Here in Needham, MA we are removing an old deck and installing a new stone patio, steps, firepit, and walkways. The patio will be made from Natural Cleft Bluestone, the stairs from granite, the firepit from reclaimed granite curbing, and the walkways from bluestone flagging.
The granite stairs will wrap around the corner of the house so one can exit in any direction. The bluestone patio is natural cleft bluestone laid in varied size running bond, or rows of the same size. The running bond pattern gives a more contemporary look than the more traditional random pattern. The corners of the patio will be stepped in to allow for planting areas, and irregular bluestone flagging will be used for a stepping stone walkway.
First we remove the deck and excavate the area for base preparation. Compacted crushed stone goes in the base, and the stones are dry laid on top in a thin layer of fine gravel. Dry laid patios are far more common these days as they are faster and easier to install, they drain freely, and hold up longer in the variable New England climate.
We install the granite steps to wrap around the corner of the house. The top landing is made from bluestone to match the patio below. Against the house we add new pressure treated sheathing, and then flash the sheathing with ice + water shield, and then aluminum sheet metal. This ensures no rot will occur where stone meets the house.
Next we install the bluestone patio. These are natural cleft bluestones which have a rougher cleft surface and vary in color. We lay them in neat rows and switch sizes each row. In the joints we spread a polymer sand which is a fine sand that hardens up. It is not a cement product, it is meant to remain somewhat flexible and permeable and works well with dry-laid patios.
Next we go to the supply yard and pick out some reclaimed granite curbing to use for the firepit. The reclaimed granite comes out of old of old roads and bridges etc in the area and is sold to supply yards. We pick out several pieces that are consistent enough in size, and then cut them down to make the square firepit. The granite is a hefty 8″ thick, by 16″ tall and makes for a solid firepit. We take care to plan the layout so that the cut ends are hidden and the existing rough ends are visible. In this case we have 4 equal lengths available so we lay them out in a ‘pinwheel’ fashion rather than two long and two short.
We lay the rest of the patio and then add the stepping stone walkways leading to the patio and through an adjacent garden. The flagstones are large, irregular pieces of bluestone. They match in appearance but make for a more informal pathway.
We spread new loam in the area and our portion of work is done. Landscapers will come in next to plant amongst the patio and walkways to soften and integrate the whole area with the yard and gardens.