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.
I Created a Heart-shaped Patio
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 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!
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.
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.
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!
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)