New Stone Patio

May 30, 2011

Hello!  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  We shared a lot of food and great wine with a huge gathering of friends and family over the long holiday, it was so relaxing and such a great party!  We also had the opportunity to show off our new stone patio, wanna see?

Here’s a glimpse of a few weeks ago:

stone patio before

And now

patio after

Pretty fancy, right?   This has been a project we’ve been meaning to finish for many many moons.  This patio has been sitting empty since we regraded the yard and built the retaining walls over five years ago.  I mentioned it as one of my Home Goals for 2011, and I’m soooo proud to be checking this one off my list! 

Two weeks ago, I spied a natural stone at Home Depot that I thought would be just perfect for this space.  I redeemed some American Express Rewards points for a gift card at Home Depot, and we got to work!

Before we could bring in the new accessories for the adjacent patio (beyond), we had to address this longtime problem of our unfinished circular patio.  The first thing we had to do was fill in the small walkway that connects our two patios.  That was accomplished with some concrete as a base filled to one inch below where we intended to lay the stone. 


fill walkway with cement

We did our best to keep those pesky critters out. 

pesky critter


The next day, I designed the pattern inside the circle with a little helper.   

lay pattern

My little boy was fascinated with this “puzzle” !

boy with stone

These particular stones are called Arctic White Quartz, and they come with six stones attached to a mesh.  They’re designed to be installed in a grid, but have the appearance of a random pattern, gotta love that!  At my Home Depot, they were $8 a piece and they measure 21” x 29” each.

circular patio halfway


All of the outside stones were cut with a masonry diamond blade on a circular saw. 

masonry blade

I hired a friend to help me do these cuts, which was a great learning experience for me, because as he worked, I studied his technique!  He showed me how to lay the stones in the mortar, which needed to be built up very thick due to the depth of the patio.  I think we used about five 60 pound bags of the stuff. 

stones in mortar

The stones were kept even with the outlying edge of the patio with the use of a long 2” x 4” piece of lumber stretched across the circle to keep it all smooth and level. 

board to keep level

We let the stones dry in the mortar overnight, then went back to grout the next day. 

mix grout

My mister and I worked together to get all the grout into the crevices, first with a grouting tool, followed up by a sponge.  

kate grouting

A word to the wise, you should definitely wear gloves when working with sanded grout.  My hands were a complete mess the next day, they were so dry and they look as if they had aged ten years.  Not purty.  Gloves.  Wear ‘em. 

I bought this two sided scrubber sponge at Home Depot, and it worked great for the first round of scrubbing ~ we had to first get the grout out of the ridges in the natural stone.

grout sponge


On the other side, a sponge for smoothing the grout as it set.  Gorgeous!  

Not my hand silly.  The colors in the various stones.  

wipe away grout residue


We smoothed and rinsed, and smoothed and rinsed, and smoothed and rinsed until we just couldn’t smooth and rinse anymore.  I was bent over for two hours and by the end of the day, my back was killing me!  I have so much respect for anyone who does this kind of labor for a living, my word you’ve got to be strong.

But all that hard work paid off!

kate stone patio


Another glimpse of what our patio looked like before we started:

patio before



kates circular patio

To the left, the stairs lead to a small lawn, and to the right the small walkway leads to our second patio.  Up above are our grapes, growing happily in the sunlight.  We’re going to wait a week to seal it to make sure any remaining grout residue embedded in those stones is completely gone.   

What I love about these particular quartz stones is that they completely change color when wet!  When they get rained on, or watered down, all the beautiful colors in each stone just pop, we love that. 

circle patio when wet

These stones pull all the colors in our yard together, and that irregular pattern looks just like jewelry to me!  Yes, that’s what I’ll call it, my ‘jeweled’ patio. 

We’re mighty proud. 

Next up in outdoor improvements, we’ll be working on the patio just beyond ~ the same one I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.  We’re thinking of a cabana, some new cushions and outdoor pillows plus some colorful accessories, which will all make for a magnificent outdoor sitting area, so stay tuned! 

Disclosure: I have been provided with 150,000 complimentary American Express Membership Rewards points and used part of them to install this outdoor stone patio.



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