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

Installing Edge Restraint

measuring angles to place end line Before installing your edge restraint you need to figure out your end line for the patio and a center reference line.

To draw the end line, we measure out from the house the length of the patio on both sides. Then we snap a chalk line between the two marks to give us the bottom of the patio.

Now we need to draw a line perpendicular to this end line. Here's one way to do this

  1. Find the center point of the end line.
  2. Mark off an equal length in both directions.
  3. Using two tape measures, start at the two outside points and cross the two tape measures.
  4. Pivot the tape measures until they cross at the same measurement.
  5. Snap a chalkline from the center mark to the point where the tapes crossed.
  6. Mark the ends of this perpendicular line on the edge restraint and the house so you can resnap them when they get covered up with sand.

PVC edge restraint For our paver project, we used a PVC edge restraint that's designed specifically for interlocking pavers.

We joined the sections with a connector pipe, and used 10-inch spikes to hold the edging in place.

Sometimes it works best to put in all the edging right away. In our project, we just installed the edging for the end at this point.


Sand Layer

levelling sand layer We used about two cubic yards of sand to make a one-inch bedding layer over the whole patio. You need special sand for your bedding layer; ours was coarse washed concrete sand.


We lined up one-inch thick pipes to give us our 1-inch layer. We filled sand in between the pipes, then screeded it off level with the tops of the pipes. In places where you can't use a screed, it's okay to use a trowel to smooth it out.


Setting the Pavers

setting first row of pavers


Resnap your center perpendicular line before starting the pavers..

We set our pavers in two sections: the big patio area first, and then the sidewalk area. We started at the far end and worked our way up toward the house.

We've got a row of red pavers in what's called a "soldier course" along the outside edge of the patio. So those were the first ones we set in.

We started the first two on either side of the line and worked out from there.

You just set the pavers gently into the sand. Don't slide them in from the side, don't twist them, don't push them down.

pyramid pattern for setting paversOur general pattern is to set the pavers in sort of a pyramid, centered on our reference chalkline. Adjust the pavers every few to keep them straight.

There are several different tools you can use to cut pavers. The most common is a mechanical splitter. However, a splitter leaves a slightly uneven cut.

To get a cleaner cut, you need to use a heavy duty power miter saw. The pros use a wet saw that's washed with water to keep the heat and dust down.

The main part of our patio was a herringbone pattern.

After the pavers were set, we put the edging on the sides. If we had installed the edging earlier, we would probably have had to cut all the pavers on the sides to fit.


Tamping the Pavers

tamping pavers with a compactorNow run the compactor over the pavers. This starts the process of locking everything in place. The compactor is pressing the pavers down, evening out the tops of the pavers, and forcing some of the sand up into joints from underneath.

Next you fill the joints with sand from above. And this is what makes a patio incredibly strong.

You should be able to use the same type of coarse washed concrete sand as you did for the bedding layer. However, you need the sand to be pretty dry.

The process is to spread sand with a broom, run the compactor over the pavers, spread some more sand, compact, and so on, until the joints are filled. This process will make for a very solid paver surface.

After your paver project is complete you have the option to seal the pavers. Sealing will bring out the colors of the pavers and protect them from stain, but you will have to reseal them every few years.