How to Lay Patio Pavers in Florida
Laying a new patio can offer a fresh look around the outside of your home, but it won't happen overnight. While it takes time to dig and install patios, you may need to work a bit harder if you live in Florida where your soil will be sandier than other areas of the country. As long as you dig deeper than traditional instructions, you should be able to lay patio pavers in Florida without trouble and have the main job done in a day or two.
Measure the area you intend to turn into a patio. Mark off the area's perimeter with a line of flour or by driving stakes into the corners of the patio area. Remove the sod layer from the ground inside the area you marked, using a shovel.
Dig the patio area 8 inches deep. If your soil is mostly sand, then dig to 10 inches deep. Smooth the bottom of the area flat with your shovel head when you reach the right depth.
Add 4 inches of gravel to the entire bottom of the patio area. If you dug down 10 inches deep, add 6 inches of gravel. Smooth out the gravel with your shovel to level it.
- Measure the area you intend to turn into a patio.
- Remove the sod layer from the ground inside the area you marked, using a shovel.
Spread landscaping fabric over the entire surface of the gravel and up the walls of the dug area. Place a few extra pieces of gravel over the fabric to hold it in place. Pour builder's sand over the fabric to 2 inches deep.
Drag an old 2-by-4-inch board, also called a screed board, over the surface of the sand to flatten and smooth it out. Work on your knees rather than your feet, if necessary, to smooth the sand. Check a few different points on the sand to ensure it is level, then add more sand as needed.
Place pavers on top of your sand starting in one corner and working your way toward the opposite corner, setting the pavers as close as possible as you go. Continue until all the pavers are set in place.
- Spread landscaping fabric over the entire surface of the gravel and up the walls of the dug area.
- Drag an old 2-by-4-inch board, also called a screed board, over the surface of the sand to flatten and smooth it out.
Spread an inch of sand over the pavers and sweep the sand into the cracks from one side of the patio to the other. Spray water over the pavers to settle the sand between pavers. Repeat this step twice more over the next week, then again any time your pavers seem unstable.
- Plan the layout of your patio pavers well in advance and don't change this plan once digging has begun. If the layout changes once the area has been dug then your pavers may not fit.
- Call 811 before you dig to ensure there aren't any underground utility lines running below your patio location.
- Take precautions to avoid heat exhaustion while digging by taking turns with someone else, taking regular water breaks, and heading inside during the worst heat of the day to protect yourself from the Florida sun.
- Tape measure
- Flour, or wooden stakes
- Landscaping fabric
- Builder's sand
- Old 2-by-4-inch board
- 2-inch thick pavers
- "New Complete Guide to Landscaping"; Better Homes and Gardens; 2002
- "Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening"; Carroll C. Calkins; 1993