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.

Side view of paver

Paver Options

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.

Installing treated wood border around paver patio.

Patio Preparation

  1. Begin by clearing and leveling the area to be paved.
  2. Remove all plant matter and you may even treat the area with weed killer before you begin paving.
  3. 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.
  4. Pack the soil down firmly with a hand tamp, or allow a good rain to do the job for you.

Tamping down clay before laying pavers.

Paver Layout

  1. 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.
  2. Next, spread one to three inches of coarse sand inside the forms.
  3. 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.

Danny Lipford laying pavers for patio.

Laying the Pavers

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Sweeping sand between pavers.

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.

Further Information

Related Articles

79 COMMENTS

  1. I have been trying to build my own patio for two years. I put sand in between the concrete blocks and brick pavers, but I still have weeds. I have been removing the weed roots and filling it with concrete with a chaulking gun and find the weeds have not returned. Where I want moss or phlox to grow, I just don’t concrete that area and put the plant starter in.

  2. Use polymeric sand on the joints, or sealcoat with Surebond 1100 applied librally with a foam roller. After it sets up, it will fill the sand and bond so it does not allow weeds to germinate.

  3. I have the same problem with the weeds growing up between the pavers. You may want to try to pull up the weeds, spray weed killer in the opening (of course you have the sand out), and use the concrete that can be applied with a chaulking gun. You can smooth that in, it will look nice and NO MORE WEEDS!! Best of luck, it’s a big job!

  4. I have a patio made out of concrete 12×12 pavers. A good deal of water stands on this when it rains. What is the best way to get this water to run off the patio? Should I slope the existing pavers, install drains under the pavers, or something else?
    Thanjs for your help, Bob Way

  5. To answer Bob Way, you have a low spot in your patio due to the fact that you probably didn’t compact the soil underneath and install Geofabric and 4″ of CR6 under the sand before you placed the pavers. Sorry to say that Danny is not giving the correct way to install pavers. http://www.ICPI.com (Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute) is the only guidelines that need to be followed. Paul.

  6. Best way to make curves is to use a chipper hammer and tap the shape in the brick/paver. You can also get curve pavers which works very well.

  7. Last year my wife and I put in an 1100 sq. ft. patio made with pavers. The patio is sloped away from the hous and very even. The problem is that the patio is under our deck and when it rains the joint compound wases out. We’ve had a land scaping company come and wash out the sand and they applied a compound that was not suppose to wash out, it did so they returned and washed that out and applied a different type of compound, it too washed out. What can we do to fill the joints and keep it in?

  8. Same question as Eleanor Jones…can pavers be laid over concrete patio? How is it done?
    Thanks
    Steve Hotchkiss

  9. Same question as Roger Santi, we added a simple 20″ wide paver to the edge of our driveway to keep it looking nice instead of a dead grass trail to the front door. We kept it inline with the natural slope of the drive for drainage (very gradual), but every time it rains the joint sand compound washes away. What will hold up better to being washed away? I’m tired of putting more sand over the pavers each time it rains.

  10. Want to lay a paver patio over an existing granite patio that’s all moartered in, and has a good foundation, under it..doesn’t move. the concrete between the stones is starting to bust up. about 40 yrs old. QUESTION… should I USE SAND ON TOP TO SET THE PAVERS ON OR LAY DOWN A BED OF CONCRETE AND MORTER THEM DOWN.. THANKYOU Bob

  11. BOB RIVARD ATTENTION BOB RIVARD ATTENTION

    Hello,

    Since the granite patio already has a good foundation. The easiest way would be to lay down a bed of concrete, and mortor the pavers in place. This will also do away with the need of replacing the sand that is compacted in-between the stones, each time a heavy rain hits your area. With over 20 years of masonry experience, you can trust me on this.

    Best Regards,
    eBay seller g-mailman024

  12. I have a flagstone patio. It was laid like a paver patio with sand in between the stones. The sand is all washed away and I would like to replace it, but not with just sand. I would like to know what the mixture of sand you were talking about on the International Home Show. I live in Minnesota and you mentioned something which will stay in the cracks and still float with the ground.

  13. Can someone explain in detail how to lay that bed of concrete? (over existing concrete)

    Is there a tool to apply an even thickness of concrete to make it level? Like the one used for laying floor tile?

