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How To Build A Paver Patio

Add And Level Paver Sand

How to Build a Paver Patio

Place your pre-cut 1 inch PVC pipes on top of your firmly tamped paver base. Carefully pour leveling sand in between the PVC pipes and on all sides in two to three feet increments.

Then place your 2×4 on the PVC pipes and screed, or drag, the board across the pipes gently to level the paver sand. While you can access the area, gently lift out the PVC pipes, fill and level those voids with leveling sand, and replace the pipes along the path.

Continue this process until the entire patio area is covered with paver leveling sand.

How To Build A Paver Patio

This article was co-authored by Scott Johnson. Scott Johnson is the Owner and Lead Design Consultant for Concrete Creations, Inc., an award-winning landscape and design company based in the San Diego, California metro area. He has over 30 years of experience in the pool and landscape construction industry and specializes in large estate outdoor environment construction projects. His work has been featured in San Diego Home & Garden Magazine and on Pool Kings TV Show. He earned a BS degree in Construction Management with an emphasis in Architecture and CAD design from Northern Arizona University.There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 16,222 times.


With the addition of a few rustic paver stones, you can transform a humdrum backyard into an enchanted wilderness escape. All you need is a basic plan for your new patio space and an eye-catching design for the stones themselves. Once the initial planning is out of the way, you can begin the process of excavating your lawn and installing the foundation layer-by-layer. When its all said and done, youll have an idyllic, professional-looking outdoor haven to show for your efforts.

With The Critical First Step Of Planning Finished The Next Step Is To Build A Solid Base For Your Patio Start By Measuring And Staking Out The Area You Plan To Build Your Patio On Take Extra Care To Be Sure The Corners Are Square So That You Avoid Additional Cuts Or Uneven Rows Of Pavers Run Strings Between The Stakes For A Straight Edge You Can Also Spray The Perimeter On The Ground With Landscapers Spray Paint To Make It Easy To Distinguish Where The Edges Are

Determine the desired level for the finished patio surface. This can be calculated by estimating the depth of your base materials and adding the thickness of your pavers. When determining the depth of your base materials, keep in mind that a thicker base layer drains better, so if youre in a moist climate be sure to plan for a thick layer of gravel and sand.

Level the area, then compact the dirt to the desired depth with a plate compactor. This is an essential step if the dirt is not compacted, your patio may settle. You can rent the plate compactor from your local equipment rental or hardware store.

Once the base layer of dirt is compacted, put down some commercial-grade landscape fabric. This helps to discourage weeds and grass from growing up through your patio. It is also beneficial to prevent uneven settling and keep the patio as level as possible. Leave about 6 on all sides, to be trimmed after the pavers are all laid down.

Next, cover with a two inch layer of gravel. Level this layer and compact it with the plate compactor. Repeat until youve reached approximately 6 of compacted gravel. If youre planning for very moist conditions, you may want to make this layer even thicker. Put 1 of sand on top of the gravel. This layer should also be compacted to ensure a solid paver patio.


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Concrete And Block Method For Patio Steps

Profile of garden steps built using concrete and pavers

As you can see from the before photograph below, our original step was intact. So we were able to use a breaker to break out the second and third steps, and then dig down behind the first to put in a concrete base for step number two. This continued all the way up to the top.

Making garden steps from scratch and cutting in to earth

If you are starting from scratch you will need to and building your steps into virgin earth, you will need to dig a 125mm deep footing under the bottom riser to support it. Ensure that this footing is level and hard before your continue.


The footing under the first step or riser Image courtesy of diy.com

Two concrete blocks are laid flat to form the shuttering or formwork for the concrete behind. The concrete is mixed as a 6-ballast 1-cement fairly dry mix.

As its fairly dry the blocks can be laid on it almost immediately and the steps can continue in one. It would take a week if you had to wait for each step to dry before moving on to the next.

In this example the blocks and concrete are laid wider than the opening that is needed. This allows the use of the extra width as a stepped foundation for the walls up either side.

Laying blocks to form walls either side on extra width of step


The treads were cut to size and laid from the same paving as the patio. Each tread overhangs the step below and slopes downwards towards the front about 6mm.

How To Ensure The Success Of A Diy Paver Patio Project 30 Inspirational Ideas

How to Build a Paver Patio on a Cement Slab: Part 3  Sand ...

The patio is not something you replace or even repair often in most cases. Its usually a sturdy and durable structure that, once built, can last for many years to come. You still have to tend to it every once in a while, but thats just maintenance.

