How to Build a Patio with Concrete Pavers

Instructional Tips on Building a Concrete Paver Patio

By Mark J. Donovan

Building a patio off the backside of your house is a great way to extend the living space of your home. A patio is ideal for having summer cookouts and simply relaxing outdoors in the afternoon shade. A patio is also lower maintenance than a deck. There are three common types of materials used in building a patio, concrete pavers, bricks and poured concrete. In my personal opinion building a patio with concrete pavers is the best choice. Poured concrete is susceptible to cracking, particularly if you live in colder climates, and standard bricks lack the interlocking capability, and the shape, size and color variations that concrete pavers offer.

To build a patio with concrete pavers first mark the patio borders. Use stakes and string for marking the outer dimensions of the patio.

After defining the patio boundaries next prepare the patio bed for setting the concrete pavers into. All of the sod and topsoil must be removed. A flat-blade shovel works well for removing the sod and topsoil. In addition, another several inches of soil should be removed. If you live in colder climates I would recommend removing about 12 inches of soil in total from the planned patio area.

Next place landscaping fabric into the dugout area followed by several inches of angular crushed stone. The crushed stone should be placed into the patio area and compacted firmly. Note that it is important to use angular crushed stone as the stones interlock with each other to create a stable bedding surface. The landscaping fabric helps to ensure proper drainage underneath the concrete paver patio.

After compacting the gravel several inches of clean sand should be poured over it. The sand should also be compacted down such that it is approximately 1 inch below the adjacent sod area.

 How to build patio with concrete pavers.

This should allow the concrete pavers to sit approximately 1 inch above the sod.

Next use a long 2×4 board to screed the sand to a smooth and level surface. Long plastic conduit pipes placed at the far ends of the patio sand bed work well for helping to guide the 2×4 board over the sand, and ensuring a consistent and smooth bedding surface.

Now set your concrete pavers into the patio bed starting at one side of the patio and working your way across the surface of the patio bed.

As you progress continue to smooth out the sand with the 2×4 board. Cut concrete pavers as necessary with a wet saw.

After installing the concrete pavers next install edge trim pieces along the perimeter of the concrete paver patio using long spikes to hold them in place.

Apply a light coating of sand over the finished concrete paver patio and sweep the sand into the cracks and crevices between the concrete pavers with a broom.

Brick and Paver Walkway Bid Sheet

Next, lightly hose down the surface of the concrete paver patio, using a fine spray setting on the spray nozzle, to lock the concrete pavers into place and to create a beautifully finished patio surface.

Finally spread topsoil and grass seed around the perimeter of the patio area to complete the project.

For help on building a new Paver Walkway Patio, see’s Brick and Paver Walkway Bid Sheet. The Brick and Paver Walkway Bid Sheet will teach your how to hire the right landscape contractor, and help to ensure that your paver walkway or patio project is completed on time and budget.

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