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How to Lay a Paver PatioBy: Danny Lipford
Spending time outdoors in our backyard is a great way to relax. However, a suitable place for the barbecue grill, table, and chairs is a must. Here are some tips for creating your own custom paver patio in your yard.
Pavers are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials so you can create almost any look you desire. Do some careful shopping at the home center or brick supplier to make your final decision.
The pavers seen here are brick pavers designed specifically for the dry fit installation we’re describing. What make them special are the small ribs on the edges that will allow sand to sift in between the bricks when the installation is complete.
- Begin by clearing and leveling the area to be paved.
- Remove all plant matter and you may even treat the area with weed killer before you begin paving.
- To ensure that water will run off the paved area and away from the house, create a slight slope by grading the ground to drop about 1/4″ per foot in the direction you want the water to travel.
- Pack the soil down firmly with a hand tamp, or allow a good rain to do the job for you.
- Define the patio area with the material that will contain your pavers. 1×4 or 2×4 treated lumber (redwood, cedar, or cypress) works well for this or you can purchase flexible plastic edging (for creating curves) to do the job. The lumber or edging is staked in place to create a perimeter form around the area to be paved.
- Next, spread one to three inches of course sand inside the forms.
- level the sand with a screed board made from a straight 2×4. To ensure that the sand is the same depth throughout the area, nail scraps of wood on both ends of the 2×4 at equal heights from the bottom. These scraps, or ears, will rest on the forms as you drag the screed across the space, keeping the sand at a uniform depth. Leaving the thickness of a paver from the top of the form down to the sand level works well.
Laying the Pavers
- Now you’re ready to begin laying pavers. You can use any pattern you like (basket weave, herringbone, running bond, etc.) just be sure you keep them tight together. This is where the small ribs mentioned earlier come in handy. They allow you to push the bricks snuggly together and still leave space for the sand.
- When all the bricks are in, spread sand over the whole surface and work it into the spaces with a broom. You may have to reapply sand over the first week or so as traffic and water cause it to settle into the gaps.
This kind of patio surface is easier for the do-it-yourselfer than pouring concrete and it can be much more attractive. Plus it drains well because it’s not solid and you can change the size and shape of the area as your needs change.
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