Is this a good description of a patio construction project?

SyboneyJune 3, 2013

I got this from a contractor when I requested the description of my new patio job. Wonder if this is the usual description of a good project or if they are missing anything important:

- Pressure treated 6â x 6â timbers will be used to construct sturdy framework for the proposed patio.
- No less than 4-5 inches of compacted crushed stone gravel will be set over a landscape fabric.
- Proper grade will be achieved to ensure that surface water rolls away from the house foundation.
- Two downspouts, as well as the neighborâÂÂs downspout, will be channeled into underground 4â drain lines.
- A drainage swale will be excavated from the AC unit along the right fence line and across the back fence line. This swale will have a 4â perforated drain line with fabric installed. The swale will then be filled to grade level with þâ washed gravel/river rock.
- All collected water from the downspouts and gravel drainage swale will be released into the common ground near the back left fence line.
- Thick pieces of cut Pennsylvania flagstone will be set over the compacted crushed stone foundation.
- Polymer sand will be swept between the flagstone joints to deter weed growth and washout from occurring.
- All resulting debris will be hauled away.

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One thing I notice repeatedly on the forum is that people describe--with words--their problem. Time and time again, the words are insufficient to convey, in a complete way, what is actually happening. Almost always we want to see pictures that help explain the problem. It makes me wonder if you have a plan (like a map) that shows the layout of what you're going to get? Personally, I would want to know that. It's something that costs to produce, but it is worth it in my opinion, as otherwise you might get things in places and ways that you never expected (or wanted.) The plan does not need to be elaborate in order to explain simple placement, size and shape.

Then there are some items mentioned (like landscape fabric, flagstone, proper grade, etc.) ... I would want specs. for these: landscape fabric that can be torn is worthless. "thick" ... what is min. thickness for flagstone? Will water "roll away" from the patio over the course of a day ... or speedily? How about stating the min. slope to be achieved?

Lately, I've had a lot of dealings with downspouts (not mine) that were run into underground drain pipe and ended up causing HUGE problems. I ALWAYS avoid underground drainage unless there is no possible other way to drain water above ground. Naturally, the mention of underground drainage and downspouts here has me concerned. Has it been determined by a qualified individual (as opposed to just the person selling the product) that underground drainage is needed or will be beneficial? How the water is transported and in what kind of pipes and how it comes out of the pipes can make a big difference. It's a red flag and I would obtain a THOROUGH understanding of all the issues involved BEFORE agreeing to a solution. If the agreement has already been processed, I would attempt to obtain understanding rapidly and try to temporarily put the brakes on implementation. Even if it costs something to alter the contract, it may be better than getting something that is unnecessary or causes problems later.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 1:10AM
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Yardvaark, many thanks for your suggestions. I have taken them into account and they helped clarify all those issues in the proposal. Next time I will include more details on the project itself as you correctly suggest.

Will try to report back once project is completed to close the loop (sometime in August).

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 7:02PM
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