Add 2.5 gallons of water to a wheel barrow using a 5-gallon bucket. It is important to measure the water accurately since this will impact the mortar consistency. Add a mark half way up the outside of the bucket using a black permanent marker for a more accurate reference point.
Add eight mounded shovelfuls of sand to the water in the wheel barrow. Small shovelfuls of sand will cause the finished mortar mix to be too sticky, which will adversely impact the installation of the pavers.
Add 1/2-bag of dry mortar mix to the wheel barrow. Measure the length of one bag of dry mortar using a tape measure, placing a mark at the half way mark. Place the bag on the edge of the wheel barrow without allowing the bag to touch the water. Break the bag at the half way mark on the bag using the sharp edge of your mixing hoe. Remove half of the bag and set it aside, and pour the other half into the wheel barrow.
Mix the contents in the wheel barrow using a mixing hoe. Pull the mix toward you in chopping motions, changing sides on the wheel barrow after you pull all of the ingredients to one side. After the mix loosens up a bit, you can begin pulling and pushing the mortar from the same side, however. Mix the ingredients to an oatmeal or pancake batter consistency. If the mortar is too dry and thick, add small amounts of water to loosen it up. If it is too wet, then add equal proportions of sand and dry mortar to thicken it up.
Allow the mortar to set for 15 minutes, and remix the contents with a hoe. The mortar will have stiffened up, so add a small amount of water to gain the oatmeal consistency once again.