How to Install Pavers on Your Patio or Walkway
Lay out your project by marking the area using a tape measure, string line and stakes. Use a shovel to excavate the area so it will be 6 inches wider on all sides than the finished project size. Remove all organic matter from the area and excavate 6 inches deep for the base, 1 additional inch for screed, plus the thickness of your pavers (usually 2 ⅜ inch).
Fill project area up to 3 inches deep with ¼- or ¾-down gravel. Rake it so it’s level. Wet surface lightly with a hose. Compact the surface (run a vibratory compactor on top, or hand pack). Repeat process with remaining gravel, including wetting and packing. Check the levels. Make sure to allow for positive drainage and add gravel as needed. Compact again.
Temporarily lay two 1-inch pipes, parallel to each other and about 4 feet apart, on the compacted base. Spread 1 inch of paver sand over the base between the pipes. Level the sand by pulling a straight 2 x 4 across the pipes until the sand is smooth. Remove one pipe and fill the void with sand. Use a 2-foot level to achieve desired grade. Repeat. Use remaining pipe to set the grade for the next section.
Without walking on screed sand, start at a 90-degree corner. Lay random pavers to step on if necessary. If you’re using a border course, start with those first in a corner, then move on to pattern pavers. Step back, check your pattern, check for squareness and make adjustments. Check your work frequently. Lay as many pavers out as space will allow, then mark for cutting. Using a quick-cut saw, follow the marks and cut out waste paver material. Install the border course, if you’ve planned for one.
Place edge restraint around open sides of paving area. Push edger tight against pavers and install spikes in edger slots.
Run compactor lightly over pavers once. Folow a pattern so compacting is consistent and only done once. Spread sand over surface and sweep until joints are filled. Compact one more time. Resweep. If using polymeric sand, wet lightly with spray bottle then use mist setting on hose nozzle.
Finish project by backfilling with topsoil around edged areas.