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Clay paver patio part of landscaping that added $30k to home value

August 30, 2010

Sweat Equity, a mainstay of  HGTV’s DIY Network, is a show about how you can undertake home improvement projects to increase the equity in your home.  It’s hosted by general contractor Amy Matthews.  A recent episode was about how Amy’s sister, Christine, who spent nine years in the National Guard, decided to move back home to the Minneapolis  area and put down roots. She bought a two-bedroom bungalow that was in the right neighborhood but needed a lot of work.

Christine had two areas that needed improvement immediately:  a full basement that could be converted into a bedroom and bath, and a backyard overgrown with weeds and prairie grass. With a budget of $10,000 and the promise of at least a 100 percent return on her investment with well-designed landscaping, she decided to tackle the yard first.

With the help of her sister and her parents, Christine painted the outside of her house and a detached garage, leveled the yard and put in a retaining wall, a rain garden  and a patio and two walkways, using Pine Hall Brick clay pavers.

As the project got underway, Christine started a new job, so it fell to her father Larry to lay most of the pavers, which were chosen both for their aesthetics, because the color goes all the way through them; and their durability, because they do not absorb water.

Amy Matthews, the contractor, had three suggestions for the volunteer installers:

  • It’s crucial to get the sub-base of sand smooth and even to ensure a level surface above.
  • Pavers come packaged in a cube that has a variety of shades of color. Choosing a mix of light and dark pavers  gives a more pleasing look than to put down a half-dozen dark pavers in a row.
  • Using a plate compactor and edge restraints helps keep the pavers in place and reduces the risk of tripping over them.

How did it work out?

Larry, the father,  who learned how to be a paver installer in the midst of his retirement, said that he had fun.  Christine went over budget by $2,200, but a Realtor who appraised the house said that it went up in value by $30,000.

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