May is certainly the best time to undertake outdoor renovations in the hopes of taking better advantage of the long summer evenings ahead. Here is general advice to create or renovate a recreational space, such as a patio, deck or garden.
Before building a deck, consider all the relevant factors. There are quite a few. Are you looking for more sunlight or more shade? What scenery would you like to see every day? Would it bother you if the neighbours could see in your backyard? Do you want the garden or the kid’s play area to connect with the deck? Would you rather have a deck close to the home or farther away?
Bricks, concrete blocks and terracotta tiles are the best materials for building a patio: they will give you the possibility to leave space to plant vegetation. That is what we call a green patio. Designing green spaces between hard material not only looks stylish, it also creates a cool oasis, however small it may be, for your recreational space during hot summer days.
Wood is a material that is accessible to everyone, or almost. Building a wooden pathway is relatively easy. As for a wooden deck, a handyman can eventually extend it every year by installing joists, if need be.
Never take lightly the foundations of a sleeper wall just because it is “half a wall”. It is not only a question of weight. Remember that the ground moves underneath.
Everything that is underground, such as posts, pickets and stakes, should be five feet deep to withstand the periods of freezing temperatures.
Natural stones or bricks? Let us say that imperfections are less visible when using natural stones. So, for handyman hobbyists, the first option would be best. However, an experienced handyman could build a brick wall in no time. An amateur could also accomplish the task if he or she is well guided. There are several ways to install bricks depending on the wanted style. There are also reconstituted stones. They come in various colours, shapes and sizes.
If you are going to use bricks for the patio, sleeper wall or barbecue, choose the most durable ones on the market. Make sure they are frost and weather resistant. Once the brick is set, do not remove the excess mortar from the joint right away. Otherwise, it might rub off against the brick and leave its mark. It would be best to wait for the mortar to dry. You can then scrape it off. If you install a fence with full panels to provide wind protection, make sure its base is solid. Otherwise, one of your summer evenings might be ending abruptly.
A pathway made of gravel is beautiful and natural looking. But make sure to edge both sides to prevent the gravel from scattering all over. This will keep you from refilling the pathway.