5 patios in the round
A circular patio of tinted concrete aggregate is edged with rose flagstone. The naturalistic spa backing, tough plantings, and the paving’s rosy tones visually connect the patio to the surrounding desert.
Info: Mary Rose Duffield, Duffield Ratliff Landscape Design, Tucson, AZ (520/577-1241); Rosalee Gage, formerly of Santa Rita Landscaping, Tucson, AZ (520/623-0421)
The nine piers of steel-reinforced concrete that support it were poured in place as an integral part of the pond bottom, as were the steps that appear to float across the water’s surface. Both the steps and piers were finished below the waterline with rough-textured black plaster.
Info: James Rowley, Naturally Beautiful Gardens, Minden, NV (775/267-5234)
Info: Vanessa Kuemmerle, Vee Horticulture, Berkeley, CA (510/653-7667); BlueJay Feldman, Blue Ridge Landscape Co., Orinda, CA (925/258-9233)
Info: Shirley Alexandra Watts, Alameda, CA (510/521-5223)
Colored stones, surrounded by pavers of stained concrete, create the illusion of a stream bubbling through the center of this 12-foot patio in Berkeley.
Design: Keeyla Meadows, Keeyla Meadows Gardens & Art, Albany, CA (510/559-1026)
Shopping tip Look for 1- to 2-in.-thick stone (it’s easier to cut) in 1- to 3-ft.-long pieces, and choose as many straight-sided pieces as possible. Buy 30 percent more than you think you’ll need. The quantities below are for our 8-ft.-diameter patio.
Tools and materials
Two 1-ft. stakes with pointed tips
1- to 2-ft.-long level
One 8½-ft.-long 2-by-4
1 yard rough sand
Hand tamper (from a rental yard)
¾ ton slate pieces
3-in. chisel and mallet
Goggles and gloves
Cut a piece of string about 6 ft. long; tie to the bottom of the center stake, measure out 4 ft., and tie free end to the second stake. With that free stake, pull the string taut and trace the patio’s outline in the soil as you walk around the center stake. Remove stakes, then mark the circle with a hose.
Using shovel, remove 3 in. depth of soil from the entire circle. Tape the level to the narrow side of the 2-by-4; use the board to level the surface.
Fill circle with 2 to 3 in. of sand, rake smooth, then recheck the overall level.
Moisten sand with water, then tamp it firmly. Level again.
Place the stones
Starting at the outer edge, position the large stones to sit slightly above the surrounding soil surface.
Arrange as carefully as possible for fit; place as many large pieces as possible, then fill in with smaller pieces.
Check the level of the patio regularly.
Place a stone atop a board, scrape a line on stone where you want to make cut, gently strike the chisel there to make a ⅛-in.-deep depression, then pound the stone hard until it breaks.
Shovel sand over patio and sweep it into cracks; spray with water to settle.
Apply more sand; sweep again.