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.

1 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 1 year ago

    Flag this Comment

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