Laying Patios and Terraces

In gardens that have a pronounced slope or are very uneven, terraces are often made to provide level sections for lawns or flower beds. They can be used, too, as patios—sitting-out areas—and in this case are usually paved in some way.

Between terraces at varying levels, or between a patio and the rest of the garden, steps and low walls may be needed; the siting and style of these features will have a great effect on the look of the finished garden.

The work of levelling is the biggest and most important task in terrace building (see Levelling). It is important that dry and firm flooring is provided for a patio that is to be used as an outdoor living-room during summer months. There are several alternative materials, ranging from bitumastic preparations to bricks and paving stones; choose one that suits the character of the house, for the patio will probably be constructed close to it. If the house is of modern design, coloured slabs arranged in simple designs look effective; an older property is better suited by rustic bricks and insets of pebble stones. Crazy paving is a most attractive material to use, but ensure that gaps between the stones are filled with cement, so that there is no danger of people tripping over raised edges.

Keep all paving work below the level of the damp course of the house. The finished surface of patio or terrace must be at least two or three brick courses or 6 to 12 in. below the damp course, which is usually recognizable as a thin layer of bitumen felt or similar material running between two courses of bricks.

An unroofed patio should have a slight slope away from the house so that rain-water will not collect but be carried away from the house walls.

16. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, Garden Management, Gardening Calendar | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Laying Patios and Terraces

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