How to Do Patio Pavers


Paver stones can be used to create a beautiful, resilient patio, if you take your time in planning and are willing to perform moderate physical activities to get the job done right. Before laying the stones, the fun part, make some basic calculations and measurements. Dig to the necessary depth for accommodating the four essential layers for your paver stone base: lime base, gravel, sand and paver stones.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure and yard stick
  • Wooden stakes
  • Leveling line (string)
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Powered ground compactor
  • Lime base
  • Gravel
  • Fine sand
  • Surveying set
  • Measure and mark the boundaries for the new paver stone patio call your local cable and utility companies to schedule a utility locating assessment. A thorough understanding of where all underground cables and pipes are located is needed before you begin digging.

  • Use a surveying set and determine your degree of angle to ensure rain and snowmelt will run away from buildings near the patio. Shoot for a declination angle of 1 inch per every 10 feet in length toward the far edge (away from a building) of your patio.

  • Purchase enough lime base, gravel, and sand to provide the necessary thickness of each material. Calculate a minimum of 2 inches of lime base, 4 inches of gravel and 3 inches of sand. To determine the correct amounts of each material use the formulas found on Pave Tools International's Web site,

  • Dig to the necessary depth and declination. Dig 6 inches farther out than your planned patio surface and figure in this additional square footage, to which you will add additional lime base, gravel and soil for extended support. Dig the hole deep enough to accommodate the total combined thickness of the lime, gravel, sand and paver stones.

  • Use a tape measure and hammer a stake every 2 feet along both sides of your excavated patio foundation. Tie leveling string onto the stakes to use as guides for pouring and grading each layer.

  • Apply a two 1-inch lime layers, compacting each with a powered compactor. Do the same for the gravel.

  • Pour the necessary thickness of sand over top of the compacted gravel and level well. Pour the sand, leaving a space at the top to the exact depth of your paver stones. The tops of the stones should be level with the surrounding ground when laying them. You will be filling gaps between the paver stones with additional sand.

  • Lay all paver stones according to the plans or to your desired pattern, leaving a 3/16-inch gap between paver stones.

  • Pour sand over the paver stones thickly and drag a leveling board across the pavers, causing the sand to fill in the gaps between pavers. Allow the patio to set over several days before positioning furniture onto the surface.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dig your foundation at least 6 to 8 inches deep if you live in an area with a deep frost line, with 1 foot deep being even better. Frost can cause moisture to become trapped in the gravel layer, causing stones to contract. This can lead to uneven settling. Observing this frost line tip during your planning phase will help you produce a stable patio. Some people use a clay road base material for the bottom layer of their paver patio. However, lime base provides a much stronger bottom layer than clay. You may want to consider a mixture of 75 percent lime base to every 25 percent clay base if you desire some cost savings. Be sure to calculate your total inches properly. Simply add together the combined inches of all materials including the depth of the paver stones.

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