner Associations (HOAs), in principle, server a good purpose, like any entity, they can also be woefully mismanaged and abused.  My last home was a condo (1 of 232 in the complex) and managed by an association board.  Like you, I had a small patio that I wanted to "landscape"  I figured that the patio was "mine" (as part of the condo purchase) but I ended up being wrong on that one!  A fine reading of the deed indicated that the patios were "Exclusive use common area" which in layman's terms ended up meaning that the patio belonged to the association as common area but that I had exclusive use of it as the homeowner.  The bottom line, as it ended up, was that I could not do ANYTHING to the patio without prior, written, permission from the association.  Unfortunately, I learned all of this AFTER I completed the landscaping project.

My project?  The patio was 10 x 14 with nothing but a small cement slab outside the back sliding door.  I cemented in the whole patio and then topped that with a beautiful red Mexican tile.  The "eye catcher" was an above ground waterfall / coy pond that was about 2 feet deep and was up against the outside walls of the patio.  The "pond" had 2 tiers with a small waterfall, was stuccoed to match the building with the cinderblock walls of the pond topped with tile to match the floor.  It was gorgeous.  UNFORTUNATELY... after numerous meetings and threats from the association, I had no choice but to remove the pond else I would get drawn into an expensive battle with the association and their (on retainer) attorney.

So... my precautionary statement... Be sure of what you CAN do versus what you want to do, and work WITH the association to get the necessary permissions before a lot of time and money is invested.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: DIY Landscaping a small 15x9 foot space
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2015, 10:17:58 AM »
While I see a lot of on-topic and excellent suggestions pertaining to the various landscaping options, I haven't seen too much discussion about the association itself.  While Homeowner Associations (HOAs), in principle, server a good purpose, like any entity, they can also be woefully mismanaged and abused.  My last home was a condo (1 of 232 in the complex) and managed by an association board.  Like you, I had a small patio that I wanted to "landscape"  I figured that the patio was "mine" (as part of the condo purchase) but I ended up being wrong on that one!  A fine reading of the deed indicated that the patios were "Exclusive use common area" which in layman's terms ended up meaning that the patio belonged to the association as common area but that I had exclusive use of it as the homeowner.  The bottom line, as it ended up, was that I could not do ANYTHING to the patio without prior, written, permission from the association.  Unfortunately, I learned all of this AFTER I completed the landscaping project.

My project?  The patio was 10 x 14 with nothing but a small cement slab outside the back sliding door.  I cemented in the whole patio and then topped that with a beautiful red Mexican tile.  The "eye catcher" was an above ground waterfall / coy pond that was about 2 feet deep and was up against the outside walls of the patio.  The "pond" had 2 tiers with a small waterfall, was stuccoed to match the building with the cinderblock walls of the pond topped with tile to match the floor.  It was gorgeous.  UNFORTUNATELY... after numerous meetings and threats from the association, I had no choice but to remove the pond else I would get drawn into an expensive battle with the association and their (on retainer) attorney.

So... my precautionary statement... Be sure of what you CAN do versus what you want to do, and work WITH the association to get the necessary permissions before a lot of time and money is invested.

Thanks for the reminder. Yea the HOA is pretty good about making sure the homeowners know to submit an approval form. My buddy basically has to draw out at least an idea of what his patio will look like as well as all the materials and it goes to the board for approval. He's already done it once and is planning to send another drawing and mock-up in soon with the changes. He was saying the HOA there seems relatively lenient about this stuff. And judging by what most of his neighbors have done, they really are... LOL