When you know how to lay pavers on a driveway or patio, you can save money and increase function and style.

How to Lay Pavers on a Driveway or Patio

Paver installation can be pricey, but if you do it yourself, you can get what you want for less.

How to Lay Pavers on a Driveway or Patio


Tools and Materials Needed

Before you can get started with a paver driveway, paver walkway or paver patio, you must have the necessary tools and materials to get the job done. The basic tools you'll need are a shovel, a garden rake and a hand tamper. In addition to the pavers themselves, you will also need paver base and leveling sand. It's a good idea to assemble all of your tools and materials before you get started so that you can complete the job from start to finish without having to stop and go to the store for additional items. Without these items you will not be able to find out how to lay pavers on a driveway or patio.

Tools and Materials Needed

Preliminary Planning for Paver Installation

Your first step before starting paver installation is to choose what pattern and stones you want. You could go basic with a brick pattern, or you could try a subway style or herringbone pattern. Your pattern may influence how many pavers you need to buy, so it's important to know how many you're going to need before you go to the home improvement store. Keep in mind that if you're new to using driveway pavers, a complicated or intricate design, such as a sunburst or pinwheel, will require more cutting and will be more challenging than a traditional brick pattern.

Preliminary Planning

Do the Measuring

Now you're going to need to measure the area that you want to cover with driveway pavers. Use a long tape measure and calculate the length and width of the space you're repaving. Then, multiply those numbers together to get the total square footage of materials you'll need. When you go to the home improvement store, the various style of pavers will usually tell you how many square feet each will cover, allowing you to figure out how many units of that style of paver you need for your project. Paving base and sand will also let you know how much square footage you can expect to cover with a certain amount of the material.

Consider Logistics

One important thing to consider when it comes to how to lay pavers on a driveway or patio is the coding in your city. Make sure you clear your project with the building management office before you get started. If you have a homeowner's association where you live, you may want to ask them before you invest in the project. If you're going to be placing heavy objects such as a car or patio furniture on the pavers, be sure to choose those that are thicker in width so they don't break or crumble with pressure. You'll also want to check for underground utilities before starting to dig.

Prepare the Area for a Paver Driveway, Patio or Walkway

Whether you're laying a paver driveway, a paver patio or a paver walkway, you'll want to prepare the area. Use batter boards and string to lay out the area, and then measure to make sure it's the size you want and that it's even and proportional. If you're making a patio, plan for a 1-inch drop every four feet, which will keep water from collecting on the patio but won't affect how it looks or feels. The slope should be very gradual. Now you'll use a shovel to dig down to the appropriate depth to allow your pavers to sit level with the area around the patio, driveway or walkway. Then, tamp down the soil to ensure a level surface all around.

Adding the Paver Base

Your next step will be adding the paver base. Most experts recommend a 6-inch base, so take that into consideration when you dig your space. Pour the paver base in 2- or 3-inch increments, then get it wet and tamp it down. Repeat this process until you have a fairly compact 6-inch base for your pavers. Next you'll fill the space with paver sand, then smooth it out so it's all level.

Laying the Pavers

Start laying the pavers in your desired pattern along the edges of the area. Use a string to make sure they are lined up and straight. Continue inward, working your way toward the middle of the space. Make sure to leave a uniform gap between the pavers. For a traditional pattern, a 1/4-inch space between pavers is a good choice. As you go, make sure the pavers are even. Adjust the sand underneath them as needed to keep the entire surface level. A straight edge will help you keep the pavers in straight lines if you need some assistance in that regard. Use edging to around the entire area to help hold the pavers in place. If you need to cut pavers to fit the corners, use a wet saw to get it just the right size.

Fill It All In

Now, you'll need to fill in the gaps between the pavers to keep the entire surface in place and create a permanent structure in your outdoor space. Sand is a viable option, but you may be better off with a jointing sand, which expands and adheres to itself when you wet it down. This creates a more sturdy and longer-lasting structure. Pour the sand on the pavers and use a broom to distribute it in the gaps. Tamp the sand down as you go. Use a leaf blower to remove excess sand, then lightly wet the sand and allow it cure for 24 hours. Now you will have learnt how to lay pavers on a driveway or patio.

Fill It All In