Ideas on what to do with this under-deck patio area

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Old 04-26-16, 05:11 AM
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Ideas on what to do with this under-deck patio area

For starters, I live in a 2-story townhouse. The upper level has a small 8'x10' deck off the back. Underneath the deck is also a sliding door exiting from the lower level.

Over the weekend, the girlfriend and I were assessing my yard for possibilities of flower planting and other small ideas for sprucing up the landscaping. Once we got to the backyard, this led to a discussion about what to do with the patio area under the deck:

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As you can see, it's primarily pea gravel. The area's overall size is just over 10' (124") by just shy of 8' (92"). The concrete pad at the sliding door is 42"x42". Ultimately I'd love to get rid of the pea gravel.

The grill is sitting on about 16 of those 12"x12" concrete stones that are just embedded into the dirt. I did not put the stones there, a previous owner had done that. I just thought it was a decent place to put the grill for now since my tiny deck does not have any stairs.

An idea we came up with is to just put those 12x12 stones all throughout that area. Of course, I'd do it the right way by removing the pea gravel, digging down into the dirt and putting a good base of gravel and sand, then put the stones on top. However one problem I see me running into is in front of the sliding door. There's a small "blob" of concrete there that just looks like the contractor might've spilled and didn't do anything with. I can't dig that out so I'd have to find some workaround for that spot. You can kind of see it in the picture.

Another idea I'd had was just to have a slab poured there. But that's a bit costly...when I first moved into the house 3 years ago, I had someone come out to give me an estimate for a new larger deck with stairs and a poured slab underneath of it. They quoted me $1500 for the slab alone. So that's a bit out of my range right now.

Does anybody have any other ideas for consideration on what I could do with this area? I just hate the pea gravel and would like something a bit more solid. Thanks!
 
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Old 04-26-16, 05:31 AM
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Given that you have a deck above, I'd consider a ground level deck, as well. I can't tell for certain but it appears to me that the area under the deck doesn't get much sun. If that's the case, concrete or stone would tend to be damp.
 
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Old 04-26-16, 05:36 AM
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I can't dig that out so I'd have to find some workaround for that spot.
You can't? I fail to see the reason why. A shovel and a sledgehammer would take care of that in short order. Imo, paver would be fine, and I would only remove enough of the gravel so that you could tile around the existing pad... that's where you should start. I'd rent a compactor and tamp all that gravel down good first and get it smooth and level, removing only what you need to remove before you lay the pavers.
 
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Old 04-26-16, 05:54 AM
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I can't tell for certain but it appears to me that the area under the deck doesn't get much sun.
This statement would be correct. This area sees no sun given the shadowing from the house.

You can't? I fail to see the reason why. A shovel and a sledgehammer would take care of that in short order. Imo, paver would be fine, and I would only remove enough of the gravel so that you could tile around the existing pad... that's where you should start. I'd rent a compactor and tamp all that gravel down good first and get it smooth and level, removing only what you need to remove before you lay the pavers.
Well, I didn't think I could because I thought it's attached to the foundation...but I could very well be wrong. I'll have to double check that this evening. But if it could be broken up then that'd be a good start.

Regarding only removing enough gravel...are you saying I could skip the base then? I'd definitely have to dig quite a bit out at the leading edge of the slab because that does have a bit of a slope to it coming away from the house. I may even need to build it up a little by the foundation so it would make the tiles even with the slab. Last night I set a tile by the slab at the foundation side and the slab was still about 1/2" taller than how the tile sat. Then I placed the tile at the leading edge of the slab and the tile was higher than the slab. So definitely some adjustments needed there.
 
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Old 04-26-16, 06:12 AM
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Yes, I would skip the base and just move the gravel around until it's the right height and level, but be sure you rent the compactor. The gravel will make a decent base for 12x12's provided the gravel isn't real deep and you have compacted it and its smooth and level. (As level as your pad is anyway)
 
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Old 04-26-16, 06:35 AM
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Do those lines on the gravel represent drips coming from between the wood decking up above on the Porch ?

I'd consider suspending some pitched corrugated fiberglass beneath the decking to keep the Patio drier . . . . and lengthen its usefulness.
 
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Old 04-26-16, 06:41 AM
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Yes, I would skip the base and just move the gravel around until it's the right height and level, but be sure you rent the compactor. The gravel will make a decent base for 12x12's provided the gravel isn't real deep and you have compacted it and its smooth and level. (As level as your pad is anyway)
Thanks...how about weed control? Would anything need to go down for that? As you can probably see, there is some moss and a few weeds popping up in that picture...and it's early in the season. As the spring and summer wears on, that area starts sprouting more weeds. I've just sprayed them with Round-Up before and that holds it for a bit, but of course it eventually comes back. Would some of the weed fabric help or would the weight of the stones be enough to "smother" any growth?

I'd consider suspending some pitched corrugated fiberglass beneath the decking to keep the Patio drier . . . . and lengthen its usefulness.
Yes, this is also under consideration as water does drip through quite a bit from between the decking above. It makes for quite a nuisance if I'm trying to grill while it's raining, to say the least.
 
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Old 04-26-16, 01:45 PM
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Any weeds you get will come from the dirt that blows into the cracks in the pavers, which is going to happen anyway, so no, I don't think you need to put down any kind of fabric. It would be a good idea to fill your cracks with silica sand after you have laid them. Generally you will spread a bunch of sand on the pavers and then run the tamper over the pavers again to help level them out... when the excess sand gets swept off the surface of the pavers, all the gaps between pavers will be filled with the clean sand which helps lock them together. Clean sand is also better than the dirt that would blow in / fill in otherwise.

The sand may eventually settle down into the gravel base, but you can always sweep a little more into the cracks as needed.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 10:50 AM
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Skip the gym for a week and buy a wheel barrow, shovel, and bags of concrete. It's a a lot of work to hand mix and pour concrete but that area isn't very large. You can partition it off into sections to make it easier.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 08:20 PM
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If you decide to batch and pour concrete, save yourself a lot of work (and grief) by renting a decent concrete mixer. To save even more work, consider ordering the appropriate amount of readimix concrete from a local concrete supplier--that way, the work evolves into finding enough buddies with wheel-barrows to run the mud into the site from where the truck will be parked. Usually makes for much higher-quality concrete, with the mixing and batching-related work amounting to writing a check for the appropriate amount. And cost-wise, it's often a break-even situation, especially considering not having to rent a mixer.
 
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Old 08-10-16, 05:14 AM
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Giving this a bump as I've been doing some work on this lately. Here's a link to my Google Photo album showing the progress thus far:

Under-deck patio project

There are a few stones slightly misaligned but I'm not too worried about it. I have all the stones butted right up against the foundation wall so maybe that isn't completely straight. The patio is just temporarily permanent anyway until I have the resources to rebuild the deck altogether, which could be a while. I wanted to put something down there to get rid of that dreaded pea gravel so thanks to suggestions here, I went with 12 x 12s.

It's still kind of in progress as I need a few more to finish it off, then I have to fill in the gap that will be on 2 sides of the slab and do something for edging. I'm still undecided if I want to do trim this out with some bricks or just put plastic edging there and cover it over with gravel/grass.
 
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