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How to Install a DIY Paver Patio the Easy Way!

Learn how to install an easy DIY paver patio on a budget!

We’ve been living in our new house for 2 years and the backyard had no outdoor living space, it was just all grass.

We decided to build a DIY paver patio so we could start enjoying our backyard!

Here is a before and after!

BEFORE:

backyard with grass before patio

And AFTER…keep in mind we are still not finished this project, just the patio! We have a lot of work left to do to transform this outdoor patio space!

budget friendly DIY paver patio with concrete pavers

DIY vs hiring out a paver patio

We did consider hiring this paver patio out, but for the look and large size we wanted, we knew it would have been very expensive and thousands of dollars more than DIYing it.

Another idea was to just hire out the installation of a concrete pad. But, again the estimate for that was going to be over $2,000 and that was just for solid concrete which doesn’t look as nice as pavers and would be likely to crack over time.

Note, this post contains some affiliate links. I may earn a commission if you shop those links (at no cost to you). Thank you for supporting my small business. For more info see my disclosures here.

DIY simple paver patio the easiest way

Brandon and I have never built a paver patio before and we wanted to keep this project as simple and easy as possible even though it is definitely one of our larger projects.

After lots of research, I discovered the Brock paver base panel which is a lightweight panel that replaces bag base material and most of the sand used in the traditional way of preparing project base.

The paver base panels made this project much easier and doable for us. It saved time and labor, which I think makes this the easiest way to install a DIY paver patio!

Here are the highlights from the Brock paver base panel product description:

  • Easier, faster, better way to build your paver project base and costs less
  • One light panel replaces 5 bags of base (200 pounds)
  • Less work digging and heavy lifting

Installation Directions

We followed the installation directions from Brock for a new patio which are very detailed and helpful. I highly recommend reading them over for specific details on using these panels.

As I said this was our first time installing a DIY paver patio so we learned a lot! I am going to share our experience, learning lessons, and how we installed them to hopefully help make this process even easier for you!

Tip: Get your pavers and materials delivered to your house!

easy diy paver patio

DIY paver patio cost

Our final paver patio size is about 13ft x 16ft (208 square feet). The total cost was about $1400, which means that the cost per square footage for our DIY paver patio cost is $6.73, which is a great value!

Obviously, the type of paver you choose will greatly impact the total cost. I would have loved to use a natural stone or brick pavers, but concrete is more affordable.

We decided to do this grey concrete paver in a basket-weave pattern to add interest.

I discovered this paver and pattern from Room For Tuesday’s paver patio when I was doing my research. I loved the final look and budget friendly cost of the paver.

Easy DIY Paver Patio

*Material quantities will vary based on your specific project size and needs*

Materials

Tools

1. Excavate and prepare the patio area

The first step is to determine the size and location of your patio.

Prep the future patio area by excavating it using a shovel, rake, etc. Make sure to excavate an extra 6-10 inches around the final size of your patio in case you need it.

excavation of patio area

As far as how much and how deep to excavate, check out the helpful chart on the installation directions from Brock.

For example, our pavers were 1 3/4″ thick, so we had to account for that plus 1/2″ leveling sand, plus 3/4″ for the paver base panels. This would mean we dig 3″ deep.

The instructions for the paver base panels from Brock are based on a mostly flat yard, but ours was far from flat.

Our yard was so sloped, we ended up having to add dirt in some areas rather than dig it away. More details on slope calculations in the next step.

The grade of our yard was more than the slope needed and we didn’t want to have a large drop off at our back door, so we only excavated about 1″ deep at the top and then used the excess dirt for the bottom to get our slope correct.

2. Determine the slope of the DIY paver patio

The slope should be about 1/4” per one foot of distance.

*Below I will explain how we did this step using our slope calculations as an example. Keep in mind that your slope may be much different than ours depending on the current slope or flatness of your yard*

Measure the length of the patio from the house and multiply by 0.25 to get the slope.

For example, our length was was 13.5 feet, so 13.5 x 0.25 = 3 3/8″ slope.

Determine the width of the patio that runs perpendicular to the house, which was 16 feet for us.

Place a wooden stake firmly in the ground at the corner of the house where the edge of the pavers will line up.

Measure from the ground up to account for the paver thickness, 1 3/4″, and the sand at 1/2″ to get 2 1/4″ and make a mark on the wooden stake.

