Finally completed this is how i did it…………
The before photo looking towards the garage
This is what the townhouse developer installed 10 years ago. Basic slabs in multiple patterns.
The old patio along side the garage and neighbors fence
There is 1 foot all the way around the patio of useless space. We wanted to use it as we spent a lot of time outside in our tiny space.
All of the old slabs are pulled up. A buddy and I dug down about 8" from the original height. We used a normal flat. There wasn't a lot of room to work with here so each shovel of dirt had to be removed one bucket at a time through a garage doorway.
My beautiful dirt pile
A local company delivers yards of 3/4 crushed stone. They were were able to get the bag of stone just in the doorway with the fork lift. The door closed with 1/8" of clearance. I ordered 1 yard because I thought I could use the stone I excavated. Little did I know the stuff under the old patio was complete crap. It was 5 different types of fill, including bricks, pipe, PAX and whatever else they used to build the townhouse. I had no where to put the soil except in my garage, this stressed me out big time!
Grading the patio
Now that the old base has been removed, I needed to start grading the new base with a 2" slop from the left corner against the townhouse to the edge of the garage. This is how the water will drain. I measured from the top of the stairs to determine what my final patio height out be. I set a metal spike there to use as a reference point. From here was able to determine how much I needed to dig out all around. The steps were near the middle of the patio, so I marked to stake. I then leveled my lines all around and raised the rear stake 1" above the original marker and 1" down to the furthest marker where I wanted my water to drain. Once everything is leveled, you need to use a tamper to compact the base. I just used a normal manual tamper, it killed my hands. I went over the base about 6 times in all different directions until the base was solid as a rock.
Laying the 3/4 clear gravel
Now that the base is leveled, you need to install the crushed stone. I put down 2" of stone at a time, measuring 2" from the line level all the way around. This insures I maintain my grade as my lines are set up to measure off of. Once the 2" is installed, you need to tamper the crushed stone to compact it. If you put too much gravel down, it will not compact and be uneven. I repeated this until I have 5 inches of stone installed.
Now the fun starts laying paver stones in a tiny area
Materials – 3 different patio stone sizes from home depot – Marseilles Paver 7×7, 3.5×7 and 7×10.5.
Leveling Sand, 1" pipe, rake, trowel, 2×4 piece of wood, 6' level and a small one, edging.
I used the fence side as my starting point which is 9' long, as I had no other option in a small space. I measured a straight line from the house to the garage and installed my edging.
I put the 2 pieces of the 1" pipe down on top of the gravel and dumped my leveling sand on it. This is the level a flat surface that will follow the grade.
It's coming along….
Once you have a section of leveling sand installed, remove the pipes and fill in the gaps with some extra sand a smooth it with the towel. You are now ready to install the paver stones.
I laid the borer first on the side and top. Paver stones were installed in a random pattern. These stones are VERY forgiving as the gaps at 1/8". I wish I knew this when i started the project. I used the level to make sure everything looks good.
It kind of looks like a patio..
Working out from the original starting corner. I repeated the process of leveling sand over and over every 3', laying stones as I went. There is no need to tap the stones down. You simply lay the stones on top of the sand and move on to the next one. Check every few stones to make sure you are square and level.
During initial measurements I discovered my steps were off by 1", I had to jack it steps and replace the 4×4 post.
The final height measurements were 100% based on the resting height of the current steps. I didn't want to mess with them. I jacked the step up a little extra so I could get the pipe, sand and final stones under them.
Now to complete the borders
The steps were perfect! Now the hard part, cutting the current stones to get my border in.
My work shop
So I had to pay the company that dropped off the stone A LOT of money to remove the earth. It was a nightmare to detail with, but they would take away a 1 yard bag for $100, no matter how much was in the bag. You can see the 2nd and kind of 1/2 full 3rd bag there.
I used my miter saw with a diamond blade to cut the stones the shopvac reduced the dust by 95%. This allowed the stones I installed to fit perfectly with the border stones.
You can see the cuts in the patio. It looks sloppy to me, but no one else notices it.
Finally all of the stones are cut and in place
My original starting point
Installing the jointing sand
Now the patio is completed, it's time to sweep the jointing sand into all the joints. This sand bonds all of the stones together. Good luck trying to pull one up!. After you install the sand, just hose it down with a little water and all is done.
Before and after.