    Thanks
    Tracy

  14. I have knocked down the walls of a good sized efficiency apartment detached from my home. I want to take out some of the uprights, and screen it in. I am also wanting to lay 2″ concrete pavers over the existing wooden floor that has linoleum on it. Can I just take the linoleum off and use the backerboard that is intact and lay the pavers and mortar them in????? Would appreciate ANY comments or suggestions.. thanks.

  15. We live near the bay and are finally getting around to doing a patio.
    Instead of laying a traditional patio, for a more tropical feel,and a much cheaper cost, we’re considering laying down sand out back through the slider (with a border around the 9 x 12 area) and throwing up a tiki hut.
    Would that work or just be a wash out?
    Thanks

  16. I’m making a modest patio area with 12×12 pavers. I have the area framed and leveled, have the pavers but need the sand.

    Danny’s talked about leveling sand. No one around here has any such thing; it’s either play sand from the toy store or regular old sand from the riverside quarry.

    Does the type of sand make a big difference?

    Thanks for info.

    Doc

  17. Doc
    play sand and masonary sand are the same .
    if you want a better sand for pavers use polymeric sand this sand stays in place and weeds do not grow threw it it is also best to use a cr6 base under the pavers then sandif you can do not use wood as an edge in the winter when the ground freezes the wood will rais up they make better edging such as pavetech please trust me on this i have been instaling pavers for 18 years the way that danny shows you to instal the pavers is not correct please use icpi standerds if you instal the pavers in the corect way they will last for years if you dont they will only last for months before you have problems with watter or weeds

  18. I will like to install pavers stones over a concrete pad how can I do it do I put sand under? or just laid down over the concrete Thanks

  19. Can you direct me to some articles on how to even up a paver patio that has settled? I just bought a house which has an inground pool surrounded by a paver patio insalled 1978. The pavers are all uneven. Thank you, Ginny Roby

  20. I have an old brick patio and it looks ugly now and is not leveled anymore. I want to create new patio on top of this, because it is more hassle to take the old bricks out since they used mortar to fill the joints. I am open for any suggestion. Thanks.. LP

  21. I need help. Just put in a paver patio and the sand is being wash out and also being track in the house. Is there something I can do?

  22. My parents put in a tumbled paver patio. The pavers butt up against T1-11 wood siding that is painted. How should he keep water from getting between the painted siding and the pavers? He doesn’t want water trapped in between and rotting the siding. Any suggestions?

  23. PAVERS OVER CONCRETE: My friend had extensive concrete work done about 10 – 15 years ago, new sidewalks, patio of brick flooring, driveway, etc. It still looks very good and no weeds between the brick patio. I called the same contractor and instead of using sand/gravel as a base for the pavers we selected he used concrete and installed it with a very smooth surface and slightly pitched for water runoff. He than installed the pavers on it and used mortar on a sloped angle to the ground to hold all the borders in place rather than wood or some other material. He said that the sand/gravel base usually required is more for a DIYer because the average person is not going to mix concrete and install it properly for a paver base. He said that is how he installed my friend’s patio. He said it will last as long as any other base if not longer and be less likely to have sink spots, and weeds growing up from below. He also said it is faster and less work using a concrete base. It looks great and feels very solid. I don’t know if it is the right thing to do, but so far so good.

  24. Use the patio morter instead of sand. It goes in just like sand and then is watered down. We don’t get any weeds coming up through it at all.

  25. Hire a contractor. To do this job properly you will need a $2500 tamper, a $1000 saw, a dump truck, and many other expensive tools. Do yourself a favor and hire a ICPI certified contractor with a strong reputation, that will get the job done right. Feel free to call (804) 512-0190

  26. My husband and I wanted to create a stone patio off our back door. Needless to say, we really messed up. It looks terrible. How can we fix the area so that we can put down pavers next spring?
    Thanks for your suggestions.

  27. This is in response to Doc:

    Um, when Danny says leveling sand, he means to level the sand, as in “make the sand flat.” Leveling sand is NOT a type of sand.

  28. We manufacture concrete pavers in various colors, sizes and styles. Heavy commercial to patio or pooldeck overlays and retaining walls from Central FL to Virginia. We also distribute Pine Hall clay products and can introduce you to certified installers in your area or facilitate a DIY project. http://WWW.LCPaver.com

  29. Someone said, “lay pavers and save all the trouble of pouring cement”. That is funny. Pavers are way more work.

    Anyway,…. I highly recommend raising you paver patios out of the dirt. This is what I do.

