by Dwayne Regehr
When I'm in the market for something, I often just want to get a feel for pricing. I don't want to hear "oh well we can't give you an idea of price because every project is different". Of course that's true with landscaping – every project really is different and it is hard to give ballparks. Never-the-less, this article is meant to give you a rough idea of costs.
In the most general terms a patio could cost anywhere from $6.00 to $60.00 per square foot. That's an extremely wide range! Let's zoom in a bit more on the ballpark and break those numbers down a bit. The major factors that will determine the actual cost are your choice of finish material, size and complexity of design and location of the patio.
There is an ever-increasing range of materials that can be used for your patio. Manufactured concrete pavers or slabs are the most popular because of the range of colors and styles and the ease of installation. Concrete products, if purchased from local manufacturers are engineered to withstand our harsh climate and will last for many years with minimal maintenance. Patio finish materials can be put into the following categories:
Those prices include professional installation, including all materials underneath the surface.
Let's dig into why there's a range within each of the materials.
Small patios are generally more costly per square foot than larger patios. A tiny 8' by 8' bistro patio cannot be built as efficiently as a more generously sized 18' by 25' patio. Larger patios allow the use of larger equipment for excavation and moving materials, whereas a smaller patio may have to be built using mostly hand tools.
Simple rectangular shapes tend to be the simplest to build, so they'd put you closer to the lower end of the price range for the materials you want. More complex shapes will add about $4.00 to $6.00 per square foot, but it can be easily worth it if it produces a more interesting, beautiful and functional space.
The location of your future patio has a significant impact on the cost because it determines the type of equipment we can use in its construction. Easy machine access improves our efficiency. If the patio you are planning is located in your fenced in back yard with no access for heavy equipment, it might cost $6.00 to $8.00 per square foot more than the identical patio built in a more accessible location. We have become quite adept at getting a small loader into some unlikely places, but if that is not possible, our crew will put in some long days doing the excavation with shovels and wheelbarrows.
At this point you may be saying "Don't make me do math to calculate the surface area of complex shapes! How much is this going to cost me?".
I'll give a few examples of some projects just to give you an idea. Since we do 90% of our work using concrete pavers, I will assume a mid-range paver like the reliable and beautiful Roman paver made by Barkman Concrete.
An 8' by 8' Bistro patio located in a small back yard without access for any large machinery.
After excavating to an 8 inch depth we would place and compact a 6 inch deep base of crushed stone. After final grading to ensure drainage away from any buildings, the Roman pavers are set in place and locked together using polymeric sand.
Because of the amount of hand work required, this quaint little patio comes in near the top of the range at $39 per square foot for a total cost of about $2500 before taxes.
A project such as this would only take our crew about a day to complete.
A mid-sized patio in a larger back yard.
It is large enough to accommodate a patio table with 6 chairs. This design includes some interesting curves which blend with the shapes of the adjacent garden beds. We are able to get a small loader into the back yard to do the digging, but all materials have to be carried along the side of the house. This reduces efficiency and also requires some repairs to the side yard when the patio is complete.
Cost: $24 per square foot = $6000.
This would be a two-day project.
This includes a large central patio area that provides an eating area along with room for a barbeque and some additional chairs or loungers. A short walkway leads to a secondary patio that is a perfect spot for a fire pit or a gazebo to shelter you from the sun. Once again we have lots of curves which increases the complexity of the job, but since this is new construction on a corner lot we have easy access for machinery and materials, and we don't have to worry about repairs to an existing lawn.
Cost: $15 per square foot = $12,000
A patio this size would be four days, start to finish.
These guys are fantastic. So professional. We got them in to build us a patio about 8 years ago, and they were so good I would never use anyone else. We had them back this summer to do anotherRead more … walkway job and they were just as good. The quality of the work is perfect.... beautiful. Their work is so good that the company who built our garage asked for their contact info so they could work with Earthworks in the future. They are very quick, efficient, and polite as well. I highly recommend them.
We are very happy with our new yard. They were able to come out earlier than expected and were happy to accommodate us when we made some changes to the original plan. I will definitely callRead more … Earthworks Landscaping for future projects.
Very pleased with quality of workmanship. Highly recommend
Dwayne came to our home about a month ago, saw what we wanted done, gave us a quote and indicated it would be around 6 weeks before they could get to it. In about 5 weeks he called to indicate thatRead more … they would begin the next day at 8. They were on time, did a great job, in extreme heat & humidity and the end cost was as quoted. Needless to say I enjoy working with people who are on time, honest and do professional work - Earthworks Landscaping covers off all of these important points for me.