How to Create a Patio on a Budget


A backyard patio can improve your property and your quality of life. More than a porch, a patio can become an outdoor room for dining, relaxing and entertaining. It can be prohibitively expensive to contract with a commercial builder to have a patio built, but the average homeowner can create his own patio in a weekend. Purchase inexpensive materials in a home building supply store, and you can turn your own labor into a valuable addition to your home. Paving blocks provide the basis for your new patio.

Things You'll Need

  • Paving blocks
  • Measuring tape
  • Sticks
  • Rubber mallet
  • String
  • Shovel
  • Level
  • Sand
  • Broom
  • Hose
  • Measure the thickness of the concrete paving blocks. Add 1 inch. This is the depth at which you will dig your foundation.

  • Mark out the outlines of your patio by pounding sticks into the ground and running string along the outside of the sticks. Most patio pavers measure 12 inches square, so keep your area in full foot measurements for the easiest installation.

  • Dig the ground inside your string border to the depth you figured in step 1. Use a level frequently to make sure that the ground is flat and no hills or valleys appear.

  • Spread out a 1-inch layer of sand over the entire patio area. Smooth the sand with a broom to give it an even surface. Use the level to ensure a constant depth throughout.

  • Set one concrete paver in one corner of the area. Pound it down into the sand with a rubber mallet. Set another paver directly next to the first, pounding it down. Continue setting pavers and pounding them in until you have a completely filled-in patio area. Use the level again to make sure that the patio is flat. Resolve any height differences by removing the paver and adding or removing sand from beneath.

  • Spread loose sand over the entire patio. Sweep the patio stones to force sand between all the cracks between the stones. Spread and sweep another layer of sand to completely fill in all of the cracks.

  • Spray your patio down with a hose to wet the sand and compact it down and to remove any loose sand that may remain on top.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose two colors of pavers and place them in a checkerboard effect for an attractive design element.
  • Look for recyclable materials to make your patio even cheaper. If someone in your neighborhood is taking out a patio, he may give you the stones if you offer to haul them away.

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  • Photo Credit patio image by fotogisèle from
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