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New patio

Posted by bschooly Texas (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 19, 13 at 12:45

Hello All,

I'm well into a new patio for the the front of our house. Please see the picture. The plan is to use paving stones across the entire width (the excavated section) of the notched/indented section of the house.

You can't see it but the house actually sits below the street grade somewhat (so the yard slopes gently towards it) and I've had issues with water against the house in the past during our spring time Texas down pours.

So I would like the patio grade to be as high as possible. But two limiting factors are of course are elevation of the front door and the brick beneath the window sills.

If I place the patio height right at the slab height, this leaves a small step up at the front door. If I go higher, the patio will have to be notched around the brick sills. I think the latter will look odd but it does allow for a constant patio height (as opposed to a increased slope near the door) and also it gets the patio higher relative to the yard grade.

The old setup only had a 12 foot width landing in front of the door so I'm not sure exactly how the new patio will affect the situation come spring time.

Regardless, I realize I may need to regrade the yard or put drains in forward of the patio (to take excess water around the side of the house).

So what height should I place the patio? (it will have a 1" per 8' slope away from the house).

Bill


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New patio

You can't go any higher than what was there previously. (I'm judging by the soil stain on the front of the slab.) I wouldn't rely on drains as they won't protect you from a major rain. You should regrade the yard, even if you must sacrifice the tree or place it at risk.

Do I understand it that a walkway-like-strip-of-pavers is the sum of the patio? That doesn't seem like it will actually be useful for much of anything. Seems like, at minimum, there should be an expanded area near the entrance to serve as a place for several people to stand while waiting.


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RE: New patio

I can't tell from the picture. Do you have gutters? If you do, the runoff could be diverted toward the back of your lot, perhaps.

Also, are you using randomly shaped pavers or uniform ones? If using uniform size, the notching around the brick sills wouldn't be difficult. (Easy enough for me to say, huh?)

Rosie, a Texan in Georgia permanently


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RE: New patio

sucks to say this after you've done all this prep but I have to think there's a better way to address your issues. That narrow strip of pavement is going to create a massive "wtf?" for potential buyers at resale, and will trigger any decent home inspector to look really hard for something goofy there.

Plus I think it's going to look weird.


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RE: New patio

Is the goal to make your house look more like a commercial building?


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RE: New patio

Yardvaark,
The width of the patio is 5 Feet. Plenty of room for people to stand at the door. It's essentially what was there to begin with. The only difference is I'm extending it. Before there was 60 year old landscaping (trees almost) right against the house. Had to go. The plan is too plant beds fore of the patio eventually.

This kind of porch is not uncommon here. See it all the time. Nice place for planters, etc.

Rosiew,

There are gutters and yes the water is redirected to the side yards. The stones will come in three sizes and will be placed randomly. BTW, I'm a Georgian in TX permanently.

Marcinde,

Well what's the solution? and what does home inspection have to do with it? The quality of the work will be tip top and the water situation will be addressed. Ready for your ideas if you have any.

Bill


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RE: New patio

Emmareen,

Of course not. Again folks, suggestions wanted. Hating my idea w/o constructive comments doesn't help.


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RE: New patio

I mention the inspector because 99 times out of 100 people do this sort of thing because they've had a water problem. Lord knows they're not doing it for aesthetic reasons. So it's like a neon sign - with a flashing arrow - that says "we had water problems RIGHT HERE." These are the kinds of considerations I share with my clients because it's my job to think in the future.

As for the solution? Don't know. It's impossible to know what all is going on with one close-in photo and no other info, but that's something where a local designer could better advise you. I don't design grading/drainage solutions unless I've physically done the site analysis.


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RE: New patio

Bill, if 5' is "plenty of room for people to stand" near the entrance, why are you extending it the length of the entire facade where no one will stand? It's going to look like paving without purpose. While people COULD stand within a 5' depth, if there are 1/2 dozen of them, they would naturally group, not stretch out in a line, so it seems odd ... like it would be better to concentrate paving where it will be used. In the landscape, things look bad when people can't make immediate sense of them. This is one of those projects where the purpose has not been explained so most of us (I think) are wondering why you're doing what you're doing. Patios are places with purposes ... where people can group and where there is space for outdoor furniture, etc. Here, the only purpose that can be ascertained without explanation is that there is an entrance and the need for paving NEAR it ... not stretched out along the house. You can't expect solutions, unless you first explain the problems and issues that are behind what you are doing. I don't think we have that. And if you hem in the 5' depth "patio" with planted beds, I think it will seem like an ultra-confined space that no one would ever go. It will look like it's purpose is to give the roof a place to splatter. But you have gutters so it can't be that. If it's about drainage, then I'm with Marcinde that you are not solving it in a good way and people will forever question why you did what you did. You might believe it will help you in one way, but it will hurt you in another. You could spend the same amount of money and effort and get something MUCH better. If you're doing this to escape the need for grading, it will not work.

This post was edited by Yardvaark on Wed, Nov 20, 13 at 19:20


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RE: New patio

Thank you both for your answers. I agree in principle with your comments, though I didn't think the look would be that bad as the flower beds in the front would soften the look a bit. I do concede that the extended space does not have any real function.

I suppose I need to rethink this. The only thing I can think to do is to put back the original landing (same width) but extend it out from the house a bit more, then replace the walk way to the street (that's concrete) and straight, Perhaps a walk the "winds" a bit would improve the look. Then regrade the yard so water is directed to the sides of the house. This is where the challenge comes in... There is not much elevation leeway towards the side.

