How to Install Patio Pavers
Time Required: Over 1 day
Knowing how to install patio pavers is a great way to transform your exterior spaces. An outdoor space made with patio pavers can withstand heavy foot traffic and needs little maintenance. You can choose stone, travertine, brick or concrete pavers for your patio. They are also a good choice for a walkway, pool deck or other outdoor space.
Use this guide to learn how to install patio pavers for a beautiful, useful addition to your yard.
Laying pavers is a DIY project that takes about one weekend to complete. When you're building a patio, you'll make layers using these materials:
- A 6-inch layer of gravel for the paver base
- A 1-inch layer of sand
- DIY patio pavers
- Paver sand
Use a tape measure to find the square footage of the area where you'll lay the patio. That will help you figure out how many stone patio pavers and how much paver base and paver sand you'll need. For example, for an area that measures 60 square feet, you’ll need about 60 12-inch x 12-inch paver stones.
You'll be using 4 inches of gravel, which is 1/3 of a yard, for a paver base. To figure out how many cubic feet of gravel you will need, multiply your square footage by 1/3. In this example, you'd need about 20 cubic feet of gravel, or 3/4 cubic yards. You may want more in case you spill some. You will also need a 1-inch thick layer of paver leveling sand. As a rule of thumb, you'll need about 1/3 as much sand as gravel, measured in cubic volume.
To get started, mark the perimeter of the patio area with marking paint. Drive garden stakes into the ground just outside the perimeter markings and attach a mason's line.
When figuring out how high to make the patio, work from the house outward. The pavers should slope away from your house with a drop-off of about 1 inch every 8 feet, so water can drain away. Mark the height on the stakes and adjust the mason's line.
Use a spade and shovel to clear grass and dirt from the work area. Check your depth and slope against the mason's line and the measuring tape to make sure you maintain both the proper depth and slope.
Tip: Before you dig, remember that you will be adding 4 inches of gravel base and about 1 inch of paver sand before you add the DIY patio pavers.
Use a garden hose to lightly wet the paver base to make it more solid. Save time when you're working with a large area by using a plate compactor, a machine that compresses gravel and different kinds of soils.
Take out the conduit and fill the spaces with more paver sand. Level these areas before moving on. Continue this process until the entire patio area is covered with level paver sand.
Stay aware of your work area when you're leveling. If you step into an already level area, you'll have to rework that spot. Make sure you don't work yourself into a corner.
The next step is how to lay pavers. Starting at a patio corner, lay out the paver stones one by one. Work as if you're starting at the tip of a triangle and working out.
When setting the stones, place them straight down into the sand and fit them together snugly. Make sure you're not dragging the pavers across the sand and never stomp a paver into place. Continue until all the pavers are in place.
Spread a light layer of paver sand over the entire area. Use a push broom to sweep the sand into the gaps between the pavers and run the plate compactor across the patio surface.
Add another thin layer of sand and use the push broom to spread it across the patio. Run the plate compactor over the area one last time.
Now that you know how to lay pavers, you'll be able to complete similar projects in no time. Simply begin building a patio by measuring your outdoor space. Calculate how many pavers you'll need and dig up the soil. Compact your gravel, level your paver base and lay the pavers. Finish the job by using paver sand to fill any cracks.