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preparation of a patio

the proper way to prepare the base of hardscapes

Although we are using a patio in this example, the information applies to nearly all hardscape designs.

Project outlook

Ohio patio rendering
Ohio patio - 1st person view

The Base

When installing your patio or outdoor kitchen, consider the geographical area in which you live. Areas with high temperature fluctuations are generally more prone to fluctuations in the land. When water freezes, it expands

The integrity of the base upon which your project is built is more important than the material of the patio itself.

The best option for a base is concrete. With occasional exceptions, we pour a 4" concrete base, and then build the patio on top. Any steps, walls, or supporting posts need to be poured much deeper... below what is known as a frost line. The frost line is the depth where the temperature remains the same all year round.

Water Flow

For ease of understanding, the slope of a patio needs to drop 1/8" for every foot in the direction where water is to drain.


In the above patio example, we want water to drain away from the house. This means that for every foot away from the house, the patio will be sloping downward 1/8". At 8', the surface of the patio will be 1" lower than at the house.

In a case where the property slopes towards the patio, drains need to be installed, which then direct the water to a drainage system such as the one used by the gutters.

Setting patio slope
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