how-to-build-a-paver-patioHaving a patio encourages outdoor enjoyment including lazy, relaxing afternoons spent with friends and family. If you’ve been considering getting a paver patio, now is the time to do it. Don’t assume that constructing a patio requires a huge expense or a vast amount of hard work. Anyone can handle the installation of a simple patio with proper planning, the right tools and materials, and attention to detail. You can achieve professional-level results within a single weekend, regardless of your skill level or previous experience. To see how surprisingly easy it can be enhance your outdoor living with a long-lasting patio, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Supplies: Stakes and string, Shovel, Edge restraints, Level, Carpenter’s square, Quikrete® All-Purpose Gravel, Tamper, Quikrete® Patio Paver Base Sand, 2×4 boards, 1×1 boards, Hammer and nails, Pavers or natural stones, Rubber mallet, Quikrete® PowerLoc Jointing Sand (for joint widths up to 1/2?) or Quikrete® HardScapes Polymeric Jointing Sand (for joint widths up to 2?), Garden hose with spray attachment, Push broom

STEP 1: Stakes and String

Before you can make any real progress, you need to decide where to put a paver patio. If you don’t have a specific spot in mind, think how you intend to use the patio. If you want to enjoy outdoor dinners on your patio, place it within a close distance of your kitchen. If you want to use your patio to suntan, then place it on part of your property with a southern exposure. After you’ve chosen your location, mark off the perimeter with stakes and string. If you want an irregularly shaped patio, outline the dimensions with a bright-colored spray paint.

STEP 2: Excavation

This step may be the most physically taxing part of this project. Your finished patio surface should sit slightly above ground level, so you must excavate to create space for the gravel and sand that will sit under the pavers. This will provide a stable, leveling base for the paver installation. Using a shovel, excavate up to seven inches below the surface. This depth allows for two to four inches of gravel, one to two inches of sand, and accommodation for the height of your chosen pavers.

STEP 3: Edge Restraints

Once you’ve excavated to the appropriate depth, install edge restraints around the perimeter. You can find a selection of ready-made edge restraints in a variety of materials, including plastic, aluminum, and wood at your local home center. This will prevent pavers from settling and shifting over time due to foot traffic and harsh weather. Since pavers are installed level with the edge restraints, it is critically important to ensure that the patio allows stormwater to run off its surface. So, position your edge restraints on a slight incline. Professionals recommend a slope of about a quarter inch for every 12 linear feet. Direct the angle away from, not toward, the house.

STEP 4: Adding Gravel

Now that you have the space ready, add enough Quikrete® All-Purpose Gravel to fill two to four inches of the area. How much gravel you can add depends on the height of the pavers you plan to install. There is a direct relationship between the amount of gravel under a patio and its compression strength. This means its ability to undergo great weight, whether from a parked car or a large group of people. Depending on how exactly you intend to use the patio, it is wise to include as much gravel as the vertical space allows. Once you’ve laid the gravel, pack it down with a tamper.

STEP 5: Screeding

On top of the compacted gravel, you’ll need to add one to two inches of Quikrete® Patio Paver Base Sand. The sand contributes precision which helps the installed pavers sit level. In order for this to work, the sand layer must be smooth and level. A screed board, or a straightedge, is the most effective way to even out an expanse of sand. To make one, grab a two-by-four and cut it equal to the shortest distance across the project area. After that, cut a one-by-one into two pieces and nail one on each end of the larger board. This will create “handles” for accuracy while you screed. Have a partner hold the handle on the opposite end of the screed and push the board along the surface of the sand. Remove the excess sand that accumulates in front of the board as you go. Use the excess to fill dips behind the screed. This may take several passes before the bed becomes level.

STEP 6: Rubber Mallet

Finally, it’s time to install the pavers. Start in a corner and work outward as you place the pavers in the sand. Tap each paver into position with a rubber mallet. It’s important for the gap between each paver to be the same width. You can use a piece of plywood between each gap to keep the gaps consistent. Make sure you have a level handy so you’re able to frequently confirm that your paver surface follows a drainage-promoting incline.

STEP 7: Joining Sand

Once all the pavers are set, the next step is to fill the joints between pavers with sand. For lasting, professional-quality results, use a sand that’s been specially manufactured to bind pavers together. For narrow joints of a half inch or less, choose Quikrete® PowerLoc Jointing Sand. For joints up to two inches wide (or if your pavers are natural stone), opt for Quikrete® HardScapes Polymeric Jointing Sand. Pour your sand directly from its packaging into the joints and sweep the excess sand out of the project area. As you go, look for any unfilled joints and top them up.

STEP 8: Misting

The last step is to attach a nozzle to your garden hose and gently mist the pavers. This allows water to saturate the sand-filled joints, but be careful to avoid flooding the sand onto the paver surface. After the first spray down, dampen the pavers once every 60 minutes for the next three hours. As temperature and humidity are important, changing factors, it’s difficult to estimate the dry time, but over the course of several days, you’ll notice that the joints will firm up.

By the next weekend, you’ll have nothing left to do except invite guests for the first barbecue on your new patio!