Category Archives: Techniques

Afternoon Project: Simple Grape Arbor Patio

Afternoon Project

We’ve been slowly building up our backyard with some raised gardens and a grape arbor. The grass is finally green and lush, there’s a couple of places to compost and 6 fruit trees (that are FINALLY bearing fruit).

I came across an amazing deal on broken paving stones at Home Depot (end of season, no one was interested, they had another pallet to get rid of – you get the picture). So I bought them all. Stones, pea gravel, sand and a couple of hours to dig up the back year – hubby’s favorite! 🙂

Supply list for an 8×10 space

13 paving stones (originally 12×18 but few were whole pieces)

10 bags of pea stone

4 bags sand

A 30′ roll of weed block



Shovel (square might be better for digging sod, but round pointed works as well)


Piece of 2x4xless than 8′ for grading the space

The Process

This is the arbor before I started digging. It would have been fine for sitting under the shady vines, but I like how stones set the space apart.before

I tied some rope around the posts, with the pass on the outside corner, to help guide me when digging out the area. If you can dig in a straight line, then you could probably skip this step. I do not have that luxury. 😉tie

Grass out and spent some time leveling out the area, which lucky for me is very sandy and fairly rockless.

Seriously – take your time with this step. It”s important to get it as level as possible , especially if your are putting in large stones. They’ll rock if the substraight is not even and getting them level after the fact is a real PITA.dugout

Next step: roll out the weed block. I leave a bit on the edge and trim later, or just tick it in. This ensures good coverage once the pebbles fill in the edges. weedbarrier

I put in the sand and leveled it out with the 2×4. I know some people put in a lot of sand, but honestly I find this step a bit wasteful, especially if the native dirt is already sandy. I did this much primarily to fill in the gaps. sand

Pea gravel in and Adirondack chairs set. All told, about 4 hours – but not in a row. 😉 I’ll let this settle in for a couple of weeks, then trim up the weed block and possibly add a bag of pea stone.after

Time for a restorative glass of something cold. À bientôt!