The method described in this article is for a square patio, but the process can be used to make any rectilinear shape. Because the bricks are not mortared in place, a sand-based patio is very forgiving to the inexperienced builder. The materials listed below are needed to build the basic patio described on the pages that follow.
- String and stakes
- Mattock and shovel
- Landscape fabric
- 8d galvanized nails
- Expansion-joint material
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Now, my focus is on getting ready to install the pavers themselves. Now, Greg is doing a little bit of breaking here to try to start grating out this dirt. We don't necessarily want the patio to be perfectly level. We wanted it to have a slight grade, where when rain hits it, it goes this way and not towards the house. So, we're going to be setting up some form boards on each side so that we can ensure it has a slight grade this way. At the end, we'll put 1 here, just take it down, and I'll put another 1 on the other end, a few strings on top of it to serve as the gauge to make sure the brick pavers turn out just right. There's already a slight slope moving away from the house, so, getting that form boards right, doesn't take too much time at all. The strings go in place when we feel we're close enough to begin the detailed grading. The dirt inside the forms also has to be packed to be prevent any settling that may occur later on. We cut a 2 by 4 down to 3 inches to gauge the dirt level beneath the strings. That's 2 inches for the paver and 1 inch for the sand. When the soil is right, we pour the sand out over the whole space and use another gauge block, cut down to 2 inches to get the sand where we want it so that we can begin laying the pavers. The pavers we're using are 12 inches by 12 inches and approximately 2 inches thick. Now, there are so many different kinds of pavers out there, you know, a lot of your personality may play into that, and the size and shape of the different pavers also will reflect the style of the patio that you end up with. Here, we're going with 2 different colors, using the gray for our perimeter around the patio. Then, we're placing the red ones on the inside. Now, it's very important to start off nice and straight when you're starting to put the pavers down. We have the brick wall to use on this side and the wood forms also help us out on either end, and basically, you just keep putting them down, and use a rubber mallet like this is perfect to bump 'em both tight and keep coming nice and flushed. After that, it's just 1 paver after the next. Because our pattern is pretty simple, it doesn't take too much attention to keep it going right. However, it is important to pay attention to the level of each paver as it goes in because adjustments are more easily made now than after all of the blocks are in place. Get the edges lined up and the tops lined up, chances are good that you're on track. You'll also wanna be careful not to pinch your fingers as you set these things in place. When we reached the outer edge, we kept the whole thing with another treated 2 by 4 and sweep sand into the crevices between the pavers.
Continued on page 2: Step-by-Step