How to Build a Multi Level Patio
A patio allows you to enjoy your backyard without having to walk on wet or muddy grass. It also provides a stable base for a grill or patio furniture. If you have a hill in your backyard located close to the house, you can use this to your advantage by building a multi-level patio. In completing this project, you'll construct a retaining wall along the hill, with a patio on each side that is connected by a staircase.
Excavate a 12 inch deep trench along the base of the hill where you will build the retaining wall. Dig the trench wide enough to accommodate the width of the pavers and a 3-inch space along the front of the pavers to allow for backfilling and an 8-inch space along the back to allow for a drainage system to be installed.
Compact the soil in the trench by tamping it down and then fill the trench with 6 inches of crushed limestone. Tamp the limestone to firm up the base.
Lay the first course of paver stones into the trench. Begin by setting the first paver into the trench. Check that it's level in both directions. Tap it down with a rubber mallet if needed. Set the rest of the first course by using the first paver as a guide. When laying the pavers, leave a gap for the steps.
Slope the crushed limestone along the back edge of the pavers toward the side you want the water to drain. Don't slope it toward your house. Slope the limestone at a rate of 1 inch for every 100 feet of length.
Cover the limestone in the back of the trench with landscaping fabric and then pour an inch of drainage aggregate on top of it.
Cover the drain tile with landscaping fabric to help prevent it from clogging and then lay it into the trench behind the pavers. The drain tile is perforated pipe that collects water from behind the retaining wall.
Place the second course of pavers on top of the first course. Set the front edge of the pavers in the second row 3/4 inch behind the front of the pavers in the first row. Apply masonry adhesive between the two courses. Stagger the pavers by cutting a paver in half with a wet saw and using that on the ends.
Build a concrete form for the staircase out of sheets of 1/2-inch plywood. When completed, the form should resemble a staircase without the treads. The treads are the parts that you step on.
Set the form for the steps into the gap you left between the pavers and fill the form with concrete. Remove the form after the concrete has set for the time specified on the packaging.
Lay the third course of pavers and then excavate the hill to create an 8-inch gap between the back of the pavers and the front edge of the hill.
Fill the gap between the pavers and the hill with drainage aggregate and tamp it down.
Add more rows of pavers until you reach the top of the hill.
Excavate the ground for the patios and then cover the soil with landscaping fabric to stabilize the soil and prevent weeds from growing.
Fill the patio holes with 4 inches of gravel and tamp it down. Add an inch of sand to provide a base for the pavers.
Install edge restraints around the edges of the holes and then set the pavers into position on the sand. Run over the pavers with a mechanical plate compactor and sweep sand into the gaps between the pavers to help solidify them. Add sand-binding sealant to the pavers.
Finish the steps by using masonry adhesive to bind pavers to the concrete or with bricks and mortar.
- Contact your local zoning board to learn the building codes that you must follow and get any permits you need for construction.
- Call 811 before you begin the project to get your utility lines marked. You can be fined and forced to pay repair costs if you damage lines while digging.
- Wear safety goggles when using a saw and ear protection as well when using a wet saw.
- Tape measure
- Crushed limestone
- Concrete pavers
- Rubber mallet
- Landscaping fabric
- Drainage aggregate
- Drain tile
- Masonry adhesive
- Wet saw
- Safety goggles
- Ear protection
- 1/2-inch plywood
- Circular saw
- Edge restraints
- Mechanical plate compactor
- Sand-binding sealant