If you’ve been following along with my DIY patio project on Lowe’s Instagram this week, we’re finally at the big reveal!! After a long weekend of sweaty work (ok, since I’m pregnant, I can’t really take credit for any of the heavy lifting), my husband and I were so thrilled with how this patio transformed our backyard! This project is totally doable for first-timers (we’re living proof) and has a huge impact on your home’s curb appeal.
If we’ve inspired you to start on your own backyard patio project, all the details on how to make a patio are below, and behind the scenes pics of our process are up on Lowe’s Instagram! For even more tips & tricks, check out this tutorial from Lowe’s Home Improvement.
Measure the area of the patio you’d like to create and calculate the total square footage. Draw your patio layout on a sheet of paper to determine the dimensions of the perimeter. Make sure you include a gap between each paver in your calculations. This gap can be anywhere from 1/8″ – 1 1/2″, depending on your preference (we planned for a ⅝” gap to match the grooves in the pavers we chose).
Order your supplies based on your patio dimensions. Order 5-10% more than you think you will need, in case of missing or broken pieces, or mistakes in estimating. For our 258 sq ft patio, we used:
-90 bags of sand
-100 bags of gravel
-4 (40lb) buckets of polymeric sand
Delivery is definitely worth it- our order came on 4 pallets! It’s way more stuff than you’d want to be hauling back and forth from the store.
Mark out the patio area with stakes and bright string. Dig out surface area of patio 5″-7″ deep. This is the longest and hardest part of the job so plan a full day for digging, especially if your yard turns out to be full of surprise tree roots and antique glass bottles like ours was! Recruit as many helpers as you can. This project took 3 people about 2 full days (not including landscaping).
If your patio is close to the house like ours is, you should make the surface slope ever-so-slightly away from the house, so that when it rains the water runs away from your house foundation. This means to give the patio a slight grade, about 1/4″ per 4ft, starting with the dug pit, and continuing with each layer of gravel, sand, and pavers.
Outline the patio with a 2×4” wood edging border. Make sure the top edge of the wood is at the grade desired for the patio so you can use it as a guide when filling the layers of gravel and sand. To keep the boards perfectly upright as you add material into the patio, nail small stakes spaced 2′-3′ apart around the outside edge of the wood border. Line the patio area with landscaping fabric to prevent weed growth.
Fill the patio area with a 1″-2″ layer of sand. Rake sand flat, then tamp down. The sand should be completely level with the top of the wood border. Use a level attached to a long board to make sure the surface is actually flat and at the right grade (sloping slightly away from the house). Screed surface of sand several times to create a nice flat surface.
Lay down paver stones, keeping a consistent gap between each one. We used a board that was the exact width needed for the gap to help us line up each paver as we went. Keep the pavers even with each other and at the right grade by checking with the level. Use rubber mallet to pound each paver into the sand base as you go.
Spread polymeric sand into all the cracks between the pavers using an outdoor broom. This sand is dusty so be sure to wear a mask while spreading it! Use the broom or a leaf blower to brush excess sand off of the tops of the stones.
Use a hose with a light shower setting to wet the entire patio. Don’t walk on the patio for at least 24 hours for the polymeric sand to cure and harden. Refer to label on sand container for curing times.