Building a Paver Patio – Hints and Tips

A new driveway is probably the best investment you can make in your home’s hardscape and landscape. But a close second is a new patio, as it’s both a great financial investment and an investment in your enjoyment of your home and backyard. In addition, the best material to use for this purpose – the material that will maximize the beauty and value of your new patio – are concrete pavers.

Best of all, if you have any sort of home improvement skill, you can install these patio pavers yourself! Note that if you don’t think you can handle building a paver patio, there are plenty of paver contractors who you can hire to do the job for you. Still, you should consider giving a DIY patio a try. This article will give you some tips and tricks to help inform you how to build a paver patio for the lowest cost and the lowest hassle.

In addition, we want you to get the job done right! So some of these tips will be essentials when it comes to properly installing your new paving stone project, so listen up!

Picturing and Designing Your Paver Patio

The first step, after deciding to install a new patio, of course, is to plan and design your new application. Of course, you have near limitless options here, both in the size, shape, pattern, and color scheme of your new patio, so we can’t go into all those options here. The key is, of course, getting all of those features down in a sketch, or at least in writing, so that you can move on to the next stages in your building project.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, or don’t have any ‘eye’ for design, you can outsource this step. At the same time, I’d advise you not to underrate your own abilities – you know what you want and what you like better than anyone else. This site can give you plenty of ideas for sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns, so there’s a start for you at least. Check out our section on design ideas!

You should also tailor your design to your skill level. In other words, adding fancy curves and dips and steps to your project will be an unfortunate proposition if this is your first DIY concrete pavers project. Thus, sticking to the basics (rectangles and squares) is a good idea for most homeowners. While curves are nice, some patios may actually be better designed when they stick to the ‘basics.’

Your Material Choices – Pavers for Patio

This article assumes that you’re using concrete pavers, or paving stones, for your next project. In truth, natural stone or brick pavers will be similar to concrete pavers in many ways, though there may be some tips specific to those materials as well.

Once you’ve figured out the plan for your next project, you need to pick the brand of paver you’ll use, the type, and the colors. Of course, picking one of these options will, in some ways, require adhering to another choice. For example, if you pick one brand of pavers over the others due to price, you’ll be limited to the colors and types of brick that that company sells.

You’ll need to order your brick, crushed aggregate, and sand according to the square footage of your project. Before you call the paver manufacturer or mason supply yard, make sure to have the dimensions and square footage, along with any other special needs, at hand. They will tell you how much material you’ll need to complete the job. The exact amount will vary on so many factors that it won’t be very helpful if you were given an estimate here.

If saving money is your game, there’s plenty of information on this site on how to find pavers for sale.

Beginning Your Paver Project

This section will just be a brief overview of the important factors that you need to consider when installing your new patio. For a more detailed discussion of the steps needed to install paving stones, see this CPG article on paver installation.

One thing you’ll want to do is ‘simulate’ using your patio. This means laying down your furniture in the dimensions of your new project. This is done to ensure that the space is ‘liveable’ and that no conflicts between the size of the patio and your furniture will develop.

Another thing to keep in mind is grading, or pitch. You want to make sure that your patio is sloped away from your house or other sensitive areas of your yard. This will make sure that water doesn’t flood your basement, garden, or other areas of your home.

Before digging in your backyard, make sure that you note the location of any utility lines. It can be both messy and dangerous if you split a wire or water line. You can call your utility company to do this for you; many will do the service for free, so don’t worry about the expense.

The most important thing, bar none, when it comes to the quality of your project is the foundation, or sub-base. Spend most of your time on this aspect of the project – it will be time well spent. A poor base will mar even the strongest patio installation for years to come.

When installing your patio, make sure your family members know not to step in the area while construction is under way. Disturbing the base or sand bed is obviously a good thing, but they should not even walk on the pavers until they have been properly edged and compacted. This includes pets, too – having Fido do his business in your freshly prepared base is a headache and a half!

Don’t feel compelled to do all this work in one sitting or one weekend. In fact, for large patios, this may not even be possible. Dedicate one weekend, for example, to properly preparing the base. Spend the next on laying the pavers and applying the finishing touches.

The Verdict

In the end, installing a new paver patio is within the ‘wheelhouse’ of more homeowners than may be normally assumed. Pavers are relatively easy to work with a forgiving to newbies – unlike poured concrete and asphalt, as their drying process is a “one shot deal.”

In addition, if you want some more outdoor patio ideas, go ahead and read this CPG article that will give you ten great ones to get you started on your next project!