How to Build a Simple Patio


To improve the look of your landscaping or outdoor area, consider adding a functional patio where you can entertain friends, grow a container garden or soak up sun on beautiful days.

While a lot of people think building a patio is complicated, it doesn't have to be. With the help of a few friends, you can build a simple patio in one afternoon, enjoying your new outdoor area by evening.

Things You'll Need

  • Flour or landscaping chalk spray
  • Shovel
  • Tape measure
  • Landscaping fabric
  • Scissors
  • Gravel
  • Garden rake
  • Builder's sand
  • Old board
  • Patio stones, brick, flagstone, slate
  • Kitchen broom
  • Water
  • Mark the preplanned area where you want your patio to be. You can do so by spraying landscaping chalk along the border of the patio area or sprinkling a line of flour at the border.

  • Dig up the soil inside the marked patio area to remove the grass layer and create a hole five inches deep. As you remove any excess dirt, try to make the surface of the floor of the hole as flat and level as possible.

  • Line the floor of the hole with landscaping fabric, overlapping any multiple sheets by four to six inches. Pour your gravel in over top of the fabric to secure it, adding enough to layer the area with an inch of gravel. Rake the gravel out to be as level as possible.

  • Pour in sand over your gravel and rake it out until you've added two inches of sand, leaving two inches of space between the top of the sand and the ground's surface level. Use the old board to smooth the sand flat and level it out.

  • Start on one end of the patio to begin placing your stone or brick on top of the sand. If using various shaped pieces, you'll need to follow any set pattern you've planned on to ensure your patio fills in the prepared area.

  • Work toward the other end of the patio area, laying your stones as snug as possible, careful not to lean or put pressure on your stones as you move around them. Continue until the entire patio is laid.

  • Pour a one inch layer of sand over the entire patio and begin sweeping the sand in between the stones or bricks. Once all of the sand is swept and worked in, spray a light mist of water over the patio to settle it. Repeat adding sand, sweeping, and misting the patio a week later and anytime a stone feels loose.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take your time when spreading the bottom layer of sand and smoothing it out. You'll want to get it as level as possible. Since the patio stones go directly onto this layer, the smoother the sand is when you begin, the better the results and the less maintenance you'll need to do later.

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  • "New Complete Guide to Landscaping"; Better Homes and Gardens; 2002
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