Outdoor living: Stone patios on a budget

Outdoor living: Stone patios on a budget


Scott McGillivray, host of HGTV's Income Property, reveals how to create stone patios on a budget.

Outdoor living ideas help us make the most of Canada’s warmer months. A stone patio is a smart way to create a getaway at the back of your yard, under the trees and away from it all. Here are some tips and materials to get you started.

A look to love
A stone patio can be a low-maintenance and attractive addition to your home and I can guarantee it will be a favourite spot to hang out and enjoy the lazy days of summer for years to come. Finish off the area with some choice landscaping, a barbecue grill and stylish outdoor furniture, and you’ve built an amazing open-air space.

Is DIY right for you?
Installing your own patio is not for the faint of heart – or the weak-kneed. It’s heavy and dusty work, so be warned before you order skids of stone and bags of sand and gravel. There are a lot of stages to consider, and even if you’re handy it’s a big job to undertake, so read up on what’s involved and talk to an expert before you get started.
The best material for the job – and your budget
There are lots of options for patio materials out there, so make sure you choose one that’s best for your climate and budget. Flagstone is a popular choice because it’s long-lasting and looks timeless, but it’s also one of the most expensive picks. It can be laid over a gravel or concrete base and the seams between each stone filled with sand or, in the case of a concrete base, filled with mortar. Try to pick a natural stone that’s from a Canadian source so that it will hold up to our winters. For a patio that’s eight by eight feet, you’ll need about two tons of flagstone – or roughly one skid.

A skid can range in price from $200 to $500, depending on the thickness of the stone. For a patio, you’d be safe going with three-quarters to one-inch thickness. Then factor in the cost of a professional installer, removing the existing sod or demolishing a pre-existing patio or deck and prepping the area with a good base and you can safely add $15 to $30 a square foot. The cost also depends on the accessibility of the space (i.e. if equipment can reach the desired location easily) and the layout’s design. Keep this in mind and soon you'll have a fabulous outdoor entertaining space.

Paving the way
Pavers range in price from $3 to more than $10 a square foot and come in many colours, sizes and shapes to complement your home’s exterior. Clay pavers are super durable and hold up to Canadian winters since they’re fired at a higher temperature than the bricks used to build your house. Permacon concrete pavers are finished to look like stone and are not only a fantastic option for a patio, but they’re also popular for driveways, walkways and garden edging, and you can create some great-looking patterns like herringbone and basketweave in a variety of sizes and colours. Pavers are one of my all-time favourite materials for tying in your patio to the look of the rest of your home and getting your backyard ready for the perfect patio party.
Christine Verwey

Christine Verwey

Affiliated Real Estate Agent
CENTURY 21 Foxx Realty Ltd.
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