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I am going to install a brick patio using basic patio stones, and then I'm going to build a fence around it. Which should I do first?

More details
The fence will be wooden with 4x4 posts every 6' that are concreted in. The fence is going to be 8' tall; it's actually a privacy fence around the patio.

The patio will be made from basic 12"x 12" x 1.7" patio stones. I'm going to do it the right way (as best I can): 4" sub-base, then 1" sand, no space between the stones, use nice edging, finish with the polymeric sand on top (for what little spaces may be there).

My concern
I build the patio first, it's beautiful and strong. But then I build the fence around it, and all that foot traffic on it, especially on the edges, somehow damages the new patio.

Current plan
1. Install posts 2. Lay sub-base 3. Build fence 4. Re-compact the sub-base (now that I tripped on it for a few days building a fence) (annoying since I already did this) 5. Install patio stones 6. Enjoy.

But if what I'm afraid of is silly - that working on a patio that was installed correctly would be damaged by walking on it while working - then please tell me.

I guess another way to ask the question is, what would you do?

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If you're careful it won't matter too much if you do the patio first. What you do first depends a lot on how close the fence line is to the patio. Digging post holes and pouring concrete can make a mess and you'll want to keep access open to bring material for the patio into the worksite.
Having done a few of these jobs I would suggest that you first dig your post holes and concrete in your fence posts. This will get the digging and concrete pouring out of the way beforehand. I would then lay the patio. It will be easier not having the fence in your way as you bring in pavers, sand, etc. After the patio is done finish the fence.
Good luck.

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  • Thank you for answering. I considered that same sequence before, so it's nice to hear that you've done it that way and it works well. I want the bricks close to the fence, so it makes sense to at least set the posts first. Thanks again.
    – Thirdshift
    Apr 9 '20 at 4:22
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I would do the fence first just for the reason you stated, so work is not done on the patio surface. I would be worried that the edge would be damaged, especially if one of the posts is dug near it. I'd be more worried about the surface being banged up from metal tools, mud ground into the surface and other reasons. As an alternate, you can do the patio first and then protect it with plywood sheathing

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  • Thank you for the plywood idea!
    – Thirdshift
    Apr 9 '20 at 4:23

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