Building a Patio with Sustainable Materials:
Backyard patios are home to summer barbeques, romantic nights by the fire and family fun roasting marshmallows and chasing fireflies. If you’re thinking about creating a new outdoor entertainment space for your family, consider building a patio with reclaimed or recycled materials. Sustainable patio materials aren’t just better for the environment, they also create a unique pattern no one else will have, are often more affordable, and can actually be better for your lawn. Learn about different brick and paver patio options, how to build one yourself, and how to maintain the lawn around it with the tips below.
Choosing your patio materials:
Treated wood and asphalt can release toxins into the environment, but slate, brick and reclaimed pavers are more natural patio options. Cement and asphalt also foster runoff as they are often not porous. This can result in flooding which can damage the roots of your yard.
One great idea for a natural patio material is to use circular cuts from a tree stump. These work great as stepping stones along a path to or from your patio. Other options for sustainable patio materials are slate, wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), pavers made out of recycled plastic and rubber, and bricks reclaimed from old buildings or left over from other projects. Salvaged bricks, slates and other reclaimed materials can be found at your local construction salvage center. New granite pavers and porous concrete decorated with mosaic tiles or beach glass are options as well.
Building a slate, brick or paver patio:
Once you know what patio materials you will use, it’s time to get started. Mark out the space where your patio will go and stake out the corners. You may want to connect the stakes with string and use a chalk line to mark the grass. Then, start to dig your patio. Remember, there will be two inches of stone dust before you lay your patio materials, so how high off the ground your patio will be depends on the width of the pavers or bricks and how deep you dig your hole. Around four inches is probably about right for a slightly raised patio, though a slate patio won’t need to be as deep.
After you’re finished digging, tramp down the soil and lay down landscape fabric to keep the weeds out. Then pour in the stone dust, rake it to a level two inches across the space and pack it down. You’re now ready to add your bricks, slate or pavers. Consider using lawn tractor parts and accessories like utility carts to transport your chosen materials to the worksite. To create a slate, brick or paver patio, lay your materials out in the design you’ve created, using a chalk line to keep everything even. You may need to cut some pieces to fit. Then, using an automatic tapper or rubber hammer, tap your bricks and pavers firmly into place.
Mowing around your patio:
With a change in the landscape comes a change in the way you maintain it. Once your patio is installed, it may be wise to soften the edges of your patio with a mulch-covered flowerbed. This is pleasing aesthetically, but also makes it easier to navigate around your patio with your riding lawn mower. When you get to this spot on your mower, make sure you’re going slowly, attempting to cut as close to the mulch as possible without kicking it up. You can also use a string trimmer to clean up the edges after you mow.
If you have to pass over the patio or other paths in the driveway, shut off your riding lawn mower blades, raise the deck and cross over the paved area slowly. If you do happen to hit anything while mowing and your machine begins to perform oddly, shut it off, wait for it to cool and for all parts to stop moving before doing any maintenance. If you hit a root, stump or paver, it could have knocked off the balance of the deck and you’ll need to make adjustments before you can mow again. This is why it’s a good idea to order replacement lawn tractor parts at the start of every season in case anything goes wrong throughout the course of the summer.
Decorating your brick or paver patio:
When you’re finished laying your brick or paver patio, it’s time to put on the finishing touches. From FSC certified furniture to a grill and fire pit accompanied by solar-powered LED lamps, you have many eco-friendly options for your patio space. Now you’re ready to enjoy the space with friends and family!