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Are you aware that most cities do not tax your patio if you put down concrete paving stones? Build it up with wood and you have to pay tax on it. If you have sod where you propose to build your patio, remove the sod, tamp down a good layer of stone chips or gravel, screed it level. Lay your paving stones as close together as possible and then sweep fine sand across the joints to fill them.
The sand used to 'set' paving stones in place is a special sand made for this purpose, called polymeric sand.
These are two articles that show how we took our small and sad deck and turned it into a gorgeous entertainment space complete with a pergola. Hope they help with some inspiration! Hugs, Holly