I'll take some more pictures tomorrow. I really do need to understand what my options are. The only thing I think will work is to regrade the yard so there is a depression out from the house fanning out towards the corners. As mention at least one tree may be an issue.. A neighbor had a similar problem; he ended up putting a small wall (2-3') in his yard so the yard was two separate elevations. My slope is not as severe as his though.

Thanks again for everyone's help. Don't give up on me.

Bill


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RE: New patio

One picture you should begin with is the overall view of the house facade as taken from the street, more or less square on, showing as much of the yard as possible. Another looking from the door outward to the street will be helpful, too.


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RE: New patio

OK will do.


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RE: New patio

OK will do.


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RE: New patio

Forgot to check the box for follows to be emailed. Will do now.

I'm envisioning a totally different look here. Maybe a great looking awning over the door - I hate having to wait for someone to open the drat door if I'm outside in the rain. Would you consider adding depth to the proposed patio and using it as a planting bed, with really low plantings because of the windows. Relatives in Dallas used a vining something ground cover I can't begin to remember the name of. You could probably put a few largish stones in the areas for pots, planted seasonally. Then spend all that paving money for the new sidewalk to the street. Hate those straight at a stick ones I've been seeing forever in N. Dallas. Do everything you can to preserve the tree (live oak?).

My thoughts for now.
Rosie


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RE: New patio

Forgot to check the box for follows to be emailed. Will do now.

I'm envisioning a totally different look here. Maybe a great looking awning over the door - I hate having to wait for someone to open the drat door if I'm outside in the rain. Would you consider adding depth to the proposed patio and using it as a planting bed, with really low plantings because of the windows. Relatives in Dallas used a vining something ground cover I can't begin to remember the name of. You could probably put a few largish stones in the areas for pots, planted seasonally. Then spend all that paving money for the new sidewalk to the street. Hate those straight at a stick ones I've been seeing forever in N. Dallas. Do everything you can to preserve the tree (live oak?).

My thoughts for now.
Rosie


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RE: New patio

Here are more pictures.

Here is a link that might be useful: House Pics


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RE: New patio

In my mind, the pictures confirm that your present project -- creating a walkway-like paver "slab" along and near the front of the house -- is not going to provide benefits. It seems like an exercise in labor and an expenditure in materials that will prevent other good things from happening . But you could REALLY USE an improved walk to the front door and an improved "patio" to receive guests. More paving near the door, more near the street and a wide walk to connect the two would help a lot. There doesn't seem to be any thing or any reason to curve the walk. To me, the straightforward, simple approach would be better. But is should be spacious and of a handsome surface .... pavers or brick

The large tree at the right side looks like it's far enough from the house that you could regrade and it would survive ... even if you scrape and chop a few roots. (My guestimate.) But the elevations look like they will be VERY tight (especially because of the driveway) so it would be good if you get a local professional involved in order to prevent any mistakes. Getting the grade right is the most critical thing you face. The tree could stand to have some of the lower limbs removed before it becomes difficult to do so.

It's a nice looking house with plenty of details. There is no need for plantings that obscure them. I would keep it minimal. Maybe a little color (not too tall) at each side of door and/or between windows.

The picture is not meant to represent THE plan, but is an example of what I mean by more paving at street and entrance. You could work out the exact shapes and dimensions.


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RE: New patio

Yardvaark,

Thank you so much for your suggestions. I concur. Do you think grading can happen post walkway redo? I think so as I Imagine the yard removed would roughly begin near the center of the yard and proceed diagonally toward the house corners. In other words the grade just under the walk would remain the same.

This may be impossible to answer from over the wire. The house is symmetrical in the front. Ie, the right side has the same section extended as the left.

To be clear, did you also see the pics I provided in the link? They show the profile (slope) and the space I have to work with...

Bill


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RE: New patio

The pics in the link are what I based my opinion on.

Grading can happen after the walk goes in, but PLANNING FOR THE GRADING must happen BEFORE the walk goes in. You cannot build a walk and then learn later that it doesn't quite work out with the grade. All the planning should happen before the shovel hits the dirt.

As I mentioned, the grade is going to be to tight tolerances. While the photos allude to that, they do not make perfectly clear how tight those tolerances will be. That's why I think you need to get a local pro involved and get it right the first time. Unsatisfactory grading is not forgiving.


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RE: New patio

Got it. I will secure a LA and get the yard graded or least have a plan before messing with the walk. Thanks once again.


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RE: New patio

It looks like you are wanting to do the work, so there is no reason that someone can't help you figure out the grade (to a "T") and you can proceed with all the DIY you want. That someone might be a drainage engineer, an LA, a grading contractor (some of them) or some landscape designers. You will need to explain the project and inquire if they can help. Shop around and you will find someone who fits. They must be capable of establishing grades with instruments. Good luck and come back to show progress photos or plans.


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RE: New patio

I just thought of something. Don't know where you live but family in Dallas and Austin used a whole lot of water applied around their foundations. Can't give more info, but perhaps that's something you should look into, rather than trying to divert. Their houses were on slabs as yours appears to be. Do recall it was to prevent the heavy clay soils from shrinking and cracking, causing serious foundation issues.

Hope this insight helps.
Rosie


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