Take a string line and tie it to the stake making sure the string wraps on the inside of the stake adjacent to the patio.

creating a string line to determine slope for paver patio

Now, we have to stake out the bottom of the patio.

Measure 13.5 ft down from the wall of the house (not the stake).

Use a wooden stake, a speed square, and your string to determine the bottom corner position, making sure it is as square as you can.

creating a string line to determine slope for paver patio

Insert the stake into the ground at that mark.

Attach the mini level to the string line.

See where on the wooden stake the string line is level, making sure that the string is taut when finding level.

Make a mark at that line, and then measure 3 3/8″ down (the slope calculated).

creating a string line with level to determine slope for paver patio
creating a string line with level to determine slope for DIY paver patio

Attach the string line to that mark and tie it off. You can measure 2 1/4″ down from this line to get a gauge on how much dirt you are going to need to fill it to. ***Keep in mind we are did this because our yard was too sloped, this may be the opposite for your yard if it is more flat!

The next outer corner will not have to account for the slope because it is the bottom of the patio and should run parallel to the house.

Measure over 16 ft and using a speed square and the string line, stake out the bottom corner.

Use the mini level to determine where to set the line and mark the line and attach the string.

creating a string line  to determine slope for paver patio

Mark out the last corner and square and stake it, you can also measure over to the first stake and it should be pretty close to 16 feet at the top and bottom.

Start at the top and mark 2 1/4″ above the ground on the stake.

creating a string line to determine slope for paver patio

Take the string line and run it from the the bottom stake and mark where it is level.

Then measure 3 3/8″ from the top of that line and tie your string.

creating a string line with level to determine slope for paver patio

After that you can run the line along the house to complete the outline of your patio.

creating a string line with level to determine slope for easy DIY paver patio

3. Level and compact base and dirt

Use a rake, shovel, and hand tamper to level and compact the dirt of your patio area making sure it’s as flat as possible and at an even height with your slope string line.

using a hand tamper to compact the dirt for diy simple paver patio

This will take some time and labor to get the ground level for the entire area!

using a hand tamper to compact the dirt for diy simple paver patio

4. Install landscape fabric

Install heavy duty, long lasting landscape fabric using landscape fabric pins and make sure the edges overlap by several inches.

The landscape fabric, also known as weed barrier, is used to keep the sand in, but it does also help keep weeds out at the same time!

landscape fabric applied to patio area

5. Apply leveling sand and screed for the DIY paver patio

In the direction of your slope, lay down two 1/2″ steel bars (also known as rebar) about 3 feet apart.

leveling sand and steel bars or rebar to create a level amount of sand

Apply the sand and then use a 2×4 and shovel to start screeding the sand level with the rebar.

leveling and screeding the sand with a 2x4 for DIY paver patio

Then, hand tamp it down flat. If needed, add more sand to low spots, and re-tamp. The goal is to have a level and compact sand surface that is 1/2″ tall.

hand tamping the leveling sand for easy diy paver patio

As you go, remove the rebar carefully and add sand and tamp down where the rebar left a mark.

Continue this process until complete.

leveling sand applied to paver patio area

6. Install paver base panels for the easy DIY paver patio

Time for the easy part! Install the paver base panels, making sure the side edges overlap each other.

laying the brock paver base panels over the sand for DIY paver patio

It’s best to lay them in a brick like pattern. So, when you get to the end of your first row, use a utility knife and cut the last panel to size.

laying the brock paver base panels for DIY paver patio

Then, take the leftover panel and start the second row with it. This will naturally create a brick like pattern.

It’s the same concept as applying DIY horizontal shiplap walls!!

laying the brock paver base panels for DIY paver patio

7. Install the patio pavers

Time to install the pavers for this DIY paver patio!

Use a string line again that runs square from the house to the end of your patio to make sure you are laying them down in a straight line and tight together.

starting to lay concrete pavers square to the house and string line

We chose to lay our pavers in a basketweave pattern but this isn’t necessary. In fact, it caused our pavers to have some slight gaps because two pavers together were not a perfect square.

But, I loved the look of the pattern so we went with it!

laying pavers for DIY paver patio in a basketweave pattern
installing the concrete pavers over the brock paver base panels for DIY paver patio

Use a rubber mallet if needed to keep the pavers in the straight line from the edge.

using a rubber mallet for installing the concrete pavers for DIY paver patio

240 concrete pavers later, our patio was starting to come together!

installing pavers for DIY paver patio

8. Install edge restraint and spikes

After the pavers are all installed, apply edge restraint with edge spikes around the pavers edges. These can go on top of the paver base panels.