    I border the entire project with 8x8x16 stacked blocks. For every block above ground have TWO IN the ground. So there will be some digging. The base for the blocks is crushed quartzite or manufactured sand.

    After digging your trench for the blocks put the quartzite dust down and flood the trench with water. This will SETTLE AND LEVEL the dust. Next, stack your block so you have at least one block above grade if you measure correctly you won’t have to cut a block. Make sure your corners are joined/overlapped.

    Next put a stick of 3/8 rebar in each cement block cell and fill with quickrete.

    Next, cap this with whatever capstone you want using cement block adhesive to hold the capstone in place. Make sure it is for landscaping block and a quality product.

    Next, dig out the remaining sod and as much dirt as is needed so you can add 4 inches of gravel and two inches of base material and your paver. So they end up even with your capstone.

    Next, fill, level and compact four inches of gravel called 1/4″ minus or 5/16″ minus. This is a type of gravel that has NO round rocks. They are all cracked and have at least four sides.

    Next, fill, level and compact your two (or so) inches of quartzite dust/manufactured sand. It is pink in color. Screed this very carefully using the two pipes as explained in other places. A quality screed will take alot of time but makes laying the pavers really easy.

    Next, lay your pavers. Drop the paver into place and give each one a good rap with a rubber mallet. There are more finer points to this but you will figure it out. Lay all your pavers then go around the edges and measure and cut all the other pavers.

    Next, fill the joints of your pavers with a HIGH QUALITY POLYMERIC FINE SAND only.

    Next, seal the project with a quality sealer like from DuPont. This is expensive but easy to do. This is not necessary but highly recommended.

    Next, vernier your exposed 8x8x16 block with a tile or stone of your choice.

    That is it. It will last decades. Is an easy and time consuming process. Take your time and have fun with it.

    B-RAD

  30. I install 10’s of thousands of s/f of pavers a year. and how this guy is showing you is old old school .patios aren’t done this way more .

  31. How much is to much sand for a base? I have been working on a 16’x 30′ patio for 2 years. I have a almost no time to finish it anymore. I have the rock base in and alot of sand down. I called a guy to help me finish it. He told me i have to much sand (i have 4 inchs and less )He wants to take sand out put 6 ton more rock in over the 15 tons i have in it then put 1″ of sand down. He said any sand over 1″ and the pavers will wable. He wants over 4 grand to do it. Most sites i have read said 1″ to 3′ of sand. What do you think?

  32. I want to heat a portion of my outdoor uncovered patio which is 3″ pavers set over 4″ concrete. I think I want a electrical grid sandwiched between the pavers and the concrete and then “shave” the pavers to create the space for the grid. I want to create a toasty warm adjustable temp area under my patio table in the winter, one that will not only melt ice and snow but warm my feet plus survive outdoors in Kansas, I need a source for materials and experienced advise. thanks

  33. Would pouring cement as a base for patio pavers be better than sakcrete. The patio pavers are 16×16 and designed to butt up to one another with no sand in between. Worried about pavers getting uneven after it rains. Installer thinks sakcrete will be as good as cement if fall is right for drainage.

  34. Thanks for the details, reports, & photos over the years house to house helping out others and at work I’ve had jobs of all kinds that need a refresher. Not one of them are a way of life but more like one of a kind. So, once again thanks and keep up the very good work it helps more then you know.

  35. can you please help me on this. I am putting down 8×16 paver in my backyard sit on top of clay. Do dig down 4 inches. Do I use just sand or the combo kit #1 gravel #2 sand.
    One site that I visted said use sand only. Another site use the combo kit . Who is right. Help

    • Hi Joe,
      There’s a debate over the best way to lay a paver patio, with some advocating a bed of compacted gravel or stone dust topped by sand, while others feel that sand alone is sufficient. Since clay doesn’t drain well, I would opt for 2″-4″ of compacted gravel topped by an inch of sand.

  36. which do I use for base for 8×16 pavers .Is it just sand or the gravel and sand combination my 20X22 back sits on clay
    please advise

  37. I laid out a patio using 8×8 pavers. Is it OK to have an inch of space between the blocks and it fill that space with sand? Or is 1″ to much space between pavers?

    • Hi Kings,
      When laying a paver patio, the pavers should butt up to each other with only a small gap for sand. An inch would be way too much.

