After I read a blog post about not overlooking front courtyards it was not that long after that I was in fact, installing pavers in a front courtyard. Hmm, deja vu? Sometimes the front and side area are going to be your only available patio area. This is especially true in the Toronto area, many corner lots have no back yard. So why not create a nice courtyard/entrance area. And that's exactly what this homeowner wanted.

The existing space was not cohesive. Concrete had been installed over the years but it was very noticeable where the concrete start/stopped and was added on to over the years. Some areas had settled and were cracking. There was a concrete curb and railing that didn't allow for any free flow. The first thing we had to do was remove the concrete. That's easier said than done, the concrete in some areas was 8" thick. It put up a fight but was eventually subdued. Granular 'A' was brought in and compacted. Our usual 1" sand setting bed was levelled out and the pavers were installed.

Material choices are always an interesting discussion with the customer, every project has it's own set of challenges. On this particular front courtyard/patio the homeowner wanted a different paver. The only problem would have been the extreme amount of waste with all the cutting around the edges. And I'm glad we didn't go with that one! Whew. I try to suggest the best and most efficient ways to use the materials so that waste is minimized. Customers shouldn't have to pay for high waste. The right materials should be specified, right from the design stage.

Avante Ashlar Install GuideAvante ashlar was chosen for this project. This paver has an interesting shape. I was a little concerned with the potential waste percentage. Fortunately I was forwarded the installation guide. Many stones, after being cut, can be re-used on the opposite edge. I was a little sceptical but I was pleasently suprised. Indeed, many stones can be re-used on the other side. What helps is if you can bring your edges in or out by a few inches to adjust on the fly. By doing installation this way it significantly reduces waste. There's not much waste at all, this is a good thing. Now if Unilock could reduce the weight. These pavers were big and heavy!  

Materials Used On This Project:

Field: Unilock, Avante Ashlar, Sierra.

Border: Unilock, Series 3000, Black Granite.

6" Steps: Jet black granite. Rockfaced. Flamed surface finish

2" Coping: Jet black granite. 2" x 6'  bullnose. Flamed surface finish.

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Here is a video walkthrough of the project.

About the Author

Garry Reisky

garry reisky hardscaperGarry Reisky is the owner of Terraform Contracting. A Unilock Authorized Contractor located in Toronto, Ontario. Terraform designs and installs residential hardscape and landscape creations. Garry is a hardscape expert with extensive installation and product knowledge. Garry is an unofficial Rock(et) Scientest and self proclaimed guru of everything EuduraColor. Find Garry on Google+. Tired of dealing with inexperienced contractors, Contact Garry for a free estimate.

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