How to Lay a Square Paver Patio | Western Interlock
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How to Lay a Square Paver Patio

One of the most common hardscapes is the square or rectangular patio—and for a good reason! A square patio is one of the more straightforward paver projects to install. They create a stunning look for any area.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to lay a perfect square patio. First, you’ll need a few tools and materials. Here’s the shortlist of supplies we use in this tutorial. You can pick up any of these tools at one of our Oregon or Washington sales offices, or your local hardware store.

Tools:

  • Work gloves
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Tape measure
  • 24-inch level
  • Rubber mallet
  • Plate compactor
  • Pickaxe or mattock
  • Shovel
  • Garden rake
  • Concrete placer
  • Long, straight 2×4” board
  • Shop broom
  • Concrete trowel
  • Caulking glue
  • Caulking gun

Materials:

  • Marking paint (white)
  • Line level
  • Geo-textile
  • ¾” minus gravel
  • Washed concrete sand
  • 1” square (or round) metal tubing
  • Plastic edge restraint
  • 10” landscape spikes
  • Dry sweeping sand

1. Lay a proper base

First, prepare a gravel base. Create a square corner as close to your structure as possible using the 3-4-5 method. Next, set the grade at least ⅛” per linear foot away from the structure and excavate. Finally, lay gravel on top of your geotextile and compact it.

Gravel Bed Base

To learn more about the specifics of how to lay a proper base for your square patio, read or watch our DIY tutorial, How to Prep & Lay a Base for Pavers

2. Screed the sand bed

Now, place 1” metal rails on the gravel base. Distance the rails slightly closer together than the length of the screed board that you will use, so it spans the full width of the rails.

Spread Sand

Spread concrete sand over the screed rails and gravel base. Make sure to lay enough to have a 1” layer of sand.

Screed Sand Bed

Level the sand by running the screed board along the rails in the same direction as the grade.

Filling Voids

Next, remove the screed rails. Shovel additional sand over the affected areas and pull a shop broom along the sand-filled divot (with the bristles facing up) to fill the rails’ voids.

3. Lay your paving stones

If you removed your string lines to screed the sand, go ahead and string them back up. Doing so will help you place the first stone in-line with the corner of your space or structure if you’re lying around a building of any kind. 

Once you’ve laid your first stone, continue laying stones according to the pattern you’ve selected using the click-and-drop method.

First paving stone

In this project, we laid a Random Layout. What this means is that we placed the stones in any order, as long as they met these conditions. 

  1. At no point do four corners meet
  2. There are no continuous lines longer than 3’
Click and drop place a paver

There is more information about layouts and patterns in our article, How to Lay a Perfect Paver Pattern.

4. Install edge restraint

Because of the hardscape location, we built a short retaining wall to level the project area. We laid border stones on that wall instead of plastic snap-edge as we usually would on a dirt surface. 

To install a border on a retaining wall, use caulking glue on the walls top surface and the edge of the stones. Lay the border using the click-and-drop method, making sure the stones are level.

Border adhesive

Next, install the remaining border stones around the rest of the project.

Lay paving stone border

For the rest of the project, we used a snap-edge to restrain our patio. To lay snap-edge, wet the sand, scrape the sand away from the edge of the border, place the snap-edge tightly against the border stones and nail in every third hole using 10” spikes.

Cover edge restraint with sand or dirt

Make sure to cover the snap-edge with dirt or and to prevent the edge restraint from warping from the sun.

5. Sweep-in polymeric sand

Finally, ensure that the area is dry and free of debris. Sweep polymeric sand into the joints of the hardscape. Be generous with the amount of sand you use as joint lines can hold more sand than you think.

Sweep polymeric or concrete sand

Clear the patio of any remaining sand with a broom or leaf blower. Take a hose and spray down the hardscape. When the polymeric sand absorbs the water, it will create a bond between the stones.

Blow or clean paver patio surface

Now, your square patio is complete and ready to enjoy. 

Enjoy your beautiful square paver patio

Build a beautiful hardscape

Here at Western Interlock, we’re on a mission to take the hard out of hardscaping. That’s why we publish DIY tips, tricks, and step-by-step tutorials at DIYwithWI.com.

If you have any questions, you can visit our Paving Stone Display at our Manufacturing Facility in Rickreall, OR. Or, give us a call to our team of hardscape experts at 503-623-9084.


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