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  • Writer's pictureTreasea Johnson

Installing Patio Pavers

Updated: Sep 13, 2020

Now that my husband and I have officially gone through this process, I can probably best tell you what not to do.

Read below, for the outline of steps and tools needed before you begin.

Below is a rough outline of the steps to creating a lovely outdoor space for your patio. But what I will say, take the materials that you are going to use and use those in calculating the size of the space as they can dictate the size. The pavers that are in fractions usually allow space in between each stone, for instance, a width of 23.5” will equal out to the full 24”, so use the measurement divisible by 24”.

Tools needed: Work Gloves, string, level, stakes, chalk line, spray paint, shovels, pickaxe, 2x4, wheel barrel, hammer, rubber mallet, tamper, chisel or wet saw, and last but least…great attitude, brut strength, and sheer determination.

Define your area. Begin laying out your patio by measuring out the width and length of your surface area. You can do this will spray paint or stakes with string to get a better visualization of your area coverage and dimensions. But first, before starting to dig, call your local utility company and request a "one-call service" to mark the buried gas, water, and electrical lines. Utility companies usually provide this service at no charge, and the marked indicators will make it easy to know where not to dig.

Stake it out. If digging by hand, drive stakes in the ground at the corners and connect string between each stake, giving you the general layout. Use landscaper's spray paint to mark the area directly on the ground.

Measure your materials for the depth needed. To determine the finished patio height measure your stone depth and it should be slightly above the surrounding ground so that rainwater won't stand on the surface. Take into consideration the thickness of your paving stone and make sure to leave an extra 6" for your sand and gravel foundation. The secret to a long-lasting patio lies in a good base for the pavers. The thickness of your base depends upon the soil: low-lying, wet soils need a thicker base than well-drained soils.

You dig it. Now that you've taken in all the base considerations, it’s time to excavate the area and firmly tamp the dirt surface to the desired height, making sure it’s level.

Protect from weeds. To keep the patio from being invaded by weeds, use commercial-grade landscape fabric. The addition of this material is vital to keep weeds from growing up through the pavers. Roll the fabric out and secure it along the edges with 8" landscape spikes. HINT: To avoid running short on fabric, roll it about 6" past the dig line. After laying in the edging and stones, you can trim it off.

Prep for proper drainage. Fill the entire area with a 4" layer of crushed gravel. Again, level it off, making sure your patio slope is consistent.

Next layer sand, add a 2" layer of sand. This will hold the paving stones in place while providing an even, settled surface on which to work.

For small areas, a hand tamper will be sufficient to smooth out the surface; larger areas will be better served with a power tamper. The tamper will create its own forward momentum by vibration. Steer it as you would a lawnmower, going up and down the area in rows, covering the entire gravel base.

Leveling up. After leveling the sand layer and before laying any paving stones, frame your area with landscape edging or treated wood. Aluminum edging is recommended because it’s lightweight, flexible, and easy to use and doesn’t warp. Also, if you happen to be mowing the yard and get too close, aluminum edging won’t tear up, whereas plastic edging will shred in a second.

Edge of completion. Lay out the edging along the perimeter and cut to length with metal shears. The corners tend to be sharp, so heavy-duty work gloves are a must for safety. Secure the edging by driving 8" nails through the pre-drilled holes with a small sledgehammer. Remember, you’re going through sand, gravel, fabric, and soil, so make sure they’re all the way in.

Hard at work

Set in stone. Before starting to lay the pavers in place, snap chalk lines along the edges of the patio t

o ensure the paver rows stay straight. To give the patio a nice framed feel, place the outer row perpendicular to the inner rows. After you get the hang of the first few, the rest of your patio will take shape in no time.

As you lay the pavers in place, tap them down firmly with a rubber mallet. If you have numerous pavers that need altering, using a wet saw will speed up the process, the saw will cut through the pavers quickly and easily.

At long last. Use a paver setting compound called polymeric sand to prevent weed growth and promote stabilization of your stones.

Voila, you are done!

Home improvement projects can add value to your home, and/or help your home sell quicker. So many homeowners wait until they are selling their homes to do the dreaded honey-do list or complete projects they have been wanting to be done for years, now is a good time to complete home improvement projects since we are limited on travel.

Nothing like the finalization of a project well completed, and the satisfaction that you did it yourself. Now grab a tall refreshing beverage and enjoy your completed home improvement project.

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