Paver Patios That Will Save You “TONS” Of Time And Effort

Paver Base Patios
Family Handyman

1 / 11

Easier Paver Patios

A traditional base for a paver or stone patio is a 6-in.-deep layer of compacted gravel. For a typical 10 x 12-ft. patio, that means carting away about 2-1/2 tons of soil, and hauling in the same amount of gravel. But there’s an easier way. Let plastic panels take the place of the gravel base. For that same patio, you would need only 24 paver base panels weighing a total of about 30 lbs. to replace the 2-1/2 tons of gravel.

Benefits of a panel base

2 / 11

Benefits of a Panel Base


3 / 11

Building with paver base panels

Paver Base Panel

Landscape Fabric

4 / 11

Five things you'll need: #1

The purpose of the landscape fabric is to prevent the sand from mixing in with the soil. But it’s important to use a nonwoven fabric. Woven landscape fabric isn’t very permeable and can act like a swimming pool liner, trapping water under your patio. Also look for fabric with at least a 20-year life span.

Sand as Paver Base

5 / 11

Five things you'll need: #2

You’ll need a layer of sand that’s an average depth of 3/4 in. Buy all-purpose or fill sand, not sandbox sand. It’s too fine. If you’re buying bags of sand, figure about one 50-lb. bag for every 8 sq. ft. of patio.

Paver Base Patios

6 / 11

Five things you'll need: #3

Divide the square footage of your patio by the square-foot coverage of each panel to determine the number of panels you’ll need. Add about 20 percent if your patio is an irregular shape.

Paver Edging

7 / 11

Five things you'll need: #4

You’ll need a way to hold the paver bricks in place along the edges of the patio. The most common and convenient method is to stake down plastic paver edging. The Gator brand sells special screws that allow you to attach the edging directly to the paver mats. You’ll find paver edging at home centers and landscape supply stores.

Paver Set

8 / 11

Five things you'll need: #5

Some manufacturers specify filling the joints between pavers with polymeric sand. This helps lock the pavers together and provides a maintenance-free joint that sheds water well. If you use polymeric sand in the joints, follow the installation instructions carefully to avoid discoloring the paver surface and to prevent problems.

Addition to five materials
Family Handyman

9 / 11

Remove the topsoil and install the sand

Skim off the top layer of grass and topsoil (about 3/4-inch) in the area where you plan on installing the pavers. Install the sand over the top soil and then screed it and tamp it to make the surface level.

Lay Panels on leveled sand
Family Handyman

10 / 11

Lay panels on leveled sand

Place the paver base panels over the sand, staggering them to avoid continuous seams.

Install the panel
Family Handyman

11 / 11

Install the pavers

Install the pavers as you would over a conventional gravel base. An advantage of this system is that the screeded sand is protected by the panels, so you’re unlikely to mess it up as you work.