• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook builds beautiful circular patio that features a chill-chasing fire pit.

    Steps:
    1. Remove grass from the patio area using a shovel or gas-powered turf cutter.
    2. Spread about 2 inches of crushed stone mixed with sand over the area, then smooth it out with a rake.
    3. Have a helper hold the end of a tape measure in the center of the patio area. Extend the tape out to the desired patio radius, then use line-marking spray paint to mark the outline of the circular patio onto the ground.
    4. Use a transit to set two aluminum screed rails into the stone-and-sand base. Tap down the screeds with a rubber mallet. Be sure that both screed rails slope 1½ inches across their length; that'll ensure the patio will drain rainwater.
    5. With the screed rails in place, use a long screed to scrape the sand level with the screed rails.
    6. Pull out the screed rails and fill the voids with stone-and-sand mixture.
    7. Start the patio by setting the center concrete paver in the very middle of patio.
    8. Next, set the first row of patio blocks around the center paver.
    9. Continue setting pavers radiating out from the center. Use a rubber mallet to tap the pavers tightly together.
    10. At the outside perimeter edge of the patio, create a contrasting border by setting one circular row of light-colored pavers.
    11. Hold the pavers in place by installing flexible plastic edging around the perimeter of the patio. Secure the edging with 8-inch galvanized spikes.
    12. Layout the first course of pavers for the fire pit in the center of the patio.
    13. Then, remove one circular row of patio pavers, and set the first course of fire-pit pavers down onto the stone-and-sand base. Use the rubber mallet to tap the pavers level and even.
    14. Continue setting fire-pit pavers, making sure you overlap the joints from one course to the next.
    15. Pour a thick layer of polymeric sand over the patio surface, then use a push broom to sweep the sand into the paver joints.
    16. Run a gas-powered plate compactor over the patio surface to drive the sand deep into the joints.
    17. Next, set concrete pavers along one portion of the patio to form a curved seating wall. Overlap paver joints and use concrete adhesive to hold the pavers in place.
    18. Use pavers to build two columns, one at each end of the seating wall. Stack the pavers, using concrete adhesive to hold them together.
    19. Apply a thick bead of concrete adhesive to the top course of pavers, then set a decorative stone cap on top of each column.
    • Difficulty: Hard
      Moving and setting concrete pavers is dirty, difficult work
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    Video Directory

    Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • flat blade shovel
        Shovel
      • metal garden rake
        Garden rake
      • transit
        Transit
      • plate compactor
        Plate compactor
      • screed
        Screed and screed rails
      • mallet
        Rubber mallet
      • mason's hammer
        Hammer
      • push broom
        Push broom
      • caulk gun
        Caulk gun
      • wheelbarrow
        Wheelbarrow

      Shopping List

      Stone-and-sand mixture, used to form base of patio

      Concrete pavers

      Line-marking spray paint

      Polymeric sand

      Plastic edging and 8-inch galvanized spikes

      Two stone caps

      Concrete adhesive