  38. we used Quikrete fin sand (white) to fill the spaces between the pavers. the sand is now discolored (green, black, brown, white, etc). i’d like to replace all sand with new sand. what sand is best and how cna i ensure it won’t discolor ? thanks.

  39. We are laying concrete pavers out from our garage door. We have two inches of rigid foundation insulation exterior to the garage floor up to the lip of the floor. Do we cut it out and lay the pavers over the insulation or have the pavers butt the insulation, leaving two inches of insulation exposed between our garage floor and the pavers? The whole purpose of the insulation/pavers is to prevent frost heave.

    • Hi James,
      You can install pavers without a gravel base, in fact that’s how Danny is doing it in the above video. A gravel base can make it easier to position the pavers and aid in drainage if the ground doesn’t drain well.

  40. You really should not lay pavers without a base. You really need atleast 4″ of 3/4″ modified stone and that is for a loam soil not clay. You will have settlement problems without a base. For more accurate info check out the ICPI website. That would be the place to order a book on how to install properly.

  41. I understand the fundamentals of installing concrete pavers. I have three questions. 1) should some type of spacer be used between the pavers and foundation of the house, here in the Northeast most homes have basements and are not on a slab? 2) should the foundation below the pavers be protected with foundation water proofing? 3) Is the 8″ from siding or Water table board required and what is usually used as step material from a slider to the patio, stone, pavers or wooden steps?

  42. I have 12 years installing pavers in my opinion the work of the video is bad,this work soon need maintenance and repair is more difficult to make new again.A good foundation will make it more durable and drop is one inch per ten feet.

  43. I am about to put in a patio using 16 x 16 pavers, the area I will place it is grassey. Do I need to dig this up or can I just lay weed liner and sand the place the pavers using sand again as a filler.

    I’m new at this and need all the help you guys can give. Please step by step

  44. My daughter and I layed a 200 SF patio for her and if we can do it anyone can. After measuring off the area then diging out about three inches we used a small tiller to break of the dirt and even it as much as we could. Next we spread rock powder (leveling sand) over the area and leveled it as much as we could. After that we just sat down using small levels and basically leveled each area for each stone as we went. We were using 12×12 cement blocks. We gave it a slight slope from the house to drain the water well. We finished it by using concrete grout to fill in the spaces between blocks, by sweeping it over the pavers then watering it down, it took a couple of times to fill all crates, but it looks very good.

  45. Hello – I also want to ask about laying concrete pavers over an existing, square, concrete slab. What process do you recommend? Could you post a tutorial specifically for this? Some sites recommend mortar, and others rarely answer this question. Here’s hoping that you can respond with a few suggestions! We are novice DIYers and are trying to add value to our home! Thanks!

  46. i recently had 18″ x 18″ concrete block pavers installed over a 700 square foot area. when i bought the pavers they were grey in color. after the installation it rained the next day. when the pavers dried we noticed that some of the blocks had changed to a concrete color. is this normal? i called the company where the pavers were purchased and they sent a representative to look at the area he really could not give me a diffinative answer. he said he would refer to his customer service dept. and have them contact me.
    p.s. i am noticing that the other blocks are stating to change in color. do you think they will eventually all change to the concrete color?

  47. hey Quick question my husbad and i are doing a 24 x24 i just wanted to know if you removed your staked after the job was finnished

    Sharon

  48. 16×16 pavers – 250 sq ft patio. Should I put weed blocking cloth under the pavers and if so, under the leveling sand or on top?
    Thanks.

  49. I was wondering if you can use sand mixed with Quikrete for the joints rather than the polymeric sand? If I do use the sand/Quikrete mixture will it eventually discolor? What color is the polymeric sand? Thanks!

  50. We live in a dry area, but during the winter we can get heavy rain (rarely light snow). Our backyard is bare and covered with hard soil. We are about to lay 16×16 concrete pavers. We are trying to keep the cost down, but we want to do it right and not have problems in the end. Our soil is grainy and hard. Is it a must that we lay gravel, then sand before the pavers? Also, my husband wants to avoid weeds and is considering laying a weed blocking cloth. At what point should the weed blocking cloth be laid, before gravel, between gravel and sand, when? Help. 🙂

  51. Danny is way, way wrong. Concrete pavers installed correctly are designed to last 100 years. Go to unilock.com and click on the install guide. Also be advised to actually be called a paver a concret product must be a minimum of 8,000 psi. You won’t find these at big box stores. And lastly polymeric sand is the best weed deterrent. Don’t follow this thread. You’ll be sorry.

