7 steps to the perfect concrete paver patio

7 steps to the perfect concrete paver patio

A concrete paver patio is a great way to decorate your outdoor space. For most places in your yard, concrete pavers can serve various uses.

They also suit nearly every design scheme and match any budget.

Previously, installing concrete pavers could be hard work if you planned to pave a large area. Most people use concrete pavers to form the platform of a small patio or for a pathway across the lawn in a place where they wish to avoid putting a concrete walkway.

Concrete pavers can be installed within a few hours for these smaller projects and look great for several years.

Whether you’re a DIY pro or just starting in home improvement, learning these concrete paver patio basics will help you succeed on your next paver project.

DIY paver patio steps

Step 1: Start your project by going to the local pavers dealer.

Before investing a lot of brain and back energy into preparing a plan and site for installing concrete pavers, it is best to know what type and size of pavers you will be using. Concrete pavers come in various sizes of round, square, and rectangular shapes.

They can be just about any shape you want since concrete can be poured into any form, but these are the standard sizes you can buy. You need to know the size of the pavers and their thickness in addition to the shape.

If you are not purchasing the concrete pavers on this trip, make sure that the type you select will be available when you return to buy them.

Also, remember to go with a truck or a good trailer if you buy them. Depending on the size of the patio project, a stack of pavers will weigh as much as that amount of concrete. The regular trailer will be weighted down fast.

Step 2: Sketch a plan for the layout of the concrete pavers.

This does not have to look like the work of the great master artists. A rough layout with the dimensions noted should be good enough.

Using the size of your plans, compute the number of concrete pavers you will need to do the job.

Unless you are seriously limited on space, plan the site to be large enough that you do not have to make cuts on the concrete pavers. This creates a better-looking job and saves money, time, and grief.

If you must cut the concrete pavers, a wet tile saw would be good to avoid the dust. If you’re on a budget, an angle grinder with a masonry blade will do the job, but it will be dusty. Also, a big angle grinder needs a big enough blade to cut them with comfort.

Step 3: Excavation.

Remove the grass, topsoil, and other debris from the area. Excavate two to three inches of soil for gravel and add the thickness of sand and your concrete pavers.

Once you’re down to a suitable level, shovel the gravel in.

This might be the heaviest work of the project. The gravel is there for drainage, so the water drains well to the ground.

After shoveling the gravel, use a long 2×4 or other straight edges to flatten and level the gravel (also known as screeding). If everything has gone well, your gravel is on the proper level to move to the next step after tamping or using a plate compactor to compact the gravel.

Step 4: Installing Borders.

If your concrete pavers don’t need to be right up against the edge of a structure, you’ll need to install borders. You can purchase several borders for this task or create your own by installing a 1×4 board in place using stakes.

If you leave the wood there, I recommend using pressure-treated lumber so it won’t decay. Also, consider pavers edging.

Step 5: Screeding.

Next, pour a two-inch layer of crushed concrete, pea gravel, or concrete sand onto the prepped soil. It’s a wise idea to use corrugated drainage pipes every 2-4 feet and embed them flush to the top of the sand.

If you’re using the pipes, you also need a landscaping cloth on top of them so they won’t clog with dust and dirt. Pipes act as drainage, help guide the screed, and ensure a level surface is maintained as you install the sand.

Depending on the pipe type, it would be good to research the best way to use it.

Step 6: Setting the Pavers

Place pavers one by one in rows from left to right, starting with the longest and straightest edge first. Install a paver border now if it is part of your paver design. Use a rubber mallet to pound the raised concrete pavers flush with the other pavers.

Be sure to use a long, flat board set carefully on the sand to navigate safely without leaving unwanted footprints. You should also screed some sand if the ground isn’t as level as you thought.

It’s best to move row after row and check the level constantly. If you notice three rows later that some pavers are too low or high, returning to fix it isn’t pleasant. Being careful saves time here.

How to keep pavers in place

Step 7: Placing the Sand

Once your pavers are all set, the final step is filling in the cracks and spaces between the concrete pavers with some sand. It’s a wise idea to use finely sifted concrete sand, as these smaller granules help to keep the stones in place while providing adequate drainage.

Broadcast the sand with your hands on top of the bricks. Use a broom to finish sweeping the loose sand in the cracks. Repeat the process until the sand fills every crack to the top.

Now, if you have the plate compactor, you can use it to carefully drive on top of the patio to compact it more. You should watch some videos of how they do it. It might only sometimes be necessary, though.

Then you might water it with a garden hose so the sand goes deeper. Let it dry for a while, even the next day, and sweep some more sand in. After a few weeks, you’ll need to spread more sand as it compacts with time.

Conclusion

You should have a fine and proper concrete pavers patio; congratulations! A lot of the success depends on the gravel and how you compact it. If you don’t do it, your pavers might move with the ground heaves. If you have winters, frost heaving might need fixing.

The second crucial step is the leveling of sand, as it will be the level of your pavers. Thirdly, consider adding sealer on top of the pavers. Pay attention to these, and you should have a fine patio.

If you’re looking for cheap patio paver ideas, look online for the basic styles. It might also be interesting to check the DIY paver molds.