How to Install Patio Blocks in the Sand


A patio made from blocks or bricks laid on top of a bed of sand is a popular option for outdoor home improvements. The construction of this type of patio is also a project that can be undertaken by the average do-it-yourself homeowner. Follow the steps below and you, too, can install your own patio made from blocks on sand.

Things You'll Need

  • Stakes
  • String
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Vibrating plate compactor
  • Finely crushed gravel
  • Masonry sand
  • 1 inch diameter PVC pipe, 6 feet long (2)
  • 2x4 piece of lumber, 8 feet long
  • Patio blocks
  • Mark the area for your patio by using stakes and strings to outline the perimeter on the ground. Use landscaping stakes and drive in the edge restraint all along the perimeter. Dig out the base area for the patio to a depth of 5 inches plus the height of the patio stones you will be using.

  • Remove all the debris, rocks, and plants from the excavated area. Use a rake to level the soil. Then, compact the soil firmly using a heavy-duty vibrating plate compactor. Add 4 inches of finely crushed gravel and level with the rake.

  • Pick a square corner to begin the laying of stones that will allow you to work backwards without having to step on any of those that have been laid. Place the PVC pipes 6 feet apart and parallel to one another, and 3 feet on either side of the beginning corner.

  • Add 1 1/2 inches of sand to the area between the PVC pipes and screed it to a smooth and level surface by grasping a 2x4 piece of lumber, resting it on the PVC pipes, and dragging it towards you as in the photo. Add more sand to any low areas that are revealed and screed again.

  • Lay the first block by pressing it firmly against both sides of the edge restraints in the beginning corner and lowering it onto the bed of sand. Lay succeeding blocks by pressing their sides against the sides of the previously laid block(s) and then sliding down onto the bed of sand. Continue this process, working backwards away from the beginning corner.

  • When you have finished laying blocks over the area with sand, reset the pipes in the next area and repeat steps 4 and 5, continuing until you have laid all the blocks for the patio.

  • Add a 1/4 inch of sand onto the laid blocks and sweep back and forth with a broom, working the sand into the cracks between the blocks. Make two to three passes over the sand and blocks with the plate compactor, further setting the sand in the cracks to lock the blocks in place. Sweep away the excess sand that is remaining and your patio is complete.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can save some money by paying for only one day's rental fee for the plate compactor, but you'll need to plan your work so that you can accomplish the compacting of the soil and the final sand compaction on the same day.

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