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building on a graded patio

building on a graded patio

building on a graded patio

Getting ready to pour a patio, on which I will eventually be building a little outdoor kitchen. The kitchen/bar will be about twelve feet long, with a brick oven at one end, a countertop, and then a grill at the other end, all connected. Patio will be graded away from the house at about 1/4" over a foot, but the kitchen will sit perpendicular to the house, so there is a significant drop from the grill end to the oven end (patio is about 22 feet long).

Plans I am using for the brick oven and bar call for a level slab foundation, but since my foundation is not just a slab for the kitchen but a much larger patio, connected to the house, I need to have the grade. Also, in addition to the needed drainage, the grade also gets me to a perfect height in terms of the drop-off from the patio into the yard.

Base of the bar/kitchen will all be built of concrete blocks. For the countertop, the blocks will simply be supporting whatever countertop and grill I install, plus whatever facade I use on the blocks, but the brick oven blocks will be supporting a substantial amount of addition concrete and brickwork. Lots of weight. Obviously, I can use mortar and blocks of varying thicknesses in the first row to make up the difference and give me a level starting place, but that won't change the fact that what's beneath that starting row will not be level. Does that matter? Can I build on a slope like that and not worry about it? I'm less concerned about the counter being a little higher on one side, due to the dropping floor level, than I am about the overall structural integrity.

Related but less important question: I'm also stamping the concrete with a large ashlar slate stamp---fairly deep grooves, etc. Just one more thing adding to the overall lack of smooth/levelness of my base. Once again, easily overcome when I set the first layer of blocks in mortar, but still an uneven starting place.

Am I okay, or are there steps I should take to ensure I start level?

Thanks in advance.

RE: building on a graded patio

I would place the concrete under the "kitchen" level and place the rest of the patio on the slope. With a decent concrete mix, you should be able to hold the "kitchen" area level.

Richard A. Cornelius, P.E.

RE: building on a graded patio

Thank for the reply.

I would like to do that, because it will make life so much simpler on building the kitchen. But the problem is where that puts the end of the patio in relation to the yard. If I slope down from the house at 1/4" over a foot over the course of the 22 feet, then I end up with nice little 2-3" drop into the yard. (If I were to go level all the way from the house, then I'd end up with a strange-looking 8-9" drop into the yard. Because the kitchen is so long, and because it runs perpendicular to the house, and because there is also about five feet of space between the house and kitchen on the house side, by the time I get to the outside edge of the kitchen, I've only got about five feet of patio left, not enough to grade down gradually to a nice drop off. I would either have to still end 7-8" above the yard, or I would have to slope the patio dramatically there, which obviously doesn't make sense for a patio. So I feel like I'm stuck between your answer, which makes the most sense for the kitchen, and having to build on a grade, which makes the most sense for the patio.

Is there something else people do in this type of situation? I'm sure people build things on their patios all the time that run perpendicular to the house.

RE: building on a graded patio

Maybe I'm not understanding, but as Dick suggested, slope all the patio except that under the equipment, and build the plinth for the equipment level.

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