The Future Mini Pat-Pat

August 13, 2012   //  Posted in: Backyard, Being Thrifty, DIY   //  By: Emily   //  3 responses

I hope you liked the final patio reveal that I shared on DIY Network late last week! If you missed it, you can still check it out right here, and I’d suggest doing so before you dive into today’s post.

I did a lot of careful estimating when I was planning the flagstone patio, and most vendors suggested that we would need two full palettes of the irregular rocks to complete our 160 sq. ft. space. What I learned was that you can never truly plan for what you’re going to get.

Every stacked palette is a little bit different, and from what we observed on site at landscape shops and from our own palettes, the width, height, and overall shape of each of flagstone on a single palette can be completely random too. Furthermore, compared to some shops we visited, the two palettes that were delivered to our house by Northern Stone & Design Center were uber-substantial, not wimpy and small in any way.

Hello, big palettes of flagstone.

I mean, there were some really thick ones and that actually worried us initially because I had read that the thickness of the stones on a palette can greatly impact how much surface area your entire palette could cover. For instance, if a palette of 1″ stones could spread 200 sq. ft, and a palette of 2″ stones might only cover 90 sq. ft, and to complicate things, two design landscapers I spoke with guesstimated that a single palette would probably only cover 60-80 sq. ft. considering the thickness of the stones sourced.

Let it be known that we ordered two palettes, hoping fully for a giant palette of 1″ stones to cover a lot of ground, and that’s why the 3″ stones were concerning upfront. We worried that with so many 3″ stones, our chances of covering all 160 sq. ft space would be slim.

But I’ll get right down to it: Somehow, despite all aforementioned measurements, thickness considerations, and gnawed-short fingernails, when we were done with the patio, we still had all of these stones along the side of the garage…

Leftover flagstone pieces alongside the garage.

…AND this palette, filled with smaller pieces that we didn’t end up using:

Lots of leftover flagstone.

OK. Quite honestly, they’re not that small. In addition to some being narrow and tall, many flagstones are large and round and could cover some serious ground. If the scale isn’t completely obvious in this next picture, consider that some are as large as a round green turtle sandbox, and standing as high as my chest.

Lots of leftover flagstone.

All of these background deets are for good reason: Instead of trying to sell the unused palette of flagstone and assorted scraps (wherein we’d have hoped to make back our cost of $420) we’re going to put it to use on our own property and create a secondary little patio (a.k.a. our mini pat-pat, if the post title had you guessing).

Best of all, the materials have already been purchased and paid for, so it’ll be like getting a freebie patio! The ambition to use leftover materials to build things like a big ol’ treehouse, wooden planters and jewelry hooks, and entire paneled accent walls just runs through our veins at this point, so why not fling ourselves into a secondary patio project while the blisters are still fresh.

Fact: Our initial plan for a flagstone backyard detail was much more grand than what we’re going to end up with. Pete’s original plan called for something like this (a sketch which he artfully created using the iPad app Paper):

Patio designing via the Paper iPad app.

It had been a good plan for our available backyard space, but once we started looking at the pricing of flagstone palettes, we knew we could easily spend $3,000 in rock alone, and that just wasn’t in the cards this summer since we’re traveling a lot and, you know, saving for our wedding. Plus, and maybe most noteworthy, we had no idea how hard it was going to be to make a flagstone patio, and we’re pretty bad judges (or, I’m a pretty bad judge) when it comes to our DIY timelines, so instead of the week that we spent doing the 160 sq. ft. patio ourselves, a gigantic flagstone undertaking might have just taken us into the winter months (remember when I thought I could have the bathroom renovated in 4 days and instead it took almost two months?). Starting with the smaller patio was a good way to go, and now we know what we’re getting ourselves into with the second patio space.

Since we have so many leftovers, there’s just one other area in Pete’s sketch that we felt we really needed to focus on, that being the walkway between the deck and the gate to the driveway and garage.

Preparing a bad part of the yard for a new patio walkway.

It’s a project that’ll serve us and future homeowners well. It formalizes a path for foot traffic from the deck into the garage, it will solve muddiness issues, and just might give the dog a nice cool place to lay in the shade on sunny days. It’ll also be a good place to keep the Weber charcoal grill, and oh, there was one other thing if you didn’t notice: it was always really hard to grow grass in that area because of an enormous piece of cement left behind from a previous patio. The cement was completely submerged beneath about an inch of soil– deep enough to not be a hazard, and just close enough to the surface to ruin all attempts at growing grass. And yes, it has always looked just about as sad as it looks right here, complete with burnt grass marks from where the dog pees daily, lovely:

Preparing a bad part of the yard for a new patio walkway.

I discovered a lot of this leftover cement under the old deck when I took it down, just not pieces this big. Eerily, it looks more like a burial plot than a piece of cement here as Pete identified its dimensions and cleared soil off of the surface.

Cement block, or cement grave?

He reports the slab being heavier than his Subaru, but without breaking any bones or giving himself a hernia, he removed it with a 2×4 board lever system and brute strength.

So now, among the other projects that we’re taking on this month, we’ll also be aiming to complete a second little patio space while the weather’s nice.

Anyone else making good use of leftover materials with new projects around the house? Do share.

  • John@ Our Home from Scratch
    5 years ago - Reply

    I checked out the finished patio on DIY Network. Looks crazy good. I’m terrified of hardscaping. Everything is so darn heavy!

  • Elisa
    5 years ago - Reply

    Grass is overrated anyway, hah. Are you just doing a straight shot to the deck or giving it a bit of curve? Either way, your finished patio looks awesome – I’m sure this will too!

    • Emily
      5 years ago -

      We’re not totally sure about the size or shape yet! We were thinking originally that a nice curve from the gate to the deck would be great, but I think we’re still going to have a lot of stone left over if that’s all we do!

Leave a Comment