How do you best prepare a small ground area to make a patio?


I have a small 12’ x7’ dirt area that we would like to use as a patio area. Our three rescue dogs love this area as their place to dig. We have tried mulch all around the patio table and chairs, but the pups considered it fair game. So I’ve decided to to try to make this small area into a real patio as cheaply as possible. But I’m not sure where to begin. There is a brick walkway around our home including this small area which separates it from the grass. How is it best to even out the dirt and what type of pavers should be used? I’m 60+ and need advice on the the least troublesome way to make this area enjoyable for us.

q how do you best prepare a small ground area to make a patio

12’x7’ dirt area that has a brick walkway separating it from the grassy area.

  4 answers
  • Franny Monaghan Lathe Franny Monaghan Lathe on Aug 20, 2018

    I have an area like that I used pea gravel . I have a yorkie that likes to poop there so I just hose it down.

  • Karen Brunck Karen Brunck on Aug 20, 2018

    Hi Libby. You would need to start by removing all the dirt and mulch down to about an inch below the bricks lining the area. Gently grade along the house so no water pools at the foundation. Next step is to add some good quality landscape/weed barrier to the entire area. Add a base of concrete dust up to level with the bottom of the bricks. It needs to be compacted down until firm and level. The least expensive are the concrete squares sold at any home improvement store. Lay these on top of the base. You can add or remove some base to get each square level. When all pavers are set, throw a bunch of the base over top, then sweep it into all the joints. Finally, hose it all down to wash the sand off and into the joints to set the dust. The easiest way is to hire a local landscape individual, as the labor and materials are quite heavy. It's fun and satisfying to do it yourself though!😀

  • Wendy Wendy on Aug 20, 2018

    The cheapest way would be to concrete it. You’d have to dig down about 3” to do a decent slab..Depending on your ability to lift they make different sized bags of quickcrete that you can mix in a wheelbarrow and pour use a 2x4 starting at the furthest edge to level across the top. wait the allotted time and you have a patio.. You can frame it or not we’ve done free form and framed. Most of the bags will tell you on the back how many you’ll need for a given area or give you a formula to figure it out..

    • See 2 previous
    • Wendy Wendy on Aug 20, 2018

      On that small of an area you don’t usually have to. We poured one for our hot tub and it’s still there un-cracked of course the hot tub went out and we got rid of that but nary a crack!!

  • Jody Jody on Aug 20, 2018

    We have a rock quarry 10 miles from us. We had to remove the carport, dig down to the footers, reinforce the footers, waterproofed the block, then hubby decided quarry dust was the cheapest way to go. It’s the dust they wash off the gravel. DUH. I didn’t know.

    Anyway, if that’s an option, they deliver it and dump it. You rake and smooth it out. Wet it several times. We got gravel and dust. That was about 20 years ago. The only cracks in the concrete we put on top are the few fine lines no major cracks.

    According to your dimrnsions, if you pour concrete you’ll need if 3” thick. You’ll want wire like hog wire and/or some rebar. Scraps work great for this project.

    You can design sign in a curb next to the house, it needs to slope 4”/100’ away from the house. My brother poured theirs using the bags from Lowe’s, they bought pottery and dishes from yard sales and such. Laid the broken pieces on the green concrete with mastic. Then grouted with concrete. The whole thing cured together. There’s I’d 12’ square. I have those 12” concrete squares. They are $3/ each plus I paid someone to help lay them. Mine are in sand with river rock and sedum and thyme. Smells good. But concrete is going to be cheaper.

    With all the ideas this group has you should have a really nice patio. And I’m in my 70’s. 🤗