Over the years there has been an increase in demand for people incorporating hardscape landscaping into their back yards. The use of interlock or patio stone decks allows for the creation of spectacular, maintenance-free living spaces. Stone has a natural look, is durable and easily maintained, and aging just increases its beauty!
Traditional interlock installation techniques require relatively deep excavation, removal of materials and extensive base preparation. If the topography of your yard involves slopes, then traditional interlock installation would require the construction of an interlock wall and drainage systems. A patio stone deck helps mitigate many of these factors.
As the popularity of patio stone decks increases, several companies have developed unique products allowing for easy construction. Stonedeks Soil Grid and Alliance Gator Mat* are two products that are cost-effective and make installation of a patio stone deck much easier. Evolutiondeck’s Paverdeck can be installed in the ground, either wholly or partially, making this a fantastic choice when dealing with slopes.
The benefits of using these types of innovative deck systems to create an in-ground patio stone deck are time of installation and structural stability. While traditional interlock installation relies heavily on base preparations, these innovative products rely on their design and the geosynthetics used for stability and longevity. The concept of these would be similar to an outdoor floating floor that is locked together preventing movement of the stone due to freeze-thaw cycles. These systems also work incredibly well to support and stabilize outdoor porcelain pavers which are gaining in popularity.
For perspective, let’s look at the installation of one of these products. The StoneDeks Soil Grid is an engineered plastic grate that locks together, allows for drainage and stays flexible even in the extreme Canadian cold. I have had the opportunity to witness the installation of this type of patio stone deck at several projects across Canada, both by contractors and homeowners, and the results were amazing, with no reported callbacks for shifting, movement or settling.
The process starts with minimal excavation to accommodate the thickness of stone chosen, the soil grid, and approximately 4” of granular used for leveling. This amount of excavation is significantly less than traditional interlock installation, greatly reducing the labour time or the need for heavy equipment.
Once excavated, the disturbed soil is compacted, and a layer of geotextile is put down to prevent the granular from migrating into the ground over time. The granular material is added, leveled and compacted and a second layer of geotextile is placed over the compacted granular. The second layer of geotextile prevents the soil grid grates from settling into the granular over time. Once the soil grid is down and locked into place a final layer of geotextile is added directly on the grids to hold the polymeric sand in place. The final step to finishing your patio stone deck is to lay the desired stones and sweep in the polymeric sand.
The way these patio stone deck systems lock together, and the use of geotextiles to hold the various layers of materials in place gives these systems the ability to weather the Canadian climate.
The price of a patio stone deck can be equivalent to standard interlock ground installation. The extra cost of these materials used is offset by the time and other materials saved during installation. If there are any significant slopes involved, then using a product such as Paverdeck to create your patio stone deck will definitely offset the cost. The fact that the use of these systems allows for less excavation make them ideal for the “do-it-yourselfer” who may not have access to equipment for excavating.
As people invest more money and time into their yards in an effort to create beautiful, outdoor living space, they want products that will last and look great for years to come. Welcome to the deck innovations!