Print Friendly and PDF

Transform a plain patio into a stunning space

When you haven't nothing more than a concrete slab for a patio, it's nice to know that there is something you an do to transform the space into a lovely outdoor area that has everything you need to sit outdoor during the spring and summer months.

 

This homeowner had plenty of space and a plan and that's all you really need to spring into action and turn a bland concrete slab into something that adds space for spending time outdoors.

The existing patio was a small concrete slab just outside the kitchen, but the area was large enough to extend into the garden itself to create a much larger and far more useful dining area.

Due to a slope from east to west a level area needed to be created as the first step. Small retaining walls were built around the central soon-to-be patio to split the ground into levels.

The existing patio was a small concrete slab just outside the kitchen, but the area was large enough to extend into the garden itself to create a much larger and far more useful dining area.

Due to a slope from east to west a level area needed to be created as the first step. A small retaining wall was built to split the ground into two levels.

When building a retaining wall you need to allow for water drainage and this can be achieved by either leaving holes in the wall to allow water to drain through or, as in this case, laying a flexible pipe along the back edge of the wall to direct water run off away from the wall, or even by sloping the layers at a slight angle to ensure that water runs away from the property.

You have plenty of options for materials for building a retaining wall. You can use rock-face natural stone, clay bricks, or reclaimed bricks. If you are working on a very tight budget, think about using inexpensive stock bricks and applying a layer of plaster to finish off. Alternatively, if you are only building a small strip of retaining wall you could consider adding wall cladding to add a decorative finish.

Once you have a level area to work with you can decide on the materials you want to use for flooring your new patio area.

GOOD TO KNOW

Hire a plate compactor for the day to compress the ground before laying gravel or paving. At a cost of around R180 per day this ensures that the ground is well compacted before laying your choice of patio floor.

Again, you can choose from a wide range of materials ranging from concrete pavers to natural stone blocks. What you choose will obviously be determined by how much you have to spend on the project.

For the new patio shown in this feature the homeowner put down 8 centimetres of crushed gravel to create a permeable area where water could drain naturally into the ground an avoid flooding or excess water being directed towards the buildings.

If you prefer something softer underfoot, bed concrete flagstones onto topsoil and fill in the gaps with low-growing groundcovers.

Square concrete flagstone were bedded on a 5cm thick layer of smooth sand to create a visually appealing surface for the patio. You can fill in the gaps between the blocks with more gravel, river rock or small pebbles.

GOOD TO KNOW

Try to design the area to avoid cutting concrete pavers. If you do need to cut pavers to fit, hire an industrial angle grinder for the day, or have someone cut the pavers for you.

The DIY patio table is made using lengths of 32mm and 69mm PAR pine beams. The pine tabletop is supported on 44 x 67mm pine cross beams mounted underneath. Shop around for the best prices on these, as they can be pricey if you don't buy direct from a timber merchant. Treat outdoor wood with Woodoc exterior sealer for added protection from the elements, or let it age naturally for a more rustic look.

Rather than fork out for new patio chairs the original chairs were given a couple of coats of Rust-Oleum 2X UltraCover spray paint in satin green apple. Clean the chairs well and wipe dry before applying a light spray. Allow to dry and apply a second coat. Repeat if necessary. At around R80 per can, Rust-Oleum spray paint offers an affordable way to revamp your patio furniture.

Add privacy panels with treated pine posts and PAR pine crossbeams. You will find ideas here for using reclaimed wood for fencing, or find instructions to build a slatted privacy screen.

Circular concrete drain covers are piled up to create interesting flower boxes. This helps to tie the use of concrete into the finished patio design. A fun alternative to this is to use old tyres and paint these with Rust-Oleum spray paints in bright colours.