I had replaced some rectangular bricks that were around my bark beds with another style of brick so I decided to use those bricks in the garden area. I had several rectangular bricks laying on the ground in the spot where I thought a seating area would be nice. I must have rearranged the bricks 5 or 6 times.
I Created a Heart-shaped Patio
My landscape goal this summer was to create an oasis of sorts in the garden area of our backyard. We have a very large Maple tree in the center of this area and some of the grass does not grow well due to the shade it provides. There are also two 4' x 8' raised garden beds. Both of those things make mowing difficult. So....I decided to make some changes.
Deciding on design
I moved the bricks close together and set the Adirondack chairs on them only to find out that design would be too small. I spread them out in the same shape and just didn't like it.
I stretched them from the tree bench to the garden in a rectangle pattern.
I finally settled on a triangle shape with the base of the triangle closest to the garden and the point closest to the tree. After I had all the bricks in a triangle shape, I bought a few pieces of flagstone to increase the size of the seating area. A friend of mine stopped by to help me load some sod that I was going to take to her house. She looked at my patio-to-be and asked, 'Is that supposed to be a heart? It looks like a heart.' I looked at the bricks and said, 'Well, yes, evidently it is!' So, decision made - the patio would be in a heart shape!
Prepping the area
Since the area where this patio is being constructed is level, I chose not to remove the sod. Besides, by this time, since the bricks had been on the grass for a few weeks, the grass below and around them had already started to die from lack of sunlight and water. I figured with the weight of the bricks and sand & rocks I would be adding, the grass would not be an issue. So, I left the grass in place. To 'kill off' the grass between the bricks & flagstone, I used a mixture of white vinegar, dawn dish soap, and salt and applied it with a garden sprayer.
Now that the grass was pretty brown, it was time to create the patio. Even though the grass was brown and I'd be placing sand, rock & brick on it, I still chose to put down a weed/grass barrier. I had some brown paper grocery bags, newspaper & also landscape cloth on hand. I didn't have a lot of landscape cloth so I started with that and when I ran out, moved onto using the newspaper then the bags. When using paper bags or newspaper as a weed barrier, you will want to wet them down after placing them on the ground. Wetting the paper will help it stay in place while you work; especially if it's windy.
Laying the bricks
I started at the tip of the heart and worked my way to the larger section. Since I wanted to keep the design, I picked up a few bricks/flagstone at a time, laid down the weed barrier, covered it with sand, and then laid the bricks/flagstone back in place, shifting them as needed to keep the heart shape.
Since some of the flagstones were thinner than the bricks, I used extra sand to bring them level.
Bricks in place
When all the bricks & flagstone were set, it was time to bring in the rock.
I use a garden wagon to bring the materials to the backyard from where the truck is parked in the garage.
I bought both the sand & small landscape rock in bulk from a local landscape company; 1/4 yard of each.
After all the rock was set between the bricks & flagstone, it was time for the finishing touches. I like to use a sealer on my rock & flagstone for a couple of reasons: it gives them both shine and it 'glues' the rocks together a bit which helps prevent them from shifting when walked on. Don't get me wrong, they still move sometimes and end up on the bricks or flagstone, but only a few of them here and there.I buy the sealer at the same landscape place where I get the flagstone. It is $49/gallon but goes a long, long way! To apply the sealer, you just need an applicator. If you are only using it on the flagstone, you can use a small roller or paintbrush but if you are also using it on small rocks, it's best to use a sprayer. I bought this sprayer at Walmart for around $7 and have used it several times. The sealer is water-based so it doesn't clog up the spray mechanism. When applying the sealer, a couple of thin coats are best. If you put it on too heavily, it will be cloudy when it dries. To prevent cloudiness, I keep a foam paintbrush in hand and dab up any areas where the spray is too heavy.
Once the sealer was dry - it only takes an hour or so in warm weather - I added a border of dark mulch around the edges of the patio. I added the mulch to keep in the sand and small rock in place since I didn't use a landscape border. I say this on all the landscape posts I write, our soil is very rocky so installing the borders that need to be secured with stakes is just not feasible so I usually find other options to border my projects. The dark mulch really set off the heart shape and hubby and I loved it! I already knew that I'd be adding a lighter mulch to the surrounding area but until then, this mulch helped hold in the sand and little rocks.
Here is the patio after I added the lighter mulch and before the furniture was brought out.
With the rest of the mulch around the patio, it was time to add the furniture. Normally, I wouldn't have this much furniture on a patio this size; but, for some reason, we have a LOT of chairs in the backyard.
On top of that, hubby bought himself a rocker to have on the patio. We've set out there several times already!
Lots of shade
It stays cool in the shade of the Maple tree and you can't beat the scenery!Since I had the rectangle bricks, tools, sealer & sprayer, weed barrier and dark mulch, the cost of this patio was only $60. I think the sealer & weed barrier are optional but you would have the cost of additional bricks.Instructions:Remove grass or use product to 'kill' itNatural solution: 1 gallon white vinegar, 1 cup salt, 1/4 cup Dawn dish soapLay down weed barrierAdd a layer of sand over barrierSet bricks/flagstone in the pattern of your choiceIf bricks and flagstone are different thicknesses, level with sandAdd small rock between bricks/flagstoneSurround patio with mulch or add landscape borderApply sealer with garden sprayer (*optional)
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