Create the outdoor space of your dreams with a DIY paver patio. Follow along as Laura and Aaron of Garden Answer install a paver patio from the ground up, with tips and tricks for installing your own at home!
Installing a Paver Patio and Fire Pit from the Ground Up!
My brother and sister-in-law have been dreaming of an outdoor space where they could enjoy summer evenings with their two sweet kids for the past few years. They’ve worked hard to create a nice landscape – even added a play area, but they were lacking a space to sit comfortably and watch the kids play. When I came across the RumbleStone collection of pavers and firepit kits, I knew that this would be a perfect fit for them!
Installing the Patio
Prep work first! The first step we took was to mark off the area and run lines from stakes set at each corner to make sure we were going to end up with a perfect 16’x16’ square. We used the 3, 4, 5 method to make sure we had 90 degree angles (from one corner, measure 3’ up one line and make a mark, then 4’ up the other line and make a mark, then when you measure across the square from one mark to the other, in the shape of a triangle, it should measure exactly 5’). We also used line levels to make sure we had a level point to work from.
Once done with those steps, we removed the sod with a sod cutter and straight edge shovels, and dug out the area to approximately 7 inches. I checked the area in several different spots with a 4’ level to make sure we had a level surface to start from.
Creating the Patio Base
Next, we created the patio base.
We started by spreading a thin layer of crushed gravel over the whole area then compacted it using a plate compactor. We repeated that step until we had a 4” compacted layer of gravel (slightly wetting each layer helped it to compact even better).
Then we laid 2- ½” pipes parallel each other, but a few feet apart, in one corner of the area and poured sand around them. Once we had a generous amount of sand, I took a 2×4 and using the pipes as my guide, pulled the board down the pipes, eventually creating a super even layer (we ended up with about 1” of sand). This process is called screeding. We had to add a little sand in any low spots that appeared, and screeded again until it was smooth. The pipes lifted out easily, and I was able to fill in the valleys created by them when I laid the pavers. We then lightly sprayed it down with water to help compact it.
Laying the Pavers
Once all the prep work was done and the base was laid, we installed paver edging along two sides, using the lines we originally set up as our guide. We chose the 10.5”x7” Pavestone RumbleStone Pavers in the color Greystone and decided to lay them in a simple running bond pattern. I laid the pavers starting in one corner, moving down the length of one side of the patio area. We occasionally used a 4’ level to make sure they were staying even, and we did have to cut a few of the pavers to fit the ends.
We used an angle grinder fitted with a 4 ½” diamond blade to cut through one side of the paver, then used a mallet to gently tap one side of the paver and it would break the paver in half.
Once all the pavers were placed, and all sides were secured with paver edging, we poured permasand over the surface of the patio and used a wide broom to sweep it into all the cracks. When we felt that all the cracks and crevices were adequately filled, we used a blower to gently remove any sand that was still on top of the pavers before spraying the whole patio down with the hose. When water makes contact with the permasand, the binding agent in it activates and it hardens, creating a really sturdy surface. We let it dry for 24 hours before installing the firepit.
The Square 38.5”x14” RumbleStone Fire Pit Kit No. 2 was a breeze to put together and was definitely the centerpiece of our project. We plan to make many family memories around it! First, we laid out the bottom pavers, then used construction adhesive to adhere the next two levels of pavers. We decided to center the fire pit in the middle of the patio to maximize the amount of seating we could get around it.
After the fire pit was done, we applied a low gloss patio patio sealer to the whole patio area and the firepit.
The finishing touches are always the most fun, they really cozy up a space and make it inviting. We picked out several pieces of wicker furniture from the Hampton Bay Beacon Park Collection and potted up several black containers with pretty plants to make the whole area pop! We wanted enough seating for family gatherings, and decided on a combination of the Hampton Bay Beacon Park Stationary Wicker Outdoor Lounge Chairs, Swivel Wicker Outdoor Lounge Chairs, and the Wicker Outdoor Loveseat.
This project was definitely a lot of hard work, but was also a fun experience. We enjoy the area even more knowing that we created it ourselves! The patio turned out to be a beautiful oasis in their garden.
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