How to Build a Paver Patio
April 29, 2011

One of the best additions to a backyard is a nice paver patio. With a little time and minimal expense you can complete this work of landscape art on your own.

The first step is to build a solid base for your patio. Level the area, then compact the dirt with a plate compactor. This is essential an essential step – if the dirt is not compacted, your patio may settle. Once the base layer of dirt is compacted, put down some landscape fabric to discourage weeds and grass from growing up through your patio. Next, cover with a layer of gravel. Put sand on top of this. Each layer should be compacted to ensure a solid paver patio.

Once you have a solid base for your paver patio, you’re ready to start on the patio itself. First, lay down an even 2″ layer of sand over the compacted sand and gravel. This will provide an even surface to set your pavers on. The best way to accomplish this is to screed the sand with a straight 2×4 or other straight-edge. Be sure your patio base is flat, as your pavers will follow the contour of this layer.

Now it’s time to begin laying pavers. Begin at a corner and work your way across, using your first corner as your reference point. Be sure to check your work periodically – any jogs or curves in your pavers will only become worse as you get further into the project. After setting a paver, tap it firmly with a rubber mallet to set it into place.

Once your pavers have been set, install a plastic retaining edge around the perimeter. This prevents the pavers from being disturbed. You may wish to compact the pavers, but some paver manufacturers do not recommend this, as it may crack them. Be sure to read any instructions or warning that came with your pavers.

To finish your paver patio, sprinkle sand over the pavers and brush it into the cracks with a broom. This helps to prevent weeds and other plants from taking root and growing up through your patio. Misting the sand with water will help to settle it in the cracks. Repeat to fill any gaps which reappear.

Your patio is almost finished! Now that the pavers are in place, backfill the perimeter of the patio with soil, gravel, bark chips or similar material. Be sure to use enriched soil if you are planning to plant grass along the edge of your patio.

Your paver patio is finished! You’re now ready to enjoy the gorgeous summer days on your brand new patio. As time goes on, you may need to add more sand between the pavers to keep the joints filled. If you’ve planted grass around your patio, it may be subject to frequent use, so don’t forget to overseed it in the spring or fall. A little maintenance is all that’s necessary to keep your paver patio looking nice. Stand back and appreciate your work – you just built a paver patio!

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