With all the building going on in the Greater Toronto Area, real estate is at a premium. Where a warehouse or old factory stood, these are being torn down and replaced by town homes or condos. Every corner of the city is under development, there is no corner that is untouched. Typically these town homes come with a pretty spartan outdoor living area. Usually the owners get some patio stones and some steps out of their back door and that's about it. Enough to keep the mud down, not very attractive but it's enough to get in and out of the house without tracking mud all over the place.

For these homeowners it was time to get their patio upgraded, having the patio table barely fit on the builder's patio slabs, not to mention the chairs sinking into the grass all the time, it was getting old. They wanted to have a large enough area so that their table and chairs would be on a solid surface. In this particular backyard that meant filling in the whole area with pacers, from edge to edge. Now I do like a nice area for softscape, when there is too much pavement you can get the concrete jungle effect. Unfortunately there just wasn't any room to add any planting beds. I always suggest to clients facing this dilemma, add decorative urns or raised planters. This is a fantastic way to add green, container gardening is very popular and there some very attractive planters out there.

The material choices for this project came down to either Unilock Antara or Holland Stone. Now you know by know after reading my articles that I'm a huge fan of everything EnduraColor. I think it's great value especially when the stones start aging, they will look better longer. Sometimes, that's not as important to some customers and they want what they want. I can't fault anyone for that, I try to listen to the customer and give what they want.

The challenge when doing these types of projects is, access? Yes, that's important, but what's more important is, where are we going to store our materials. For every project we do, tons of material has to be taken out and tons of material has to be brought in. Is there an area for gravel storage? What about when the truck comes with the paving stones, is there enough room for them to unload. What about disposal, are we using a bin, or truck. Many deliveries have to be juggled, timing has to be perfect or there will be a problem. There just won't be any space to put down the materials without blocking a neighbor's driveway and that would be bad. The good part is, we're very experienced and have completed many projects like this. Dealing with neighbor's, dealing with the parking authority, it's all in a day's work.

And work we did, excavation is the first task we undertake followed by the installation of the granular a base aggregates. After the granular base is installed and compacted to 98% standard proctor density. We follow this by installing a 1” sand bedding layer, than it's time for the best part, paving stone installation. The homeowner wanted the stones installed on a 45 degree angle. The pattern would be classic herringbone with a soldier course around the whole perimeter. From the pictures below this is two town homes that we did at the same time. Steps were needed, the space is tight, fortunately I was able to find a nice concrete step 3' wide.

The front was also updated with the same pavers we used in the back, the only change is, we didn't put the front on a 45 degree. Overall I'm happy how the project turned out, town home projects can be challenging but with planning and great communication with vendor's for deliveries, they can go off without a hitch.

Materials used on this project:

Paving stones: Unilock, Holland stone, Terracotta

Steps: Permacon, Versailles Rocart

Site Access Backyard Before Backyard Before Holland Stone Installed Holland Stone, Installed Herringbone Pattern on a 45 Front, Before New Walkway Installed Planting Installed Planting Installed

About the Author

Garry Reisky

Garry Reisky is the owner of Terraform Contracting. A landscaping and hardscaping contractor located in Toronto, Ontario. Terraform designs and installs residential hardscape and landscapes. Garry is a hardscape expert with extensive installation and product knowledge. Garry is an unofficial Rock(et) Scientest and self proclaimed guru of everything Enduracolor. Find Garry on Google+. Tired of dealing with inexperienced contractors, Contact Garry for a free estimate.