A DIY Guide to Laying Your Own Paver Patio

A patio is a terrific value-adding feature for any home. If your house doesn’t have one, it’s certainly worth considering. You’ll be able to enjoy the outdoors while sharing meals, relaxing, or lounging with friends over cocktails. 


You may think that adding a DIY patio behind your house would take a great deal of time and money, and be difficult to install, but the reality is that you can get it done in a day or two at a surprisingly low cost. Just follow these simple steps to lay the paver patio of your dreams.


The Prep

You’re eventually going to have to do a little bit of digging, so the first thing you’ll want to do is schedule a service call with your local utility company. The serviceman will mark off buried lines for gas, water, and electrical power so you won’t be in danger of striking a line while you dig. Most utility companies won’t charge for this service.



The next thing you need to do is use pegs and string to mark off the area for your patio. Once you’ve decided on your ideal dimensions and made certain that you’ll clear any buried lines, go ahead and use landscaper’s spray paint to mark the boundaries all the way around.


Before you dig, you’re going to have to settle on a height for your patio, which needs to be slightly above ground to prevent standing water from gathering on top. Determine how many inches above ground you want your patio to extend, then subtract that from the total width of your pavers. Add 6 inches to the remaining width for your sand and gravel foundation and that sum will be your digging depth.


Digging the Foundation of Your Patio

Whether you dig by hand or rent some equipment will depend on the area that needs to be cleared. You could always hand your kids a shovel and invite them to get their hands dirty too. Once you’ve dug out the desired area, use a tamper to tamp the soil down to your desired depth and make sure that it’s level.


Little girl in rubber boots holding a shovel and tried to dig


Cover Your Bases

The first thing that you want to do is lay commercial-grade landscaping fabric over the area. This will reinforce your base to prevent your pavers from sagging while denying the invasion of unsightly weeds. Roll it a few inches beyond your dig boundaries and plan on trimming it later on.


Once you’ve laid your landscape fabric, spread a layer of gravel – approximately 4 inches – around the entire area. You should be used to double-checking your surface at this point, but in case you’ve forgotten, make sure it’s level before moving on. After you’ve laid your gravel, add a 2-inch layer of sand and repeat the tamping process.


Woman with the white hat compacting patio base under the sun


Frame Your Work

After tamping and leveling your sand, you’ll want to use landscape edging to form a framework. Follow up by laying out edging, trimming it to length, and driving long nails through the pre-drilled holes. Speaking of framing, consider laying the outer edge of your pavers perpendicular to your inner pavers to give your patio a visually appealing frame.



Pave Away

It’s important to snap a chalk line or reinstall pegs and string to make sure that you’re laying pavers along an even plane. As you place each stone, firmly tap it into place with a rubber mallet, and as you work your way along, keep checking to make sure that you’re creating a level surface. If you need to resize pavers to fill in the final row, you can easily mark them and achieve this with a chisel or a wet saw.


Tile paving


Images used with permission, courtesy of www.bigstock.com and www.dreamstime.com

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