How to install a paver patio?
STEP #1, The base.
A proper base is the most important component of the project. Without a proper foundation you risk the possibility of settling. Remember, the pavers on top of the base can weight thousands of pounds so there is an incredible amount of weight that needs to be properly supported. I like a minimum of 6-8″ of road base for my sand and pavers. Remember, you need to tamp the road base (and I also like to wet it so it solidifies. Not to much water, just a quick dampening).
I like to use a minimum of 2″ of sand over the road base. The sand is spread, rakes out for rough grading and then tamped. Then using a bar or a piece of dimensional wood, you set the level of the sand. The pavers go onto this sand.
Step #3, The grade
Don’t forget to get the grade correct. You do not want to grade the sand towards your property or any structure or area you do not want water run off. The slope of the sand will determine the slope of the water run off. Sometimes the grade surrounding the paver project will not allow any sloping so a drain will have to be installed. Drainage is a bit more complicated and will not be discussed here.
Step #4, The Pavers
So you have figured out the type of paver you like, the square footage of your new paver project, the pattern you would like to create, the soldier course you would like and finally, what type of ‘shoe’ you would like and you are set to go;
- Pavers: There is hundred different types and styles available. See what is available locally and close! This stuff weighs alot so the closer, the better for your own expense.
- Square footage: Figuring out the square footage and asking your local building supply for an estimate of materials based on square footage will allow you to have an idea of costs before you proceed. You may be surprised or shocked at the cost of pavers but they are still the best product out there.
- Pattern: There is dozens of different common patternsavailable and then there is the option to provide custom design within any project. It is simply amazing what can be created using patio stoneSoldier Course: This is the glue to the complete project. After you have set the pavers, completed all of the cuttings and basically laid everything in place, you have to surround that creation with the ‘glue’. The’ glue’ can come in two different forms;
- A plastic paver edge specifically designed for this purpose. Popular and common you lay the plastic strip against the edge of the pavers and then, using spikes, you secure the plastic edging into place. Popular but not my preferred choice,
- A concrete edge. Hand made with concrete is my preferred choice. Less expensive than the plastic edging, this soldier course has provided superior holding ability and therefore there is more assurance your project will last.
Paver projects, done right, are labour intensive and the product is not cheap. But, in my opinion a properly completed paver project is simply the best bang for the buck.
Colin Eaton, Garden City Tree and Landscape Ltd, Victoria, B.C.