DIY: How to Install a Paver Patio

One of the best money-saving DIY projects you can do is install a paver patio yourself. It’s not for the feint of heart, as those pavestones aren’t exactly light! But considering you can do it within a weekend and save thousands of dollars, it’s definitely worth looking into.

The first step is, as you may expect, to determine the shape and size of the patio. Once you’re done, you can work on getting all of your tools and materials together:

  • Marking paint
  • Mason line
  • Level
  • Wood stakes
  • Measuring tape
  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Rake
  • Push broom
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Paving base
  • Paving Sand
  • Paver stones
  • Edge stones
  • Place compactor
  • Masonry saw
  • Landscape nails

After you’re all set, it’s time to get to work.

Step 1: Prepare the Area

Start by marking the area of the patio with some marking paint. Then drive some wood stakes into the ground just outside the line, and attach mason line. Pay close attention to the height you plan for the patio, because you need to slope it away from the house to avoid water damage in the future. The general rule is a 1 inch drop every 8 ft.

Once you determine the heights you’ll need, mark them on the stakes, and adjust the mason line accordingly.

Next, you’ll need to clear out the existing grass and soil. When you start digging/removing the soil, make sure to dig deep enough to accomodate for the paver base and sand you’ll be adding next. Account for 4 inches for the base and 1 inch for the sand.

Step 2: Add the Paver Base and Sand

After your hole is in place, the next step to install a paver patio is to essentially lay the foundation. As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to spread the base to be about 4 inches thick. You’ll definitely need a rake for the job, and a plate compactor isn’t a bad idea- especially if you’re installing a large patio.

Once the base is in place, spray it with water. As it gets wet, it will compact more, which is exactly what you want before moving on.

Next, spread the sand over the wet base. – it should come out to about 1 inch thick. This is thick enough to hold the pavers in place, but not so thick that the sand will compact or shift over time.

*Pro Tip: The best way to level the sand is in sections. Try placing parallel planks or electrical conduit on either side of the patio, and sliding a board across them to smooth out the sand.

Step 3: Place the Pavers

paver patio stones
laying paver patio stones

Starting in a corner, place the first paver stone. Then work outwards, so it will look like a triangle that keeps getting bigger and bigger. Place the stones directly onto the sand, and very snug next to each other. You don’t want to slide the stones across the sand or stomp them into place. This will cause the sand to shift, leading to an uneven patio.

Once you get to the other side of the patio, you may find that your pavers aren’t exactly the right size. In that case, the best thing to do is use a masonry saw to cut the stones down to fit.

Step 4: Placing Edge Stones

Hammer your landscaping nails along the edge of the patio. These will help hold the pavers in place. Then add the edge stones on top of the nails, adding additional weight and a cosmetic finishing touch.

Step 5: Finish the Patio

The final step is to fill in all of the small cracks of the patio with paver sand. Spread a light amount of paver sand across the patio, and use a push broom to spread it around. After it has all gone into the cracks, use a plate compactor across the surface. Repeat this process until all of the cracks are full of paver sand.

Step 6: Enjoy!

Learning how to install a paver patio is a great idea for any landlord with detached single family homes. Your tenants will love it, and doing it yourself will save you a ton of money.

But for now, enjoy the patio you just built with a few chairs and your favorite beverage!

About the author

Justin Stowe


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