How to Build a Paver Patio
Picking out the pavers I would say was the hardest part of this project. There were so many beautiful options at The Home Depot, from single pavers to block pavers. I decided to go with the Rockford Cotswold Mist Patio Stone pavers. These paving stones give me the look of several smaller bricks, but with the convenience of having to lay fewer pavers.
The paver patio and fire pit turned out beautifully. I’ve already enjoyed a night of fun, dinner and s’mores on the new patio, so there are no regrets in taking on this DIY project.
For the Paver Patio
For the Fire Pit
Step 1: Level the area for your paver patio
First, after measuring and laying out the 13 x 14 area, the area was dug out with a Bob Cat, also called a skid steer. Doing this by hand would have taken a lot longer; the area was dug down 8 to 9 ft. deep. You can rent a skid steer at The Home Depot, as well as other leveling equipment.
Step 2: Fill the area
Next you want to fill the area, only 6 in. deep with paver base or process (process is a type of rock mixture).
Step 3: Fill area with sand
After the stones have been tamped, you want to fill the area 1 in. deep with all-purpose sand. An associate at the Home Depot will be happy to point out the correct sand to use. The sand is made exactly for laying down patio pavers. Rake the sand to even it out as you go along. Tamp down the sand once it has all been raked out evenly. Again, tamping creates a level base.
Step 4: Lay the pavers
Now you want to start laying down your pavers.
Level the sand underneath as you go along. (We used a piece of wood to rake across the top of the sand). Lay the paving stones down in an even line, ensuring that you level along the way using a level.
Be sure to leave a quarter inch space between the pavers as you lay them down. You can use a rubber mallet to drive the pavers down into the sand so that they become more embedded. Next you want to tamp the rocks down to compress it. (A tamper can be rented at The Home Depot) This is necessary so that there is a level and flat support base for your pavers to rest.
Step 5: Pour polymeric sand
Once all the pavers have been laid down, you want to pour polymeric sand into the joints. This is like grouting a tile wall in your kitchen or bath.
There are various colors and types out there. Because we used gray stones, our polymeric sand was also gray. The lovely folks at The Home Depot can help you find the best one for your project.
Step 6: Brush off and hose
After all the excess polymeric sand has been brushed off, use a hose to lightly spray the entire patio.
Getting the polymeric sand in the cracks wet will allow it to expand and become a solid product vs. a sandy texture. DO NOT over water. You don’t want puddling of the water to happen as this will put too much water in the creases and the polymeric sand will not harden.
Step 7: Let it dry
The paver patio was nearly finished. We just had to let everything dry overnight before moving on to the building the fire pit.
To build the fire pit we picked out coordinating pavers that went well with the colors of the patio pavers. We used Rapid Set mortar mix to apply between each paver.
We started by applying a layer of mortar on the bottom of the first layer of pavers so they stuck to the patio. We did this all the way around. (Yes, that is a spatula in my hand LOL. We wanted to get the job started, so for 10 minutes we used two spatulas and then ran up the street to grab proper concrete trowels.)
Repeat the layering of mortar and brick until all the the pavers have been laid out.
Step 9: Line the inside of the fire pit
Don’t worry about the product being gooey or it looking not so perfect once it is applied. It will harden a bit and then become even harder once you light a fire in it for the first time.
We let this dry 48 hours before using it for the first time.
Before we got the first fire started, we put some of the broken pavers we had leftover (because pavers can crack as you are working on your project) at the bottom of the fire pit. We thought it would be a good barrier between the fire itself and the patio pavers.
Overall this paver patio and fire pit could easily be a two-weekend job, and we found it to be easy and fun to do.