Large Scale Central

Patio Project

In case anyone is wondering why I haven’t posted any layout news lately, here’s the real scoop:

I had assumed that after I completed the gazebo project I would be able to turn my attention back to the layout on a full-time basis. “Not so fast,” she countered, stopping me in my tracks (pun intended.) The ‘she’, of course, is my wife, Mary. Although graciously allowing me to use a portion of the yard to support my garden railroad habit, she has some definite ideas on what the yard should look like.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go from the house out to the layout without walking across the grass?” she innocently asked. I blindly assumed a stepping stone path of some sort was what she had in mind. But no … nothing ever turns out to be that simple.

First, the existing concrete porch needed to be extended out about twenty feet to meet the landscape block wall around the layout perimeter. Seven cubic yards of concrete and a lot of rebar did the trick. But of course, plain old concrete would never do. Both the original porch slab and the new extension are now covered with 600 square feet of Tennessee bluestone. And, of course, the bluestone needed a contrasting perimeter border of Colorado red sandstone to match the perimeter wall and the cliffs in the Red Rock Canyon portion of the layout.

The old wrought iron patio furniture that had fit so nicely on the original porch looked pitifully small on the new stone patio, so it has been relegated out to the yard.

On the positive side – it’s less lawn to mow. And it will be a great place to enjoy the pond and watch the trains. I figure with the savings in gas and wear and tear on the mower, I should break even in about four hundred years.

I pressure washed the surface on Monday and will be applying a sealer/color enhancer this weekend. A 54” diameter propane fire table and a few pieces of patio furniture will be delivered next week to transform the area into a new outdoor room.

Here are a few shots to show how the work progressed over the past two weeks. This is what it looked like when I began:

Here is after the excavation was completed:

Here is after the new concrete slab went in. I left the surface rough since it was going to be covered with the flagstone:

I began placing the bluestone at the door on the old patio and worked my way out. I place wire mesh over the joint area where the two slabs meet:

Here is how it looked as I neared the outer edge. There is a pretty thick mortar bed between the bluestone and the concrete slab:

Here is how it looks now after pressure washing:

I will post a couple of additional shots next week after it is sealed and the new furniture is installed.


That looks great Bob! (

Dang Bob your damned industrious. That looks just beautiful. You must be getting ready to move. Isn’t that how it works you spend a ton of time and money to make something beautiful and then move so someone else can enjoy it? Anyway… I love the look and it does blend nicely with the layout wall. I do have a question though. How did you work out the height with adding the stone to the old patio in relation to the back door? Between the mortar bed and that stone it appears to be at least a few inches taller.

At any rate it is looking great.

Looks great Bob, I hope it didn’t impede the opening on your patio doors. It looks awful close. I can’t let my wife see this thread.

Beautiful work!

That looks beautiful! I just love those little ideas that get added to the “Honey-Do” list…(

Looking Great Bob!

But I think that ghost is doing all the work!

Looks great Bob, You have been a busy boy.(

Loverly… (

That looks amazing!

Final Update:

I finished sealing the patio over the weekend. The directions on the sealer said apply when the temperature is between 50 and 80 degrees. The only time the temperature dropped below 80 over the weekend was at night. I did the first half on Friday night and the second half on Saturday night. I started both nights a little before midnight and stopped at about 6 A.M. It was actually kind of nice working out there.

The new patio furniture came this afternoon. I don’t think it got much above 80 at all today, and the temperature is in the 60’s this evening. Kind of strange for Oklahoma in the middle of August. But it did give us a chance to test out the new fire table.

Here is a shot of the patio taken while standing near the lower pond:

Here is another view of the patio taken near the gazebo looking across the lower Red Rock Canyon area of the layout:

Here is a baker’s rack that Mary thought would look good out on the patio. The ugly frog and the birds are hers. The classification lamp is mine.

And, the fire table actually feels pretty good this evening. Here is Mary and my mother-in-law enjoying the new toy:


It looks terrific! Good work (as always!) (

Beautiful!! What did you use for sealer?



Thanks for the kind compliments.

Devon, Chuck,

The original concrete surface was about an inch below the patio door threshold. The new stone surface is now at the same height as the threshold. I beveled the stone edges that butt against the threshold with a hand grinder to smooth the transition. The patio door opens inward, so there is not a clearance issue with the bottom of the door. Also, there is about a ten foot roof overhang above the doorway so I am not too concerned about snow/water accumulating against the door and running under it. The patio has an overall slope from the doorway to the outer edge against the layout perimeter with a drop of about 2” in 30 feet. I put a slight crown down the center so that both sides slope out into the yard at about 1" per 10 feet.


You’re correct … I just do the planning and the ghost does all the work.


The sealer I used was DuPont Stonetech Professional Enhancer Pro. It’s a bit on the expensive side but the results were excellent. It required two gallons for a single coat.

It is astonishing to think that you did all this. I get an aching back just getting up from my chair to let the dogs out to pee. It looks professional and wonderful! I wonder what sort of booty you will have to give up next time you mention working on your railroad!!

That is really nice work… (

Nice work Bob and sounds like you took every precaution and thought out well how to keep the water out of the back door. A wonderful project.