With the right materials and proper foundation, you can install a paver patio in a day.
If necessary, remove shrubs along with stumps and roots. Excavate about 6 inches of soil to make room for base and pavers. Rake the ground level and tamp the soil to create a firm bed.
Lay landscape fabric over the bed, cutting edges so the fabric fits in place. The porous material allows water to flow through but blocks weeds from sprouting.
Spread a 2-inch layer of crushed gravel evenly over the landscape fabric. Use an iron rake to smooth the layer.
Tamp the crushed gravel until base is extremely firm. This will help ensure that pavers settle evenly. Now add another 2 inches of gravel and tamp again.
Attach a level to a long, straight board, then move it across the bed to check how even the surface is. Adjust the contour of the bed as needed to make surface as level as possible.
Spread 1 1/2 to 2 inches of builder's sand over the gravel. Lay a long, straight board along the base of the house (see background). Take another board, notch both ends (see foreground) and shimmy it along the walk and the other board to smooth the sand.
Mixing and matching different sizes of pavers (as shown in slide 10) can upgrade the look of your patio without costing a lot more money. Reduce costs by cutting some full-size pavers in half. Instead of renting a commercial-grade brick cutter (shown), which can be heavy and difficult to move, look for a compact brick cutter intended for smaller projects. Or see if you can pay the rental supply company to cut some pavers for you.
Lay the first paver. If the lines along the house and walk are not perfectly parallel, use a mason's line stretched tight between two stakes to keep lines true. Position pavers no more than 1/8 inch apart and tap them into place with a rubber mallet.
After installation, spread a shallow layer of sand over the pavers and work the sand into the crevices with a push broom. Hose the area down to further settle the sand, filling any gaps that arise, then hose the area down a second time.
Concrete Pavers: $400
Paver Delivery Fee: $50
Gravel and Sand (bulk): $30
Landscape Fabric: $10
Brick-Cutter Rental: $60 (two hours at $30/hour)