How-To Paver Patios
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Trans 1) Getting Started Trans
2) Installing the Pavers


Getting Started

Using concrete pavers for patios, sidewalks, and driveways is becoming more and more popular in the United States.

Before you start a paver project, call your utility company and have all the underground pipes and wires marked.


Choosing a Design

One of the great things about pavers is that they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. This gives you many different options for your design.

Patio Paver: Octagonal pattern Patio Paver: Hexagonal and square

Patio Paver: Patio Paver: Hexagonal and square completed view Patio Paver: Rectangular



cutting sod with shovel First you need to stake out the area for your project. You can do this with stakes and strings.

You'll probably have grass that needs to be removed. You can do this pretty easily with a sod cutter. Then you need to dig down to a point where you want your base to start.

For this patio project, we dug down seven inches. That was to allow for a four inch base, a layer of sand, and the pavers.



The digging process you use is called skimming. This is where you try not to disturb the dirt at the bottom, but just skim the top. If you have loose dirt at the bottom, it'll settle and you might end up with a dip in the patio.

For our patio we also sloped the base away from the house one inch for every four feet. This will help drainage.

You can do this work by hand, but if you have a large area you might want to consider having a subcontractor do the work with a Bobcat.


Preparing for the Base Material

base materials for a paver patioOnce your excavation is all flat and at the slope you want, you're ready for the base material.

Mark along side the house the height for the base material. Make sure this line extends beyond the house so you can still see it when it gets covered up with base material.

Before spreading out the main load of base material, it's a good idea to put down what's called "geotextile fabric." This will help hold up the base and pavers if there's any movement in the soil under the fabric.

The fabric should go up the side of the excavation and run a little bit up the side of the house, this will help protect the siding.


Compacting the Base Material

The base material we used was a crushed limestone called "class two." In some areas it's called "three-quarter minus", AB3, Granular type 2, or 21A.

The base material needs to be moist. One way you can tell is to pick up a handful and squeeze it. If it holds together in a solid clump, it's just right.

compactor flattening base materialYou can get a compactor at a rental store, you need a 4 or 5-horsepower compactor. Anything less won't do the job.

It works best to put down only half of the base material at a time, and compact it after each layer. In our case, two three-inch layers compacted down to the four inches of base we needed.

Keep the compactor running at full throttle. If you slow it down even a little, you reduce the effect a lot. Let the machine pull itself forward, you shouldn't have to push it to make it move.

First run the compactor around the edges of the area twice. Then start on the low side and work across the grade, moving uphill. Then change directions 90 degrees and start going up and down. Next, do a diagonal pass. Then repeat the whole process again.

If there are areas you can't reach with the big compactor, you'll have to compact them by hand. One way is to use the end of a sledge hammer.

After compacting each layer check for flatness and for the proper grade. You'll probably have to do some scraping, filling, and more compacting to fine tune everything.