Affordable stone for patio?

1iora

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Hi guys! My yard is getting very weedy, and you know my neighbor is going to comment, and I want to sit out there and grill anyway... so I need to put in a patio.

I think I'm going to do 90sq ft. We have a hand-me-down iron table, and I'm not sure how large it is, but it's going to have to fit. I'm planning to save some money by doing stepping stones from the door to the table-area and then from the table-area to the gate. I may also save money by doing 3" gaps between the stones in the table-area and filling them with creeping thyme (or something else if it doesn't do well in my shady, semi-soggy yard).

But everything is SO expensive. This is a rental, so I won't get any of the value I put into it back. Even the ugliest cement pavers are 1.50 a sq ft. Are there any creative ideas out there? I want this to be an easy project- I'm planning on just tossing the stones over top of the dirt. In addition to wanting something easy, I don't want to use gravel. Weeds, squirrels, etc.

Does anyone have any ideas?? I found a good deal for flagstone, at $2.50 a sq ft (http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/mat/2897944325.html) but I'd have to drive an hour to get it, and it's still more than we wanted to spend.

Should we bite the bullet and get the flagstone, or can we do something else?
 

The Mama Chicken

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You might want to consider what's called "urbanite" it's pieces of broken up concrete from demo on construction sites. Any time a sidewalk or foundation slab needs to be removed the concrete is broken up and sent to the dump. If there is any construction going on in your area you could ask if you could take any broken concrete they have on hand. Since they have to pay to get rid of it they might be willing to give it to you for free. The biggest issue would be getting small enough pieces to use, but a sledge hammer would fix that easily enough.
 

ducks4you

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How about 1/4", 4 x 6 rubber stall mats? It won't hurt them to be outside for the summer and you could resell them OR move them if/when you get your own place. They run ~$30/piece and $60 would give you an instant 4 x 12 ft. patio. I would suggest that you buy a handful of pavers for the grill--rubber does burn, LOL!
Later on you can kill off the grass or weeds in sections with them. I do this in my area in front of my barn where the grass has grown up in between the gravel. Actually, there are out to get clean with the rain in between trailering trips for my horses. :rolleyes:
 

bid

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I don't know if you have a local stone yard in your area or not, but you will usually get a better price that way. It has been a while since I have priced stone, but Crab Orchard might be something you want to look into. It can be a bit fragile, but is also fairly light weight and comes in pretty large pieces. As long as it has a good base underneath and since this is a short term thing, it might be just what you are looking for. Good luck and let us know how your project turns out! :)
 

digitS'

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You may be able to get brick seconds, 1iora.

I don't know what they would cost but I have quite a few in my yard and have found use for them. They were free . . . about 25 years ago. What is wrong with them is be hard to know. I'm not a mason but they look okay to me . . .

They are the kind that have 3 holes and the 1st year I moved to this home, there was a real gutter washer of a rainstorm. Water moved right off the roadway and down into this sloping lot. I had standing water in the carport! Decided I didn't want that to happen again. So, I set those bricks in some coarse sand directly in front of the carport. You should know that the carport has never had a car in it. I think that the person who built it might have had some prize vehicle to park there but it isn't even all that accessible! It is pretty much a "carport" only in name.

Anyway, those bricks only extend about 4 feet on the uphill side of the concrete slab. But, they've been there for 15 years, water drains readily thru them, and they still look just fine - as I say, I've never driven a car over them ;). I've also used the bricks near the backyard water faucet. There's lots of foot traffic right there (true at the carport also). It was just a matter of buying a couple of bags of sand, doing just a little excavating, and there has been firm footing there ever since. At "free" - those bricks couldn't have done a better job for me :).

Steve
 

1iora

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Clever ideas, thanks!

ducks, do you know of any thicker version of the stall mats? The yard gets pretty soupy when it's wet and I don't want whatever I use burying itself in mud/squishing down in spots.

mama, I actually checked craigslist and couldn't find anything like this... but then, digitS, I started thinking, and most of the sidewalks around here are brick and I see them tearing them up sometimes. So I tried bricks and found plenty of free ones. The problem with the bricks, of course, is I wouldn't be able to just toss them down.

Also, I just found a fabulous deal on http://belgard.biz/shapes-mega-arbel.htm - about 2.50 a sq ft - but it's sooo much work, I don't think I can just lay it on the surface. Better off with the bricks.
 

ducks4you

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Yes, they come in 1/4", 1/2" and 3/4" thick. I have all 3 in my barn and in my horse trailer. The 1/2" and 3/4" ones are H E A V Y, which is why I recommended the thinnest. I roll the 1/4" ones from a long side, this makes them stiffer, then I grab each side (keeping it rolled) to move. The heavier ones are a PITA to move, but I grunt and groan folding them in 1/2, then DRAG them to where I want them to go.They are the cheapest bought from a farm supply store, plus you can have the clerk load them in your car/truck. This is what 2 of the surfaces look like:
http://www.rubbercal.com/Horse_Stall_Mats_Photo.html
I also found this:
http://www.greatmats.com/playground-rubber.php
I should mention--the 4 x 6 work well in the bed of a truck.
 

1iora

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Has anyone tried ReStore, from Habitat for Humanity? They appear to have some good deals ($30 for three solar powered granite stepping stones, probably 20 a piece otherwise), but are closed now. See eg restorenova.org, and look at this crazy deal they had for President's Day... http://www.restorenova.org/2012/02/presidents-day-sale/
 

lesa

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One of the coolest ideas I have seen- and depending on your circumstances may be entirely free! What you do is slice up a tree into pieces. (Round slabs...) You then lay them as you would stone- digging down so they are even with the soil. You intermingle large pieces with small and you get a really cool looking wooden path, made up of round pieces of wood. You can seal them if you want- but they should last a few years, as is. Since it is a rental I wouldn't bother. We are needing to take down a tree this spring- and I intend to make this path leading to my chicken coop. Take a look on pinterest for wooden paths- I think you will see some nice pics... I had some luck picking up used pavers on Craigslist, but they still were not free... and wood might be.
 

momofdrew

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lesa said:
One of the coolest ideas I have seen- and depending on your circumstances may be entirely free! What you do is slice up a tree into pieces. (Round slabs...) You then lay them as you would stone- digging down so they are even with the soil. You intermingle large pieces with small and you get a really cool looking wooden path, made up of round pieces of wood. You can seal them if you want- but they should last a few years, as is. Since it is a rental I wouldn't bother. We are needing to take down a tree this spring- and I intend to make this path leading to my chicken coop. Take a look on pinterest for wooden paths- I think you will see some nice pics... I had some luck picking up used pavers on Craigslist, but they still were not free... and wood might be.
Lesa I thought of the same thing Wood pavers are completely free they are usually cut about 2 inches thick... check your neighborhood any one taking down a tree....We had trees knocked down in our October storm and I plan on using some of the bigger ones to pave a couple of areas off the deck...where the grass has problems growing because of foot traffic
 

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