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Popular in Home Improvement

Build a Patio in 6 Simple Steps

Pave the way for a new outdoor room in six easy steps.

Incorporate a hard-surface floor into a garden area to make an instant room. Flooring gives furniture firm footing as well. With a seating ensemble in place, your outdoor room is the perfect setting for an alfresco supper, morning coffee, or kick-back weekend brunch.

Bricks, pavers, or flagstones all promise unique designs. For your first patio project, choose a pattern that doesn't require cutting the patio material. Bricks or pavers in straight or gently curving patterns always work well. Flagstones, with their irregular shapes, are perfect for an informal patio with lovely natural appeal.

Building a flagstone patio is much like putting together a puzzle. Rotate the pieces until they fit together, working to create nearly uniform space between the stones. Use the following tutorial to build a flagstone, brick, or paver patio. The basic steps are the same for each material.

What you'll need

  • Garden hose or stakes and string
  • Spade
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Landscape fabric
  • Gravel
  • Tamper or plate compactor
  • Builder's sand
  • Flagstones, bricks, or pavers
  • Broom

1. Outline Your Patio and Remove the Sod

Using a garden hose or stakes and string, define the shape of your patio. If there is any question about the finished size of your new space, build a slightly larger patio that you were intending. Making an existing patio larger in a few years time is often more challenging than simply building a large patio in the beginning.

Using a sharp spade remove the sod and soil at the patio location. Excavate a 5-inch-deep base plus the thickness of the flagstone, brick, or paver. Using a wheelbarrow, transport the excess soil to a low spot in the yard, low spot along a foundation, or to a compost pile.

2. Add Landscape Fabric

Line the excavated area with landscape fabric. This is not an essential step in the process of building a patio, but many professionals choose to do so to discourage weeds from sprouting between pavers. Landscape fabric is inexpensive and easy to install.

3. Build a Base of Gravel and Sand

Add gravel to the excavated area and spread it so it forms a 4-inch-deep layer over the entire space. Use a tamper or a rented plate compactor to settle the gravel and create a firm base. Next add a 1-inch-deep layer of sand. Again, use a tamper or plate compactor after spreading the layer of sand.

4. Place Stones

Beginning on one side of the patio, lay the first flagstones. Add sand underneath the stone as necessary to create a nearly level surface. Place the stones as close together as possible. Large gaps between stones invite weed seeds to germinate and add to the uneven nature of the patio surface.

5. Top with More Sand

After all the stones are in place, toss handfuls of builder's sand over the patio. Use a stiff broom to sweep sand over the bricks until the cracks are filled. Water the surface with a fine mist from a garden hose to encourage the sand to sink into the spaces between the stones. Repeat the process of adding sand, sweeping, and watering about a week after construction and whenever the stones wobble.

6. Enjoy!

Round up your outdoor seating and a table or two and enjoy your new patio. Your home just got bigger—the new patio is an outdoor dining room, reading nook, or favorite gathering spot.

Get garden plans for planting around your patio.

Get ideas for designing your patio.

Learn more about patio makeovers and designs.

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