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How to Make a Slope for Water Runoff Using Pavers

By Ruth de Jauregui ; Updated September 21, 2017
Installing pavers that slope away from the foundation prevents water damage to this vintage 1950's home.

An essential aspect of homeownership is preventative maintenance. For example, if your home is not adequately protected from water, it may puddle next to your foundation. Among the issues you face with inadequate drainage are leaks in the basement, standing water under the house, damaged wood siding, termites and dry rot. Water that drips from the eaves may also cause gradual erosion of the soil, again causing puddles along the foundation. However, many of these issues can be resolved by installing a sloped paver patio or walkway to direct water away from the foundation.

Step 1

Examine the problem areas where water has puddled against your home's foundation. Lay a 2-by-4 board flat on the ground then set a carpenter's level on it. Note the angle of the soil and if it slopes toward or away from the foundation.

Step 2

Measure the area where the pavers will be installed. If you're using 12-by-12 inch pavers, the square footage of the patio or walkway will equal the number of pavers needed for the project. Always purchase a few extra pavers in case of breakage or changes in your building plan.

Step 3

Remove the vegetation and soil to a depth of 6 inches. Check the angle of your excavation regularly with the board and carpenter's level. The patio must slope away from the foundation and toward the garden bed, swale, drainage ditch or gutter. The minimum recommended drop is 1 inch for every 8 feet of paver surface.

Step 4

Add a 4-inch layer of crushed gravel to the patio bed. Tamp it down firmly with a plate compactor. Check the angle and add more gravel, as needed, to maintain the slope of the gravel base. Sprinkle the gravel with water and tamp it down firmly.

Step 5

Install a border of pressure-treated 2-by-6 boards. Measure out to the edge of the intended patio area and add an extra inch. Place the boards around the outer perimeter of the patio on top of the compacted gravel. Pound stakes into the ground every 3 feet along the outside edge of the border. Screw through the stakes and into the boards.

Step 6

Rake 3 inches of sand over the compacted gravel. Sprinkle the area with water and tamp it down firmly.

Step 7

Insert the first paver into the corner of your patio and butt it firmly against the house foundation and border. Continue laying pavers, butting the first row against the foundation. Add or remove sand, as necessary, to ensure that each paver is even with the last. Tap each paver into place with a rubber mallet.

Step 8

Install the remaining rows of pavers in your selected pattern. A running bond pattern is among the simplest to lay, and mistakes are less obvious than with other patterns. Basically, the pavers are placed in a row. The next row begins with a half paver, so the pavers are offset one half paver from the first row. The third row begins with a whole paver. This pattern continues across the patio. Purchase pre-made half pavers for the ends of alternating rows to avoid having to cut any pavers.

Step 9

Check the angle of the pavers frequently to ensure that the slope is maintained. When you install the final row, the bordering boards should be 1/4- to 1/2-inch lower than the paver tops. This allows the water to flow freely off of the patio into the garden or swale.

Step 10

Sweep coarse sand over the entire patio to fill in all cracks and crevices. Sprinkle the patio with water and add more sand as needed.

Step 11

Place splash blocks under gutters so that the water drains across the patio. Water always flows toward the lowest point; splash blocks keep the water from heading back toward the foundation.


Things You Will Need

  • 2-by-4 inch, 8-foot-long board
  • Carpenter's level
  • Tape measure
  • Shovel
  • Crushed gravel
  • Plate compactor
  • Garden hose
  • Pressure-treated 2-by-6-inch boards
  • Stakes
  • Drill with screwdriver bit
  • 1-inch deck screws
  • Coarse sand
  • Rubber mallet
  • Broom
  • Splash blocks

About the Author


With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, available as an ebook. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement and social issues.