  52. just bought a house and had to replace a wall of cedar siding that had a flower bed right next to it. the dirt was about 8-12 inches up the siding and it had rotted out. now we’re removing the dirt and putting in a paver patio. the addition is on top of a dirt crawl space so no area of cement foundation really. if we leave a gap of 3 inches between the sided wall and the pavers, and fill the gap with gravel, should we anticipate a repeated issue with moisture?

  53. I have a dead roots and stump that was grinded down to the level of the earth. Can I just pour gravel and sand over the dirt and instal the pavers. I want to avoid digging this large tree stump out of the ground

    • Hi Danny,
      Laying a paver patio over a tree stump wouldn’t be a good idea, since as the wood rotted, the ground would tend to sink. Unless the tree was a rot resistant wood that will be be there a long time, you’d be better off digging up the stump, filling in the hole, and compacting the dirt before laying your patio. Good luck with your project!

  54. On the question of laying pavers over an existing concrete base. We had pavers put down in our garage and entrance apron, the “experts” laid them on cement and cemented in the joints (about 3/16″ gap left) as they had to take about 1/2 ton or more on any one paver when you parked in there and not move if you applied the brakes firmly. Worked fine, 8 years now.

    A little later I got a landscaper to lay the same pavers on our patio area (over dirt) and on an upstairs concrete balcony. On this occasion the “experts” laid the balcony pavers on sand over the concrete, but cemented about 3 or 4″ in from each edge to hold everything in place, and cemented between the pavers (again left about 3/16″ gap). This has also worked well. It was much much much quicker to lay on sand, so it cost me a lot less!

  55. I really been looking for help, I installed a patio 2 years age and it’s been heaving. Live in Wisconsin. What can I do to stop the heaving. I did put drainage tile under the patio blocks. the blocks are 16 by 16. I have at least 4 inches of sand base with a wood frame to hold the patio blocks. Can some one give me some ideas. thank you Marggo

  56. I am putting 12″X12″X1″X1.75″ concrete pavers on a finished concrete porch. I intend to use Sacrete. What is the top down materials sequence?

    1. Paver
    2. Sakrete in vertical joints
    3. Original finished concrete OR

    1. Paver on paver sand
    2. Paver sand on original finished concrete
    3. Sakrete in vertical joints to the surface

    Thank you. I’ll appreciate any help I can get.

  57. Im thinking of building a 12×12 patio but my small backyard has a bit of grade maybe 30% figured it had to be tiered or somthing and didnt know how to do it so I am stopped to I figure out something.

  58. Hello, My project is a 15X13 paver patio, my boyfriend is off by 3 inches on the stakes and line. I don’t like that….I want him to fix it but he says that it is okay…will this mess everything up?

  59. Ok here’s the deal. When I was a young child my father and I laid a paver patio and walkway in the backyard. A few years later we rebuilt the family room adding in a sliding glass door. Over time the pavers shifted and the original pitch for drainage was lost causing the house to flood in heavy rain. This year I pulled all the pavers up and relaid them to recorrect the pitch but I’m still flooding why? Please email me back with any answers you may have I really need to fix this.

  60. Contractor is putting down pavers over a filled in pool. how long before the in ground pool space becomes level? What steps need to be taken for this to stay level for a long time? Should we use sand, gravel and/or weed retardent cloth to keep it looking good without meldew?

    Thanks for any suggestions

  61. I hadn’t thought of letting the rain help tamp the ground for you! I’ve had a hard time getting the ground level where I am and I was running out of ideas to try. Next time it rains I’ll see if that helps. Maybe if it doesn’t rain I’ll just simulate some rain with the hose! Thanks for the tip!

  62. How do I sign up to win a Backyard Patio Makeover? I am going to attempt a patio beside the garage. I am getting to old (70) to pull weeds from my flowers so I plan to do container gardening. With a small patio off of the garage, I will be able to set some pots out there along with some seating arrangements. Your videos have been quite helpful. Thanks for the great information. You sure do know how to help Mother Nature.

    • Hi, Ruth,
      We appreciate your interest in being on the show. Here is more information about that process: https://www.todayshomeowner.com/locations/
      Today’s Homeowner tapes most episodes in southern Alabama. However, throughout the year, we have contests that open the show to homeowners nationwide.
      You never know, we just might make it to your area!

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