An outdoor patio is a great way to enjoy the fresh air, but spending months looking at a dull flat concrete patio surface can take away from that enjoyment. Paving stones provide an attractive, easy-to-install option to the traditional concrete slab patio. The process of creating a paved patio is no more difficult than pouring the traditional slab, but it does require a bit of extra planning.
Plan the shape and size of your patio. Plot your planned patio with pavement designs onto a piece of graph paper, complete with the measured dimensions.
Excavate the hole for your paver stones' foundation. Your hole should be deep enough to contain a gravel layer 4 inches in thickness covered by a sand layer of 2 inches. Your paver stones will rest atop these base layers so plan accordingly, depending on whether you want the pavers to be flush with the ground or raised slightly above ground level. When digging, use a level to create a slope of 1 inch for every 8 feet of patio, sloping away from the house foundation to provide adequate drainage. Compact the soil with the plate compactor to create a firm foundation for the base of the patio.
Place 4 inches of gravel into the bottom of the excavation. Use the compactor on the gravel layer, creating a firm base for the pavers and providing drainage for the patio.
Place the edge restraints around the edge of the hole to hold the paver stones in place. The edge restraints help to create the border of your patio, and prevent the pavers from moving around once they've been laid. Secure the edge restraints into place using 12-inch metal spikes.
Place a 2-inch layer of coarse sand on the gravel layer, using the compactor again to help firm up the patio base. Use a screed board dragged across the surface of the sand to smooth and level the sand.
Install the pavers in your desired pattern. Take the pavers from multiple bundles so that there's an even mix of colors throughout the surface. Work from the wall to the patio edge, placing the pavers snugly against each other. Cut pavers to fit where necessary using a circular saw equipped with a mason's blade. Use the compactor to set the pavers firmly into the sand bed.
Create the grout between your pavers by spreading sand across the new paved surface and then sweeping the sand into the joints between the stones. Run the compactor over the stones to vibrate the sand to the bottom of the joints, and then repeat the process until the joints are filled completely, making the paved surface solid.
Apply a concrete sealer to the pavers to protect them from staining and to highlight the colors in the stones.