Where do I find reasonably-priced patio stone?
October 21, 2012 4:45 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to install a patio on the cheap? I've been checking out big box stores, but I feel like I'm doing it wrong. I'm in Southwest Louisiana.

Hello All! I'm doing some major backyard work and one thing we need is a patio of some kind. I'm a pretty good diy-er and have been planning on putting in a 300 square foot patio myself over the next few weeks. When I go to Loews and Home Depot there's very little selection and the stones alone are coming out to be pushing $1000. Is this right and I have to suck it up or is there some other cheaper way to get a decent patio?

Also - if you happen to have any insanely awesome resources on patio-building, please feel free to fill me in : )

Thanks so much for your help!!!
posted by ashtabula to opelika to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can get molds that you pour concrete into that look like stone, if you color the concrete it looks really nice. And concrete is cheap.
posted by fshgrl at 5:01 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Are you looking for natural stone or concrete blocks?

If it's natural stone -- look for patio stone at a stone supplier. Pieces of limestone for example (here in Texas) are much cheaper from a landscape supply place than a big box hardware store. Call around a get some quotes - you should be able to get stone for under $1000 for sure.
posted by pantarei70 at 5:08 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

you can pour your own patio out of ready mix concrete. Won't be fun or fast and the finish on the first pads is going to suck but by the last ones you will be pretty good. There is lots of advice online for how to set forms, mix and pour your own.
posted by bartonlong at 5:48 PM on October 21, 2012

When we looked into doing a patio this Spring we found that $3/sq ft was the best we could find for decent (enough) looking stones so $1000 for 300 sq ft is not surprising. We ended up doing a deck instead due to the tones of sand, gravel and digging required for the patio. It seemed like very unfun and back breaking DIY.
posted by saradarlin at 5:57 PM on October 21, 2012

Are there building material salvage places in your neck of the woods?
posted by mollymayhem at 6:12 PM on October 21, 2012

you can pour your own patio out of ready mix concrete.

You might not save much, if any, money that way. According to this concrete calculator, a patio 4" thick that is 15' x 20' (300 sq ft, in other words) would be 3.7 cubic yards of concrete, or 167 bags of 80lb premix. The last time I ordered concrete it was about $90/yard plus a charge for a partial load, so you might be in about $400 just on the concrete. (I'll let you do the math for 167 bags at $5/bag, if you go that route...)

To that you need to add the cost of gravel subbase, forms, and either renting or buying floats and other tools. Also, concrete work is hard and moves fast; I'd want to have a few extra people there to help so you will need to pay them money or beer and pizza, depending on your relationship with them. But if you can get concrete delivered a lot cheaper than that, it might work out well.

I can buy concrete pavers for about $1/sq ft for the boring grey ones, and if you are really watching costs that might be one of your cheaper options.
posted by Forktine at 6:32 PM on October 21, 2012

I have been making plans to build a raised patio using a limited number of flat stones around the perimeter as a retaining wall, fill dirt almost to the top, a weed screen, and topped off with either sand or a fine pebble, which will then be used in the pathway to the patio too. Very inexpensive but not cheap/cheesy looking, and bonus: sand underfoot as you're sitting there with a beer around the firepit!
posted by headnsouth at 2:45 PM on October 22, 2012

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