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Paving Stones & Pavers

How to Lay Pavers

The first step is to excavate the area destined to become a walkway, driveway, patio or other paved outdoor section. This area should be 5 inches plus the paver thickness below your desired finished patio ht or grade. Figure 4" for crush run base, 1" sand bed plus paver size. The excavated area has to be a consistent 7" lower than finished grade, always make sure the clay area will drain freely, this will prevent wet areas underneath the patio.

The next step is to place a geo textile fabric over the excavated area. You should let fabric overhang by 8". Then pour a layer of crush run base 2" over the excavated area and spread it out evenly; using more to build up divots and less to keep high spots even. A tamping machine should be rented from a local rental store in order to compact all of the sand into a tight and level bed, ready to receive the pavers themselves. This step should be repeated until you have a 4" base. The reason we do it twice is because most tampers can only compact a 2" layer and achieve full compaction. You might need to use tools to get into corners and manually tamp these areas to achieve complete compaction.

Next step you will need several metal pipes that measure 1" diameter and aren’t warped. You will lay these across the width of your patio. Rake across the pipes leaving sand level with the pipes and no imperfections. Then remove pipes and fill in with sand in-between the pipes. Now you are ready to start laying pavers. Do not walk or step into your sand bed.

The selected pavers should then be placed in their desired final pattern over the sand bed. You can step on pavers laid if you stay 24" from edges until pavers have been locked in. The pavers won't be held together with mortar, but there should be a space between pavers which will be filled with a sand grout. The pavers will extend above the level of the ground slightly. A few passes with the tamping machine will push them down into the sand bed and in position.

Before tamping you will need to put your edging in place and spread a thin layer of sand across the entire patio. Sand should be sharp, irregular sand, or polymeric sand but I do not recommend silica sand. Like play sand, it seems to grow algae more than other sands. Spread sand over the top and sweep into the spaces between the pavers. This is the step that will keep the pavers interlocked and stable, as if two pieces of sandpaper were rubbed together. Then tamp pavers in crossing patterns to achieve 100% coverage from all directions. Repeat these steps until cracks are filled and compacted with sand.

Using this method, I guarantee your pavers will remain level and stable for years to come. Paver patios can be cleaned with a water hose. Don't use pressure directed into cracks to avoid removing sand from between individual pavers. Pavers will resist changes in temperature and other common stressors because of their "floating" design.

Dreamscape Landscape Company is ICPI certified in the paver design and installation process. Dreamscapes provides a lifetime warranty on all of our installed paver projects. Please sign up for a free consultation with one of our trained sales people. They will be more than happy to come to your house for a free estimate and show you a visual tutorial with digital design of your driveway or patio. We also have software available online that will show you a before and after of your house to aid in your final choice of colors and styles.