The hard part is removing and replacing a paver patio or basically any other type of patio for that matter, but even this task can be successfully completed by just about anyone that is given a proper tutorial with detailed instructions and, of course, the right tools and materials. Check out these tips to make your DIY paver patio project a success!

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Want The Look And Feel Of Natural Stone Without The Maintenance

An Allan Block raised patio may be just what your project needs. You can incorporate curves , corners or even stairs into your patio design. Building a raised patio is easy and can add more usable living space and lasting value to your landscape.


Place the blocks on the base material near the front of the trench

Fill the hollow cores and 12 in. behind the block with wall rock up to the height of the block

Use a compactable rock or sand behind the entire wall. This provides a fill that is less likely to settle over time

Allan Blocks raised front lip provides a perfect edge for AB capstones, or pavers

Choose a flooring option like concrete, pavers, brick or natural stones to fit the design and style of your landscape


Once you have determined the location and design of your raised patio, stake out the location and use a string line or paint to mark out the area. A garden hose is an excellent tool for marking out curves. Then excavate the area by removing all the surface vegetation and organic materials from the area. These cannot be used as backfill material.

  • Starting at the lowest point dig a base trench 24 in. wide by 6 in. deep plus 1 in deep for each 1 ft. of wall height.
  • Compact the base trench as well as the entire patio base area, making a minimum of 2 passes with a walk behind plate compactor. Compaction of these areas are very important as they make up the foundation of both your wall and raised patio.

Excerpt from Landscape Newsletter Issue #19

How To Measure The Slope For A Paver Patio

To measure the slope of your paver patio, you need a stake, a hammer, a string, and a line level. First, insert one stake at the top of the patio and another at the bottom where water will drain from the patio. Pound each stake with a hammer so that they are good and stable. Tie a string tightly around each stake and then slip a line level on the string. Adjust the string by moving it up and down as needed so it can be level between the stakes. Once everything is in place, determine the required amount of slope based on the size of your paver patio.

Keep in mind that the slope should be at least 1 inch for every 8 feet of the paver patio. For instance, a 16-foot patio will require 2 inches of the slope while a 12-foot patio will require 1 1/2 inches of the slope. You need to measure the calculated slope from the string tied at the drainage end of the patio. Use a pencil to mark this location and then move down the string to the mark you have made on the stake.

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Massive Concrete Cobblestone Patio

Raise the value of your property by installing this massive concrete cobblestone patio, will require much low maintenance. How to pour a concrete patio? You need a cobblestone walk maker form to get the cobblestone pattern. Further, you need concrete, cardboard, crushed stone dust, and concrete mixer for this project.

Fixing A Paver Patio With An Improper Slope

How to Build a Patio: DIY Paver Patio | The Home Depot

It is more likely that your patio could have an improper slope if it has a problem with standing water. There are several ways you can fix this problem but the best way to make it appealing and long lasting is to bring down the existing setup and start over. The decision to fix or build a new patio comes down to how flat the current patio is. One of the ways you can correct this issue is by adding a drain close to where stagnant water is collecting. Mark this location and then dig up the pavement using a jackhammer. After removing the concrete, you need to dig a trench that can hold at least a two-inch layer of sand as well as the drain channel. Lay the drain and then cover it with a gate.

However, this fix only works well for those who have a concrete pad for their patio. You can have a difficult time if your patio is made of pavers or stamped concrete. The best way to fix a paver patio is to start over since you will take all the necessary precautions to ensure it is sloped correctly. You need to remove any soft soil, vegetation, or rocks before you begin. Consider installing a French drain at the edge or run a pipe under the patio to ensure proper drainage. You can only lay your patio when the ground is uniform in both materials and levels.

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What Do You Put Under A Paver Patio

Start with the right base material to keep your pavers properly supported.

  • Sand. A thick layer of sand below your pavers will cushion them while allowing water to flow through properly.
  • Crushed Stone. Roughly crushed stone makes a good base for pavers that will be used more regularly.
  • Stone Dust.
  • Select Paver Type Shape And Size

    The first step in planning your DIY paver patio is to pick out the size and shape of the pavers you will be using. Square or rectangular blocks are fairly easy to arrange, so if you have a specific area you want to cover, one of these is your best option. If you are more flexible on space, you can consider natural stones like flagstone or slate. However, it will take more careful planning to fit the unique and various shapes into your patio.

