The Complete Gardener's Guide ,

Materials Needed

  • pegs
  • string
  • builder's square
  • spade or sod cutter
  • rake
  • builder's trowel
  • brick jointer
  • hand rammer or plate compactor
  • bubble level
  • pavers or slabs
  • gravel
  • sharp sand
  • ready-mix mortar
  • rubber mallet or club hammer
  • spacers
  • stiff brush

Step 1: Mark Off Paved Area

Use pegs to mark off the paved area. Set them at the height of the finished surface, and join with string. Use a builder’s square to check corner angles are 90 degrees.

Step 2: Remove Turf

Use a spade to remove turf, or rent a turf cutter for large areas (reuse turf or compost it). Dig out the soil to 6 inches deep, plus the thickness of the paving.

Step 3: Tamp Down Foundation

Use a hand rammer or powered compactor to tamp down the foundation area. Adjust the marker pegs to ensure the finished surface has a slight gradient for drainage.

Step 4: Spread Layer of Gravel

Spread a 4-inch-deep layer of gravel over the area, and rake the area level (ensuring you retain the slope). Then tamp firm with a hand rammer or plate compactor.

Step 5: Level the Gravel

Level out the grave with sand where necessary. Lay the first pavers along the perimeter string, placing each on five trowelfuls of wet mortar.

Step 6: Tamp Down Pavers

Use a rubber mallet or the handle of a club hammer to tamp down pavers. Insert spacers to ensure evenly-sized joints, and support the outer slabs.

Step 7: Remove Spacers

Once the pavers are firm (after a couple days), it is safe to remove the spacers. Brush dry ready-mix mortar into the joints between them. The mortar will harden over a few days.

Step 8: Accomplish a Neater Finish

Smooth Grouted Surface Using Brick Jointer

Use a builder’s trowel to push wet mortar into the gaps, then smooth the surface with a brick jointer. Avoid staining the surface of the pavers.

Step 9: Cut Pavers

Stone Saw Used to Cut Patio Pavers

To finish the patio you may need to cut some pavers to size or shape, using a stone saw. First measure and mark out the cut you need to make, and lay the paver on a deep layer of sand. Holding the stone saw firmly, draw the blade along the desired cut until complete. For your own safety, wear goggles, gloves, ear plugs and a dust mask when cutting.

2 Comments About this How To

  • Dorothy Stanford
    Sand is also a useful material to lay on the compacted base, particularly when dealing with an uneaven paving material like natural flagstone.

    Posted 3 years ago

    Flag this Comment
  • Charles H. Spurgeon
    We have had trouble with a new patio and sidewalk using Clay brick pavers. The patio was placed on level packed soil then quickrete mortar and then the paver then after finished swept with sand and sprayed with water. The sand did not hardened and just kept coming to the surface. Now on the front sidewalk over an old concrete walkway pavers were laid on mortar and no sand and now each paver can be picked up so we have a caution ribbon stretched around so no one will walk on it. We were told a special sand had to be made and is on the way to sweep the pavers. What happened?

    Posted 2 years ago

    Flag this Comment

We Recommend...

20 Hardscape Dream Projects

20 Hardscape Dream Projects

From outdoor fireplaces to sculpture gardens, find out how to upgrade your space with hardscaping.