How to build a raised stone patio

bricks image by Ann Kosche from

A raised patio sets above ground level to prevent water pooling and muddiness on the patio surface. You can build raised patios from stone, concrete pavers or bricks. To build a raised stone patio, you need to begin by building retaining walls to prevent the materials inside the patio space from spreading and falling victim to gravity over time. Building a raised stone patio on your property may take as long as a couple of weeks, depending on the type of stone you choose. For best results, build your raised stone patio from stone cut into brick dimensions.

Excavate a 30 cm (1 foot) wide trench around the perimeter of your patio site with a spade or shovel. Dig down approximately 15 cm (6 inches) throughout the entire length of the trench.

Check the bottom of the trench with a level. Remove soil as necessary to make the trench level along its entire length. Double-check that the entire trench is a consistent 30 cm (1 foot) wide, and adjust as necessary.

Compact the soil at the bottom of the trench using a manual soil tamper. Pound the broad end of the tamper against the bottom of the trench to compact and firm up the soil until it feels hard and resistant to shifting.

Place a 7.5 cm (3 inch) layer of gravel in the bottom of the trench. Compact this layer with the soil tamper.

Mix a batch of ready-mix mortar with water, following the package directions for achieving a consistency like brownie batter. Scoop up the mortar with a trowel and make small piles throughout the trench.

Set stone bricks in place on top of the mortar, creating a single course of end-to-end stones. Apply mortar to the top of the stones in the first layer.

Lay another course of stones on top of the first layer. Apply mortar to the ends of each stone and stagger the stones so each one sits on top of a joint in the first layer. Smooth the mortar into the joints with a jointer tool. Remove excess mortar before it dries onto the surface of the stones.

Continue building up the stone walls, one layer at a time, staggering the stones and smoothing the mortar into the joints, until you reach your desired patio height. Allow the retaining walls to dry for at least 48 hours.

Fill the patio area inside the retaining walls with gravel. Spread a 7.5 cm (3 inch) layer, then compact it with the manual tamper. Continue spreading 7.5 cm (3 inch) layers of gravel and tamping them down. Stop when the gravel sits below the top of the retaining walls by 5 cm (2 inches), plus the thickness of the stone bricks.

Place a 5 cm (2 inch) layer of sand over the gravel. Smooth the sand so it's level, compacting it with the tamper.

Set stone bricks for the patio surface, starting in one corner. Apply mortar to the ends and sides of each piece. Smooth the joints between the stone bricks with the jointer tool. Continue until the patio area is complete.

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