Any advice on patio building?

I'm considering putting down a patio at the rear of our home and was hoping / wondering if I could avoid one tedious step (digging and earth removal). :) So feel free to fire away with "good idea" and/or "don't do that you idiot" advice. Large amounts of digging and earth moving/removal drive me insane. It's a mental thing I can't overcome.
The basement is at walk-out level in the rear. The area in mind is fairly level, with a slight slope away from the house already conveniently in place. I've read all about digging 7 or 8 inches deep for laying all of the base materials. I had also briefly considered a "raised-bed garden" (or whatever the proper term is) in this spot.
So... my idea was to combine the two concepts (thus a slightly raised patio)... "frame" the area for the patio on top of the existing ground, then use a little extra top soil to fill in some "divots" or depressions, ensure the slope is good again, then lay down the base materials, then the stone...
I'm not too concerned about the aesthetic appeal (at the edges) of a 6 or 8 inch raised patio, as my plan is to box most of the border in with some trellis structures, then grow some ivy-like plant on them to give it a cozy feel (and being in a cookie-cutter development, some privacy from the neighbors). Two openings would serve as a step up onto the patio...
Anyway, any and all opinions would be appreciated!
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If basement is ground level whatever you do will raise it above door level, that does not sound right. Putting in a base is also for drainage and easy leveling of the instalation and keepng mud from comming up and the patio from sinking enevenly, so you hire someone to dig.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Do you have any friends who own a tractor? I recently helped a friend put in a deck, and we used his tractor with a 9" auger attachment to dig all the holes for footers. Of course we didn't have a cement mixer, so that was the hard work, but we didn't have to dig anything! Even if your friend doesn't have the auger, that's probably something you could rent. Just an idea. Good luck, Andy
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I used those home depot fake bricks created with a plastic molding and quickcrete.. Pretty, but. Don't neglect some steel. Cracks Don't put it right against the house foundation. Termites....
On 5 Jul 2006 20:29:58 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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What is important is the solidity of the base. Topsoil is generally not as hard and compactable as clay. The failure may not come for a few years, but if the ground moves, heaves, whatever, you will end up with cracks or worse. If need be, pay someone to do the digging, but do the job right. Fixing it three years later will be much more labor, much more.
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