Patios & Walkways - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A great book on a challenging subject


Patios & Walkways

Patios & Walkways is part of Taunton's 'Build Like a Pro' series of books. These books are written by professionals with years (decades) of experience. So what you should rightfully expect is comprehensive, detailed information that you can rely on to get the best results you can, given your skill level.
Jeswald's book doesn't disappoint. With over 30 years of experience under his belt there likely isn't much he hasn't encountered in the brick and stone business. I really like the way the book is laid out. He begins with a discussion on planning - a step that we sometimes pay scant attention to in our desire to get on with the job. As he rightfully points out, without a carefully laid out plan, you're more than likely to run into unforeseen (and unintended) problems.
The next chapter describes the building materials you'll be using. He discusses what materials to use, and how to choose them. At this point you might want to take a trip to your local building supply centre to actually look over the materials.
The third chapter, 'Construction Methods', is the one that I found most interesting, and is worth a very careful reading. Jeswald takes you through all the critical steps involved in building patio and walkways, supporting walls, and steps. There are a lot of illustrations and photos to support the text, along with 'Pro Tips' and 'Trade Secrets'. After reading through this chapter you're ready to make the decision as to whether you really do want to move on to a first project.
The rest of the book contains six projects. Each is thoroughly described, includes a layout plan, and is supplemented by copious photos and, occasionally amplified with detailed illustrations. I would classify these as intermediate to advanced projects in terms of skill and difficulty. The easiest project, in my view, is project number five, 'Discover Your Front Door', which consists of a short walkway ending with a raised landing. One thing I would have liked to see in the book is the cost per project, along with the time to complete and the number of workers involved in each project. It would make estimating your cost and time requirements much easier.
Jeswald has set an ambitious goal with this book, in that he seeks to teach you " to build patios and walkways like a professional." He certainly shows how a professional builds patios and walkways. Realistically though, your first results might not look as professional as the projects featured in the book. Building with stone, brick and concrete is heavy, hard, sweaty work. And it you're working on your own, it takes a fair amount of time. I've built several patios and a couple of walkways, and while the process is not as complicated or difficult as I first thought it might be, my first projects weren't as competent as I expected them to be. I do know that I certainly would have benefitted from this book. The kicker here is experience. I would suggest that you first undertake a couple of small projects before you begin a major makeover project, particularly if you've never worked with the building materials before.
A great book on a challenging subject that will be very useful for avid DIYers as well as for landscape professionals.

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  • Planning and Design
  • Materials
  • Construction Methods
  • Formal Front Driveway
  • Backyard Makeover
  • Dine in Style
  • From Bland to Beautiful
  • Discover Your Front Door
  • Make a Bold Entrance
  • Index
PUBLISHER:Taunton Press
AVAILABLE FROM:Your local bookseller or online
FORMAT:Softcover, 170 pages
AUTHOR:Peter Jeswald
Carl Duguay
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