How to Build a Paver Patio
Clear the Patio Area
Start by choosing an area for your patio, and remove any shrubs, stumps, and roots near your work site. Dig up about 6 inches of soil to make room for the base and pavers. Rake the ground level and tamp the soil to create a firm bed.
Control Weeds Around Your Paver Patio
Lay a Gravel Foundation
Lay gravel to create a foundation for your paver patio. Spread a 2-inch layer of crushed gravel evenly over the landscape fabric. Use an iron rake to smooth the layer.
Tamp the Gravel
Tamp the crushed gravel until the base is extremely firm. This will help ensure that pavers settle evenly. Then add another 2 inches of gravel and tamp again.
Make Your Paver Patio Level
To ensure that your paver patio will be level, attach a level to a long, straight board. Move the board across the bed of gravel to check how level the surface is. Adjust the contour of the bed as needed to make the surface as level as possible.
Add Sand for Support
For a second layer of support under the paver patio, spread 1-1/2 to 2 inches of builder's sand over the gravel. To smooth the sand, lay a long, straight board along the base of the house. Then take another board, notch both ends, and shimmy it along the walk and the other board to smooth the surface.
Prep the Pavers
To upgrade the look of your paver patio (without adding to the expense), consider mixing and matching different sizes of pavers. You can reduce costs by cutting some full-size pavers in half. Instead of renting a commercial-grade brick cutter, 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 supplier to cut some pavers for you.
Lay the Pavers
Lay the first line of pavers, using the edge of your house or walkway to guide straight lines. Alternatively, you can 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. Continue placing pavers to fill the entire patio space.
Finish Your Paver Patio
After placing all the pavers, spread a shallow layer of sand over the patio area. Use a push broom to work the sand into the crevices between pavers. Hose down the area to further settle the sand, filling any gaps that arise, then hose down the area a second time to finish your paver patio.