    After youve selected which type of pavers youll use, plan out the size and shape of your patio. Calculate the square footage of your desired patio area, adding between 10 and 15% to account for pattern matching and mistakes. This number will be important when buying your supplies.

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    How To Complete The Base For Your Patio

    Remove the guides and fill in the remaining space with sand.

    Finish the Base

    Watch video of this step.

    With the gravel base compacted, install galvanized steel edging around the perimeter of the base . This edging marks the outside of the 11-foot square to be filled by the pavers. Edging is also available in plastic or aluminum.

    The final base material is a one-inch layer of sand.

    Spread the sand over the gravel base to a depth of one inch. Screed the sand with a 2×4 using a pair of 1-inch PVC pipe and a depth guide . You can create similar guides by sawing wood into long, 1-inch thick strips. Then remove the guides and fill in the remaining sand.

    Diy Paver Patio Project On A Budget

    How to Install a Paver Patio

    Regardless of your garden makeover budget, we still believe adding a paver patio is achievable for anyone. While we know it will take a good amount of time and effort to create a larger paver patio, it still doesnt have to break the bank. We always recommend trying to take the project at a leisurely pace, and youll enjoy the process far more than trying to get it done in a rush. Plan your paver patio out a few months before you hope to use it, and it will be ready well in time for your summer gatherings this year. Gardening Channel reminds you to always consider any plumbing and electric lines in your yard before you start digging up the ground. That would certainly be a costly mistake!

    Read Also: How To Build A Paver Walkway On A Slope

    Can You Build A Patio On A Slope

    Yes, you can and the best part is that its not too expensive to build a patio on a slope.

    All you need are some basic tools such as shovels, wheelbarrows, levelers, or pry bars. A popular material for patios is concrete pavers which are easy to install but will require heavy machinery if your slope is steep.

    If this sounds like something you want to do yourself then here are some tips:

    • Determine whether your garden has enough space for new paving stones otherwise just add them in an existing area of the garden where there isnt any landscaping yet
    • Make sure the soil slopes away from buildings and driveways so water wont pool underneath
    • Choose a slope that has been prepped for paving stones and mark out your patio area, using stakes or hose pipes.
    • This will ensure you have enough room for all of the necessary steps in this process also keep in mind that these measurements need to be taken from the ground up so if there is an existing walkway then subtract it from your measurement.
    • Your new patio should extend at least one foot on every side beyond where you want paved stones laid down .

    Add 4 Inches Of Gravel

    After we shoveled the gravel over the entire area, we used a rake to smooth it out, then the plate compactor to press it down really wellat 2 inches, then again at 4 inches. How do you know you have 4 inches? We made marks on the side of the cement so we would know when we were at the right place, then used a board that was the length of our space to check for levelness.

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    How To Build Steps With Pavers Lets Talk About Terrain

    One of the most important aspects of any paver installation is the leveling of your terrain. To level a terrain means to form an even, smooth, leveled surface along an entire area.

    This area can comprehend your entire project. But maybe, and this is very important, your project can be divided into different sections so that each of those sections can correspond to a different level.

    Lets be real here, leveling costs a lot of materials. Sometimes, if you have enough slope, instead of making a single patio, you can create small ones with steps between them. That can not only save you some money but add personality and uniqueness to your design.

    So you are working with one of two scenarios: you either have enough slope on your terrain or dont.

    If you have a slope, good. Just include it on your design and youre good to go. Were going to teach how to plan for it in no time. And if you dont have enough slope but still want some steps, dont worry. You can create an artificial slope, and were also going to teach how to plan for that.

    Material Type For Paver Joints

    How to Build a Round Paver Patio

    When youre gathering your supplies, youll want to consider the type of material that will fill in the gaps between the concrete pavers.

    Here are some of the gap fillers you might want to consider for your project:

    • Moss: This can be transplanted from your yard or purchased like sod from a nursery.
    • Grass: Let grass grow naturally. The drawback here is you may be end up fighting with weeds
    • Fill the paver joints with your choice of pebbles. These can be a natural stone color, or brightly colored.
    • Glass stones: For a really glamorous look, use sanded glass pebbles.
    • Sand: Sand is simple and budget-friendly. I recommend using polymeric jointing sand. Polymeric sand will seal and harden the sand so you wont track it.

    Some of the links on this page have been provided as a convenience for finding materials. These links may also be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost to you.

    I only recommend products Ive used and loved, unless otherwise stated.

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