This was by far our most challenging project! As you can see from the pictures below, the house had an attached sunroom that was built on the existing wood deck. We wanted to build a nice patio with a pergola to replace the sunroom. At first we did call a few contractors to get pricing for this project. But the quotes came in around $10k so we decided to figure this out ourselves, and only contract our parts that we absolutely cannot handle.
We had a handy-man group to come in the help us demolish the sunroom, haul the debris away, level the ground and lay flagstones and gravel sand. We purchased a pallet Oklahoma flagstones directly from Caprock, a local stone wholesaler. This was enough for our 14ft x 16ft patio.
After the stones are laid, with gravel sand underneath and in between stones, we sprinkled the patio area so the gravel sand could get just wet enough to bond. We did this a couple times a day for two days. Once the stones are settled, we started to clean them up with a small brush. These stones are very dusty and dirty, so they needed to be brushed up so to show their pretty natural color!
The final step was to add a top layer of Sakrete PermaSand Paver Joint Sand on the joints between the stones. This was a very time consuming task. You have sweep the joint sand carefully into the joints and make sure it does not stay on the stone surface. This is because the last step would be to water the work area to allow the joint sand to seal the joint (permanently!) so joint sand which did not get swept off the stone surface will bond to the stone and will be extremely difficult to be removed (if possible at all).
We then left the patio untouched (not stepped on) for 48 hours. If you decide to do this yourself, do it when there will be no rain when the work is done, and at least 2 days after that.
Below you can see a picture of the patio right after the stones were laid where Eggy was standing, and a picture of when it was completely finished (stones brushed, joint sand settled). Huge difference!
We were very lucky that when Ales's parents visited from the Czech Republic, Tata, his dad (the real life Super Mario!) decided to help us put up a pergola! Well, what exactly happened was that when we told him how much we were quoted to build a pergola, he scolded us off and asked why we thought of paying for this to be done instead of doing it ourselves. As a result of that, we purchased wood from a local lumber yard, then Ales and Tata (with the help of some beer and wine!) built our beautiful pergola within a week.
We spent a lot of time hanging out on the patio. Ales's parents spent over month with us in Dallas. We had such a great time together, and were very sad when they finally left. The pergola later also became home to a pair of doves, we named the mom dove Pikachu, there were at least 3 baby doves that were born and grew up in the nest under the pergola's roof. It was a joy to watch the doves everyday.