How to Install a Paver Patio
Perk up your outdoor space with pavers. These durable, weather-resilient pieces are perfect for patios and walkways. Plus, with the right materials, they're relatively easy to install. We'll show you how to build a paver patio in 10 easy steps.
Clear the Area
Start by choosing an area for your patio. Then remove any shrubs, stumps, and roots near your work site. 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.
To prevent weeds from popping up between pavers, 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 It Out
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.
On Level Ground
Attach a level to a long, straight board, then move it across the bed of gravel to check how even the surface is. Adjust the contour of the bed as needed to make the surface as level as possible.
Do a Little Shimmy
For the second layer of support, 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. Then take another board, notch both ends, and shimmy it along the walk and the other board to smooth the sand.
Mixing and matching different sizes of pavers 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, 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.
Walk the Line
Lay the first paver. Use the edge of your house or walkway to guide straight lines. Or 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 down the area to further settle the sand, filling any gaps that arise, then hose down the area a second time.