If your patio needs an overhaul or if you are creating a new outdoor entertainment area, consider the art of mosaic. The organized, yet random, layout is far more interesting than a concrete patio. Metal stakes and edging are used to create a unique spot featuring straight borders containing sharp angles. This project is relatively easy to do in one day and costs between $1,000 and $2,500, depending on the size of the area.
You will need:
• Decomposed granite
• Metal edging
• Metal stakes
• Ball peen hammer
• Rubber mallet
• Wood block
• Small board
• Spray paint
• Square shovel
• Garden hose
• Work gloves
Step 1: Use the spray paint to spray the desired design onto the ground. With the shovel, dig a trench that follows the sprayed lines, digging down 1 to 2 inches.
Step 2: Line up metal edging on the trench and have a helper hold it in place. Use the ball pein hammer to drive a metal stake through each slot in the edging. Drive in the stakes until they are flush with edging. To keep paint from chipping off the stakes, place a block of wood between the stake and the hammer while pounding.
Step 3: Excavate the area within the metal edging, digging down about 2 inches. Use a rototiller to break up the soil. Level the area with the square shovel.
Step 4: Decomposed granite makes an attractive base for pavers and flagstone. Begin at one corner and add 1 inch of decomposed granite, working gradually in small spots or over the whole patio.
Step 5: Let the metal edging serve as a starting point and height guide. Select a paver or flagstone piece containing a straight edge. Slide the stone or paver back and forth to work it into the base, making it appear level and rest flush with the edging. Put on the work gloves and push the granite underneath the edges until the stone or paver seems sturdy.
Step 6: Lay remaining pieces one by one, maintaining only small gaps between each piece. If desired, you can leave a larger gap in some areas and use a pebble mosaic design to fill this in Step 8.
Step 7: Once you have laid out all the pieces, spread additional decomposed granite over the entire area. Sweep this into cracks between the pieces, using the broom.
Step 8: Fill larger cracks with pebble mosaics, creating a decorative accent. Use the shovel to dig up the decomposed granite in the crack. Fill the area with the dry mortar. Place pebbles on end side by side so the narrow portion of the rock rests in the mortar. Tightly pack the pebbles, compacting them with the rubber mallet. Once you have filled the area with pebbles, push these into the mortar with the rubber mallet until all pebbles are flush with the pavers and stones that surround them. Placing a small board on top of the pebbles and pounding the board compacts multiple pebbles at once.
Step 9: After filling all cracks, use the hose to wet the patio. This activates the mortar and compacts the granite. Additional decomposed granite may be needed to fill the cracks so they are flush with the pavers and flagstone.