Things to Consider When Building a Patio
Tools & Materials
Tools: tape measure, carpenter’s level, shovel, line level, rake, hand tamper, tamping machine.
Materials: stakes, mason’s string, compactable gravel sub base (3/4″ gravel), rigid plastic edging, landscape fabric, jointing sand or Polymeric jointing sand and concrete pavers or brick.
Choosing a Design
One of the great things about bricks and pavers is that they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. This gives you many different options for your design. For more idea regarding available designs, please look at our Gallery section.
Step 1: Layout
Mark the outside dimensions of the patio area. Begin laying out your patio by measuring out the width and length of your surface area. Before starting to dig, call your local utility company and ask them to come out find any buried gas lines , water line or electrical lines. Utility companies usually provide this service at no charge, and the markings they will leave make it easy to know where not to dig.
For square or rectangular projects mark the corners and run a line between each mark. If you are building an irregular shape mark the area with spray paint.
Step 2: Excavate & Tamp
Excavate the area to a down 4 to 6 inches with a shovel (you will need 2 to 4 inches for a base and 1 to 2 inches of paver sand for leveling and keep the width of a paver). Determine the finished patio height. It should be slightly above the ground around the patio so that rainwater won’t stand on the surface. Make sure to keep in mind the thickness of your pavers and leave an extra 6″ for the sand and gravel foundation. It is important to a patio that it lays in a good base for the pavers. Soil plays a big role in the thickness of your base: low-lying, wet soils need a thicker base than well-drained soils.
It is time to excavate the area and firmly tamp the dirt surface to the desired height, making sure it’s level. Evenly spread 2 to 4 inches of all purpose gravel into the excavated area and level. Compact the gravel base using a tamper.
Step 3: Edging and Underlayment
Edge restraints will be used to stabilize the pavers and prevent settling and shifting over time. To keep weeds and grasses out use a commercial-grade landscape fabric. The materials importance is to keep weeds from growing up through the pavers, it also stops pavers from sagging and becoming uneven. Landscape fabric also reinforces the area beneath the pavers. Secure the fabric along the edges with 8″ landscape spikes. Leave some extra fabric over the edges of your area and trim it off later. Your edges should be configured to allow for proper drainage.
Step 4: Adding Sand
Spread 1 to 2 inches of patio paver sand over the compacted base. Spread the sand smooth using a 2×4 and 1×1. After measuring and marking off the patio area, lay in a bed of sand. For small areas, a hand tamper will be enough to smooth out the surface; larger areas we recommend a power tamper. The tamper when turned on will create its own forward momentum and just steer it like a lawnmower, going up and down the area in rows. Next add a 2″ layer of sand. This will hold the paving stones and will providing an even, surface on which to work.
Step 5: Adding Edging
After screening the sand layer and before installing any paving stones, frame your area with landscape edging. We recommend aluminum edging due it’s lightweight, flexible, easy to use and doesn’t warp. Also, if you be mowing near the patio aluminum edging won’t tear up, whereas plastic edging will shred.
Step 6: Place Pavers
Align the paver rows using stakes and a string as your guide. Before starting to lay the pavers in place, snap chalk lines along the edges of the patio to ensure the paver rows stay straight. Give the patio a nice framed feel, place the outer row perpendicular to the inner rows. After you get finished the first few rows, the rest of your patio will take shape.
As you lay the pavers in place, tap them down firmly with a rubber mallet. Lay the pavers outward starting in a corner – maintain a consistent joint width between each paver.
Step 7: Filling the Joints
Fill the joints with jointing sand or Polymeric jointing sand to hold the pavers in place.
We recommended jointing sand for paver joints of up to ½ inch wide. Polymeric sand is recommended for larger joints up to 2 inches wide and for natural stone.
Step 8: Cut Odd Pieces
For pavers that need to be split for corners or small spaces, determine the point where the paver should be split, then position a chisel on the designated point. Strike the top of the chisel with a hammer to split the paver. If you have a big project with many cut we recommend using a wet saw for convenience; the saw will cut through the pavers quickly and easily.
Step 9: Finishing Touches
Sweep away any excess sand from the paver surface. Apply a fine water mist generously to the filled joints of the pavers and allow the water to saturate the sand filled joint. Dampen at regular hourly intervals for 3 hours after placement – avoid flooding the sand on the paver surface.