• Tools Needed
  • Rental Equipment
  • Installation Instructions
    • Layout
    • Excavation
    • Base Preparation
    • Pave Edge
    • Sand Setting Bed
    • Laying the Pavers
    • The Final Steps

Tools Needed

  • Wooden Stakes
  • Chalk Line
  • ​Street Broom
  • ​Hard Tooth Garden Rake
  • ​6' - 8' 2"x4"
  • ​Flat Shovel
  • 3/4" OD screed guide (PVC pipe, wood, etc.) about 5' long
  • Mason's line
  • Wheelbarrow
  • ​Compactor
  • ​Measuring Tape
  • ​Small pry bar
  • 4' level​

Rental Equipment

A 3hp to 5hp vibratory plate compactor (not a jumping jack) should be used. Although you can achieve compaction without this equipment, it is recommended, as the quality of your patio is highly dependent on both compaction of base and pavers being set into the sand setting bed properly.

If you are planning a project where cuts will be necessary, you may also want to rent a concrete saw. Check your Yellow Pages under rental for current rental rates and availability.

Installation Instructions

1. Layout

First, measure the area you intend to pave. Determine square footage by multiplying (length x width = square footage), add 5% for breakage and cutting. Measure the lineal feet of open edges, those not up against a permanent structure such as a house, etc. This will indicate the lineal footage of Pave Edge, the plastic edge restraint, required.

Using the 3-4-5-triangle method to determine a line that is perpendicular to the house, measure parallel lines from the perpendicular line to establish a boundary. Stakes can be placed every 4 to 6 feet to outline your boundary. These stakes should be 8" outside of the planned edge of the pavers. You can check to make sure an area is square by making sure both sets of cross corners measure the exact same distance. It is important to maintain true 90-degree corners if you do not wish to make cuts. If you are planning a project with a radius or with shapes that are not rectangular, then paver cuts will have to be made.

2. Excavation

NOTE: Before any digging call your local utility companies to locate any underground lines.

Using a flat shovel cut evenly to remove sod/dirt to a depth that allows for a 2-3/8" paver, 3/4" layer of sand, and 3-6 inches of compacted 3/4" minus. On vehicular applications, more 3/4" minus may be needed. You may need to use a wheelbarrow to move excavated soil to another location.

3. Base Preparation

This step will be the most critical part of the installation. The more time and effort you put into the preparation of the base, the better the project will be and the longer it will last. The base material itself will consist of a crushed limestone rock called 3/4 minus. It contains rock from 3/4" in diameter all the way down to fine dust, and will provide excellent compaction. This is the time you will need to rent a plate compactor. First, run your compactor over the excavated soil. (Make sure no soil gets stuck to the bottom of the plate compactor). Each pass should overlap the previous one by about 4". Now spread your base material out evenly in 2-3" thick layers. If the base material is dry and dusty use a garden hose to give the material a light spray as this makes the base material faster to compact and easier to rake. Begin around the outer perimeter. Overlap each pass about 4" working towards the center. You should make at least two complete passes for each layer. Use your hard-tooth rake to rake out any unevenness. (Try spreading material with rake turned upside down).

When finished with base it should be very smooth and flat. If you were to put a straight edge flat on the surface, there should be no more than a 1/4" gap anywhere along the straight edge and the base.

Slope and Grade are important to ensure proper runoff. Plan at least a 1/4" per foot drop, away from your home, but try not to exceed 1/2" per foot.

4. Pave Edge

You are now ready to anchor in place your plastic Pave Edge restraint pieces. First, it is necessary to snap some chalk lines. The first chalk line should be up against, and parallel to the house foundation, with a length equal to your patios width. This is done in order to check for any unevenness in the foundation wall. Then by using the X measurement method, find the outside corners of the patio. This is accomplished by achieving the same distance from corner to corner and corner to corner in an X pattern. Mark these corners. Now snap your chalk lines to form your perimeter. Once again, check for square. Now install your pave edge along the three outside perimeter lines using the steel landscape spikes at two-foot intervals. Drive the spikes into this edging so that the chalk line remains visible. It may be necessary to cut and piece together the Pave Edge Pieces as they are provided in 10-foot lengths. Connectors are included with the Pave Edge to connect sections that are longer than ten feet.

5. Sand Setting Bed

Note: It is important to keep your sand dry. Always keep your sand covered in case of rain.

Do not attempt to level any area or surface irregularities with the sand. This will result in an uneven surface and unwanted settling.

Lay your screed guides (3/4" electrical conduit pipe or other suitable 3/4" guide) directly on the compacted base material in the center of the 10 foot section, running perpendicular from the house. Spread the sand starting from the center, nearest the house, directly on top of the screed rail, so that it stays in place, working away from the house and towards the perimeter. You will use your 6-8 ft. 2x4 to loosely spread the sand and to strike off any excess. Start against the house working towards you, pulling the screed board with a side to side motion over the screed rails. At the beginning, screed only an area which you can reach in order to lay a sufficient area of pavers so that you can have enough space to get on the pavers and work out from. Do not walk on your screeded sand. Then continue with screeding the remainder of the setting bed. Do not worry about voids that screed guides have left after you have removed them. You will lightly fill them with sand and trowel them smooth as you are laying the pavers.

6. Laying the Pavers

Starting from either corner near the house, lay your first paver moving with additional pavers towards the opposite side (moving left to right then right to left and so on, one row of pavers at a time. Work on top of the pavers, not in the sand. Set pavers lightly on the sand, NEVER press or hammer them into the sand bed. It is important to maintain straight lines in the pavers. To check for straight lines run a string from one end of the surface to the other over the laying edge of the pavers. Do this about every 3 feet or so. If there are some pavers lagging behind go back about three rows and using a small pry bar, wedge between the pavers and pry the pavers forward until they are in line again. Do not worry too much about the gaps at this point, they will even out during tamping later. Only set the pavers hand tight, and do not use a hammer to adjust the pavers or set them.

If you do not finish laying the pavers completely before the end of the day, cover the project that night if rain is expected.

If after laying the pavers you should need to adjust the Pave Edge slightly do so by pulling out the spikes with your pry bar, and then reinstalling.

7. The Final Steps

In this step, the pavers should settle in about 1/8" lower during compaction (only if loose screeded sand was used).

  1. Sweep off any debris or loose sand that may be on the pavers.
  2. Using a vibratory compactor you should make at least two passes over the pavers, starting around the perimeter and working inward overlapping each pass 2 to 4 inches. Make the second pass at a 45-degree angle to your first pass. The first pass of the compactor will accomplish the following:
    •  level all the pavers
    • compact the sand bedding course
    • force the sand up into the joints
  3. Make two more passes with plate compactor. Continue to sweep sand in joints with the sweep broom until the joints are full.
  4. Sweep off all excess sand and backfill edges with topsoil and seed or sod. Be sure to water regularly.
  5. If you desire the appearance to have a "wet look", a solvent based sealer can be roller applied to the application. Check your supplier for pricing and information on this sealer. The sealer will also help to contain the sand in the joints of the pavers.

Congratulations! You have now installed a maintenance free patio. Yours to enjoy for a long time to come.