How to Build an Easy DIY Patio to Upgrade Your Backyard

Transform your outdoor living space in just one weekend.

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $400

Incorporate a stone patio into your backyard or garden for an easy outdoor room. The hard surface gives patio furniture firm footing, so you can create a seating ensemble for outdoor dining, morning coffee, or simply relaxing with friends. To build your own DIY patio, you'll need a gravel or limestone paver base, sand, and your choice of patio material. Bricks, pavers, or flagstones all create sturdy and attractive stone patio designs.

When planning your DIY project, save yourself some work and choose a pattern that doesn't require cutting the patio material. Bricks or pavers in straight or gently curving patterns typically work well for an easy job. Flagstones, with their irregular shapes, are ideal for an informal patio with natural appeal.

Patio with white wooden chair
Marty Baldwin

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Garden hose
  • Spade
  • Tamper or plate compactor
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Broom


  • Gravel or limestone paver base
  • Builders sand
  • PVC pipe
  • 2x4 board
  • Landscape fabric
  • Flagstones, bricks, or pavers
  • Plastic edging (optional)
  • Polymeric jointing sand


How to Build a Patio

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

  1. Digging into ground with shovel
    Dig into the ground to create a base for your patio. Marty Baldwin

    Outline Your DIY Patio and Remove Sod

    Lay a garden hose on the ground or use stakes and mason line to define the shape of your patio. If you're undecided about the best size for your new space, build a slightly larger area than you were intending. Making an existing stone patio larger later on is often more challenging than simply building a large patio from the beginning.

    Using a sharp garden spade shovel, remove the sod and soil at the patio location. Excavate an 8-inch-deep base plus the thickness of the flagstone, brick, or paver. If you are building a patio near your home, slope the site away from your home's exterior. Use a level to create a 1-inch drop every 4 feet. Once all the sod has been removed, use a tamper to compact the dirt.

    Use a wheelbarrow to transport the excess soil to a compost pile, a low spot in the yard, or along the foundation.

  2. Placing landscaping fabric in ground
    Place landscape fabric on the ground. Marty Baldwin

    Add Landscape Fabric to Patio Base

    Line the excavated area with landscape fabric, cutting the fabric to fit. Although this is not an essential step in the process, it helps prevent weeds from sprouting between the patio stones. Landscape fabric is fairly inexpensive and easy to install, so this weed control method is well worth it.

  3. Build a Patio Base of Gravel and Sand

    Add a gravel or limestone paver base to the excavated area and spread it to form a 6-inch-deep layer over the entire patio space. If you're using a limestone paver base, use a garden hose to lightly wet the material. Use a tamper or a rented plate compactor to create a firm base. If you're using gravel, spread a 1-inch-deep layer of builder's sand on top. Again, use a tamper or plate compactor to create a smooth surface.

    If you decide to use a limestone paver base, you'll need to finish it with leveling sand. Start by laying two 1-inch PVC pipes across the length of the area. These should be cut to size, so they fit within the patio base. Spread 1 inch of leveling sand on top. Next, lay your 2x4 across the PVC pipes and slide the sand across to make level. Remove the pipes and fill in the gaps with sand.

    Editor's Tip: If your patio is located near your home, once again use a level to ensure the base slopes away from your home before moving on to the next step.

  4. Placing rocks on top of sand
    Lay stones on top of the sand. Marty Baldwin

    Place Your Stones or Pavers

    Beginning on one side of the patio, lay the first flagstones or pavers. 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 weeds that will add to the uneven nature of the patio surface. If desired, and your patio shape allows, install plastic edging around the perimeter of your patio.

  5. Using broom to sweep between cracks of sand and rocks
    Sweep sand between the cracks. Marty Baldwin

    Top Your Patio with Sand

    After all the bricks, pavers, or flagstones are in place, spread polymeric jointing sand over the patio. Use a stiff broom to sweep the sand over the pavers until the cracks are filled. Remove excess sand using a leaf blower at low speed. 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 to ensure a durable finish.

Maintain Your DIY Stone Patio

Round up your outdoor seating and a table or two to decorate your new paver patio. If the patio stones start to wobble over time (or the sand begins to wear away), add additional sand between the cracks, sweep, and water with a hose to maintain a smooth patio surface. To prevent mildew and stains on your stone patio, plan to clean the stones at the beginning and end of the outdoor season with a pressure washer or by scrubbing with a detergent solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it cheaper to build my own DIY patio?

    Yes, it's less expensive to build your own patio. If you hire a professional to do it for you, the labor cost for the project could add 45% to the total price.

  • How much does it cost, on average, to build my own patio?

    The average cost to build a patio varies greatly depending on the materials you use for your patio. For example, brick pavers will be more costly than concrete. Expect to pay $700 to $3,000 for materials for a 12x19-foot patio.

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