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Witmeyer Patio Project

April 15, 2012 Blog 2 comments

Patios are great additions for new and old homes and is one of the many creative ways that we can enhance the value and functionality of your home.  This past August, 2011, we began a project at our shop location, the residence of my parents, Gary and Rita Witmeyer.  The goal was to turn old, white stone, weed-infested area into a fun, beautiful patio ‘room’ for family and friends to enjoy throughout the season.  Follow us as we take you through a step-by-step process of how we did it!

Although a patio space has many values and uses in a residential landscape, it is critical that the designer, installer and the homeowner work together to achieve the desired goals and functionality.  While function is an important part in building a patio, a properly installed patio is even more important.  It is important that the installer is trained in paver and wall black installation, either by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, or by a credited college or trade school.

Unlike most projects, the clients did not come to me.  I came to them!  I came to my parents and said,”You know that we really need to do something about that stone gravel space out back, right?”  And, my mother out of embarrassment said,”I know!  I have been telling Gary that we need to do something about that for years!”… I guess that either my dad can be stubborn, or he was just waiting for me to do it.  I think he was waiting for me.  So here we go!

To start off, I drew a rough sketch of the patio space.  I then worked with my parents to determine the functions of the space, material selection, timing, etc.  Next thing I knew it, I was breaking ground!

A 'before' picture

Setting some natural boulder steps to retain the new patio!


The steps in place. Also, the ramp on the right was formed from the excavated soil when digging out the patio base.

After the area was excavated, we then installed 12″ of 2a modified base material for the base of the patio.  We use a minimum of 6″-8″ of base for patios built for foot-traffic or light vehicular traffic.  With a base like this, this patio will never settle.

This short seating wall was installed first. Then we graded the top of our stone base, added 1" of concrete sand, and layed our pavers! The row of pavers lined up together is called a 'soldier course'.

a natural stone, 6" step was used to retain the patio grade and transition between both levels.

Natural boulders can be used to add interest and retain the patio space. Retaining the base below the patio and the soil around it is critical when installing pavers.

A second seating wall was created to enclose the other side of the patio and add more space to sit.

Running the pavers up to the natural steps. Cuts are still needed to fill the gaps. I am going to use succulent plants to fill the seams as well.

Dad checking out my work! Actually he is fixing the wash line that I accidentally bumped with the skid loader. I told him to take it down!!

Before installing our base below the patio, we installed four, 12" sonet tubes, filled with concrete. These were to anchor the four posts for the custom pergola! We build customer pergolas fit to your needs!

Adding some plants! My favorite part!

Remi likes to follow me around when I work. A finished pergola. The second seating wall is not finished in this picture.

A vertical planter that I made, planted with Sedum 'Dragon's Blood' and Sedum 'Angelina'

I used the recycled stepping stones from the previous space for the wall caps!

The unexpected October snow storm got my Ensete/banana plant! Although it turned to mush instantly, it survived and will be back out in the garden this May.

Columns built with cinder block material.

Putting on the mortar 'scratch coat' before laying on natural stone veneer!

An imitation river bed

Matching part of the columns to the existing, orange-red house brick! The remaining parts of the columns will have the natural stone veneer and stucco material in between.

Hardy kiwi vines (1 male + 1 female) to grow up the columns and unto the pergola. These vines WILL produce edible kiwi fruits!

A hardy fig plant which will also produce edible fruits!

Remi thinks he is 'all that' on the new patio...

Remi is an blue merle Australian Sheperd. He enjoys following me around the property, barking at joggers/bikers when they go past the upper goat pen, herding cars and people, and hanging out with me up in my office!

I posted about the lettuce box that I built a few months ago. We have been enjoying fresh-cut, organic salads!

Gabby's garden. My sister Gabby is a hair stylist at Salon Synergy in Manheim. She wanted a garden space to take care of this year, so she took over this one! She planted a few bulbs from Easter Sunday.

And there is the patio!  We did not get as many pictures of some of the steps as we would have liked, but we hope that you were able to follow along and enjoy seeing it all come together!  There are still a few things to finish… The natural stone veneer on the columns and the succulent plants to be planted along the natural stone step, going toward the pool area.

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Louise Schwartz - August 1, 2012 Reply

What an awesome patio!!! I love the way you designed it, most of all I really like Remi 🙂 He knows you really built that for him to sun himself. What did you use to plant your lettuce, we did the same thing this year but none of it came up. When we plant it in our regular garden, it does come up. Wonder what we did wrong? Keep up the good work!

Gavin - August 1, 2012 Reply

Thanks! Where did you sow the lettuce, exactly? The ‘hot frame’ that I built was heated below the soil and was insulated from below-freezing temps.. The soil temp. would need to be fairly warm to at least start the seeds. Remi is a spoiled little pup! 🙂

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