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  • Writer's pictureSarah Jay

DIY Paver Patio

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Save thousands by building a DIY paver patio for your outdoor space this summer!! You don't have to break your back or your bank in order for it to be functional, durable, and guaranteed to survive through the seasons!

DIY Brick Paver Patio backyard space | Sarah Jay Home

When we bought our first home during the pandemic, we knew we were going to wait out trying to hire landscapers to build our outdoor space due to shortages, long timelines, etc. We waited two summers thinking we were in the clear to start asking for quotes. Finally, someone came out to give us a quote, and to our shock, we were quoted $12,000 for a 12x12 concrete patio. I knew there would be a lot of labor involved, but the materials needed couldn't possibly be close to that cost! So my husband and I totaled up the materials and realized we need to figure out how to DIY a paver patio on our own. We learned all the tips and hacks so you don't have to!

I saved THOUSANDS choosing to DIY it and you can too!

Good To Know: I found a specific product that will cut your time almost in HALF! So, if you are a DIY enthusiast like me, trust me. This is doable! Working only a few hours each day, it took exactly one week from start to finish. Depending on your space, this can actually be a weekend project.


LET'S GET STARTED:

Here are the list of materials you will need from your local home improvement store. PRO TIP: It is always best to shop around holidays like Labor Day and Memorial Day to get the best of the best deals. Also, don't forget that you can order BULK to get even better prices AND do a pick-up order to get help from the hardware store employees to load your car/truck for free!


First, you will want to measure the square footage of your space to properly calculate how much material you will need (Calculate square footage by multiplying Length x Width).



TOOLS NEEDED: PRO TIP: Before hitting the stores, always check Facebook Marketplace first for used tools to save money.

MATERIALS NEEDED:


PREPARE THE GROUND



PLAN TO SLOPE

Map out the natural slope of the ground so it can be level. Beware, this step requires some math! The patio needs to slope away from the house — typically expect about 1-inch of a drop every 4 feet. This is super important, because it will make the next steps much easier and keep rain away from your house. You will mark the layout using a line level to make sure the strings are level and attach them to steaks in each corner of your perimeter.


GOOD TIP: A 4-foot level with a 1-inch block of wood attached to the end is helpful to check the slope as you're digging. Use your yard's natural slope if possible. See photo above.


GET DIGGING

Use a pick, shovel, and rake to clear the area of any grass, shrubs, weeds etc. Your goal is to dig 2-3" deep into the soil. You may read elsewhere that 6" or more is needed, but this is NOT the case because we are using Paverbase Panels, which eliminates much of the digging. Once you have dug enough, use your tamper to compact the soil, then your level to make sure the ground is sloping in the right direction. We want the water to move away from the house not into it, so remember to keep checking your levels!


INSTALLING PATIO FOUNDATION



1. Once everything is level, it is time to lay down the weed barrier fabric. Be sure to overlap the fabric by about 4" so that no pesky weeds get through it. Hammer them down using anchors/steaks.


2. Place two lengths of 1/2"-inch outside-diameter polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe across the area. The pipes will help you get the correct depth of leveling sand and act as rails for leveling with your 2x4 wood piece. Don't worry, you'll be able to remove them before laying patio pavers.

Leveling Sand with 2x3 and pvc pipes for a DIY Paver Patio base foundation for backyard space
Leveling Sand with 2x3 and PVC pipes

3. Because you are using Paverbase Panels, you can now add leveling sand. Spread it thinly around using the back of the rake until the entire surface is covered. You are aiming for about 1/2" thickness. Using your 2x4, place it over the PVC pipes and push it to smooth down the excess sand, which will help with leveling the sand out.


Once level, take out the PVC pipes slowly and fill in the holes with a little bit of sand. Then use your tamper to compact the entire area.



INSTALLING PAVERS


4. Next step is to install the Paverbase Panels. This is where things get EASIER and move along quickly (*phew)! Place your panels by starting in one corner and working your way out, making sure they all face the same direction. If you get confused, check out their site to help you through this process. The cool thing about these panels are that they can be precisely cut to fit your space with a box cutter! They are made with tiny holes for drainage and will be anchored in on the next step. This step replaces the typical gravel you'd have to pour on. It's what the professionals use and i highly recommend the splurge!

Adding Edger and Laying down the Paverbase Panel  for the DIY Paver Patio
Be sure to place the edger so the anchor holes are on the outside.

5. Now take out your edger, anchors, and rubber mallet. The edger goes on top of the perimeter of the paver base panels (NOTE: make sure the anchor holes of the edger are pointed away from the outside of your patio as the bricks will not rest flush on top of the anchors). With your rubber mallet, hammer the anchors into the holes through to secure the edgers along the panels.


6. Now its time for your Pavers! We used Concrete Pavers from Home Depot and laid out a few options for design to see what we liked best. Some designs require cutting your pavers. We opted to have a simple design with NO cuts to move things along and keep the cost down. I call it the Tetris pattern lol but its actually called a Basket Weave pattern. Use your mallet to tap in each brick as you lay them to make sure they are snug and straight.


GOOD TIP: Don't anchor in the edger entirely! The edgers are flexible. Get started and then anchor them in as you lay down your bricks just in case you need a little wiggle room.



DIY PAVER PATIO | FINISHING SAND



7. Add the Polymeric jointing sand to fill in between the pavers. TIP: The pavers must be completely DRY before application. I added small amounts across the pavers then I swept the sand into the joints using a wide push broom making sure every gap is covered. Then you need to use a hand tamper to settle the sand. You'll notice some sand settling in the cracks, thats a good thing! Add more sand and repeat the process as needed. You want the sand to sit about 1/4" below the top of the surface.


8. Gently blow off all the excess sand with a leaf blower or a Shop Vac. Pay special attention to textures and crevices on the pavers. Make sure no polymeric sand or dust from the sand remains, because once it is wet, it is permanent and will create a white haze and be rough on the feet.


9. Once you’ve removed all of the sand and dust, lightly spray the patio with a hose with a light spray setting. You don't want to flood it, but you want to make sure all of the cracks have been covered. If you apply too harsh of water pressure, it will lift up the sand from in between the pavers and be a hot mess! Our water pressure got out of control at one point, and the some sand started to come out, so we quickly brought out the shop vac and blew the excess away before resuming the soaking.


10. Allow the sand to cure for 24 hours - Do not use the patio or stand on it until at least 24 hours have passed!


DIY PAVER PATIO | TIPS & HACKS

  • Order Pavers for Pick up. They will have less damage and the employees will help you load it in your car!

  • Choose a week where its not raining to start your project.

  • Use a Pick Mattock if your soil is hard, rocky, and dry. Don't fret! Just do your best to get it level.

  • When you use the Paverbase Panels, you only need to dig a couple of inches! Home Depot sells them individually in-store at $12, but if you order bulk online, they are cheaper.

  • The beauty about this is if you need to add MORE finishing sand you can repeat Steps 7-10 as often as you need. It will only protect the pavers more and keep them sturdy over the years.

  • If using a lot of furniture or the patio will have heavy foot traffic, I would recommend getting 2" thick pavers as they last longer.


 

I know Instagram can seem unrealistic at times. It is true that many times, behind every perfect picture, is a hot mess full of doubt, insecurity, and failure. HOWEVER, I try to be as transparent as possible by preparing you for everything, because I want you to try new things! Your capable of more than you think! When you finally reach that last step and realize you did it... take a minute to soak it all in and remember to be proud of yourself for getting this far. After all, that's what life is all about, right? Try your best, recognize failure, learn from your mistakes, be patient with yourself, and never quit! So be inspired and build the life that you want to see!

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