The purpose is to hold the pavers in place over time.

applying edge restraint around paver patio

9. Apply polymeric sand with a broom

We bought our polymeric sand from Home Depot in a beige color. But, Lowe’s has a similar product. The colors are limited though at both places.

Work in sections and apply polymeric sand over the pavers and brush them into the gaps between the pavers with a push broom. This sand, once water is applied, will harden and help stabilize the patio even more.

applying polymeric sand to DIY paver patio with a push broom

You will likely need more than you think! We needed two large containers.

After the gaps are filled, lightly hand tamp down the pavers to vibrate the sand further down into the gaps. Then, brush more sand in until the gaps are filled.

Tip: Make sure to complete this when no rain is on the horizon because you want to make sure the pavers are totally cleaned off before they get wet.

10. Clean the pavers off and apply water

Brush excess sand away with a broom, then blow the rest off with a leaf blower. You don’t want any polymeric sand to remain on top of the pavers.

using a leaf blower to blow polymeric sand off of DIY paver patio

Follow the directions for your specific polymeric sand for water application.

We used a garden hose sprayer and lightly applied water to our pavers to harden the sand. We let it dry, then repeated again. You don’t want to apply too much water!

using a hose to wet polymeric sand on paver patio DIY

11. Finish off the edge around the DIY paver patio

Finally, finish off the paver edging around your DIY paver patio with whatever you want! We want grass up to the edge, so we used soil and grass seed. But, you can do a garden edge or rock or decorative stones/gravel.

budget friendly DIY paver patio with concrete pavers
easy diy paver patio

Learning Lessons

We love our new DIY paver patio, it was an exhausting DIY project but worth it for saving a lot of money and to have a dedicated outdoor living space now!

It’s not perfect, we made mistakes and learned a lot!

DIYers on DIY patio paver

Here are a few learning lessons to share:

Order extra material! We did order extra material initially, but last minute we decided to make our patio a little bigger which used up our extra material and pavers.

We also had some broken pavers that had to be replaced and it was a pain returning and buying new pavers, they are heavy to transport.

Also, several of the pavers had odd, white marks that did not come off even with pressure washing. We replaced some of these, but not all of them because it was so laborious to return and replace them.

Another benefit to ordering more than you need is that all of the pavers will be similar in size and color.

Because we had to get extra pavers, we picked up the same product at the store, but they were much lighter in color and a little different in size.

This caused the last few rows of our patio to look a little different. It bothers me a lot and it was our biggest mistake. But, I am hoping it won’t be too noticeable once all the furniture is on it!

Finally, consider renting a plate compactor to help with the flattening of the dirt. It would be so much easier and work better than a hand tamper.

We thought about this but were running out of time and wanted to save the money, so we didn’t. But, I think it would have turned out a little better if we did!

budget friendly DIY paver patio with concrete pavers

Besides our lessons learned, we love our new easy DIY paver patio and can’t wait to add our patio furniture and decor to it and enjoy this new outdoor space.

We have SO MANY fun ideas and DIY projects planned for it!

Follow along for my latest projects and sneak peaks on Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and Facebook!

Sharing is caring!

Carol

Tuesday 21st of May 2024

Your patio looks great! You will enjoy having this family friendly outdoor space for years to come. You always have such a positive attitude about what you learned from your projects.

Angela Marie Made

Wednesday 22nd of May 2024

Thank you so much! :)

Lisa

Sunday 28th of April 2024

In some pictures your patio looks a reddish color, and in others it looks the gray cement color, what's going on there? I would prefer the red brick color. Is there a way to paint the cement or pavers?

Angela Marie Made

Monday 29th of April 2024

We used the grey color, but they do come in red at Lowe's. The photos may appear a little different with the color since I took some photos in the morning and some in the evening. I've heard you can paint them but I do not have any experience doing that!

Jenny

Saturday 27th of April 2024

I think it turned out great! Well done! I may just show this to my husband and see about doing this as our summer project. As far as the color of your concrete pavers not matching, I saw paint tutorial I will send you.

Angela Marie Made

Monday 29th of April 2024

Thank you so much!! That's a great idea!