(NewsUSA) - If the economic downturn means a new house isn't realistic right now, consider adding an outdoor room to your home. You can extend your kitchen, expand the family room, create a meditation place -- the possibilities are endless. The best part? There's no need to take out a second mortgage, because you can do it yourself.
"Most do-it-yourselfers will find that a brick patio is less expensive than a comparably sized wood deck -- and there is much less upkeep," said Laura Schwind, a registered landscape architect for Pine Hall Brick, America's largest manufacturer of genuine clay pavers.
To get started, place your outdoor furniture, the grill, kids' toys, and other objects that you will want on the patio in the area of the proposed patio. Outline the area with a garden hose to see how much square footage you will need. You'll also need to choose a pattern, keeping in mind that some patterns require more cuts than others.
To install, dig approximately eight inches down and six inches out beyond the area you will pave. Slope the soil about one-quarter inch per foot to allow for proper drainage.
Next, tamp the soil down with a hand tamper or a vibrating plate compactor.
Put down four inches -- eight inches for driveways -- of crusher run gravel, and compact it well with the tamper or plate compactor. Lay down two lengths of one-inch PVC pipe, parallel to each other and several feet apart. Cover the pipes with concrete sand, which is course and jagged, then use a board across the top of the pipes to screed the sand level.
Remove the pipes, and use a trowel to fill and smooth the voids. Lay the pavers in place. Then, install edge restraints, which can be metal or plastic; a row of finished pavers stood on end and buried to finished height; or troweled concrete that's later covered with backfill.
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