DIY Guide on How to Lay Pavers
Pavers add value to your property by transforming un-used space into functional living areas such as entertainment areas, patios or walkways. While you do not need to be an expert to lay pavers, Landscaping Hobart has created this DIY Guide on How to Lay Pavers for those that have never done so before, or for those that need a refresher course. This step-by-step DIY Guide will teach you how to lay pavers on sand, dirt, soil and concrete.
Step 1: Plan the paved area
The first step in laying pavers is to select your pavers from a supplier and create a plan for the area being paved using graph paper. Island Block & Paving has a large selection of pavers from which you can select, including the Classic Bluestone & Sandstone Exposed Pavers and Plaza Stone Pavers featured below.
Do not forget:
that the paved area will need to have a gradient or slope to allow for water to run off the pavers to avoid damage by pooling water (refer to Step 3 below); and
to provide for storm water run-off or utilities that will be installed under the paved area, for example: water pipes for irrigation systems or electrical writing for outdoor power points.
Step 2: Inventory
The second step in laying pavers is to calculate the quantity of pavers needed for your paved area using the plan which you created in Step 1. Break up odd sized areas into squares, rectangles and triangles. The formula which you should use for:
squares is, Length x Length;
rectangles is, Length x Width; and
triangles is, (Base x Height) / 2.
The above formulae will give you the paved area in meters squared. Add 10% to this value in order to account for breakages and wastage caused by cuttings. Then, multiply the result by the paver coverage rate which can obtain from the paver supplier, noting that this paver coverage rate will vary depending on the shape and size of the paver which you select.
Step 3: Preparing the ground
The third step in laying pavers is to calculate the height that the pavers should not exceed by adding the height of the pavers to the height of the base layer and sand bedding (approximately 30mm). If the base layer is:
concrete, the base layer should be 75mm; or
sand, soil or dirt, the base layer should be 100 – 150mm.
You need to ensure that:
the paved area has a slope that allows water to drain away from buildings or structures - approximately 20mm per meter;
if the paving is against the side of a building or structure, the paving is placed at least 25mm below the damp proof course – never cover the damp proof course or air vents; and
if the paving is against the lawn, the paving is flush with the lawn.
You can use wooden stakes with string tied tightly between to outline the perimeter and slope. Excavate the ground according to the string line and compact using a compacting machine equipped with a mechanical plate. You can hire a compactor from Bunnings.
Step 4: Base layer
The fourth step in laying pavers is to cover the excavated ground with the base layer and rake to an even thickness. This will usually be well graded crushed rock which allows for easy compaction, because of the sharp edges and varying sized rock pieces and low moisture content. Ideally, lay the base layer in three layers, compacting each of those layers using a mechanical compactor. Remember that the base layer also needs to use the gradient indicated by the string line.
The height of the base layer depends on the intended use and sub-base. For example:
a soft clay sub-base will require a thicker base layer when compared to concrete; and
a paved area used as a driveway will require a thicker base layer when compared to a patio.
It is always best to check with the paving supplier or consult a suitably qualified engineer when laying pavers on driveways or unstable surfaces.
Step 5: Using edge restraints
The fifth step in laying pavers is to place edge restrains along the perimeter of the paved area. Edge restrains hold the paved area together and ensure that the pavers will not move or separate as a result of weather or traffic. These can be made of plastic, metal, or pre-cast concrete. While the most common method is for these edge restraints to be concealed (i.e. sit flush with the tops of the pavers), the edge restraint could also be raised. You can buy edge restaints from Bunings, for example the Brunnings 2m Paver Edge featured below.
Step 6: Preparing the sand bedding
The sixth step in laying pavers is to cover the compacted base layer with a layer of washed, coarse and well-graded and washed bedding sand (approximately 30mm). The pavers will settle into this layer and help protect any sand joints from erosion. You can cover the compacted base layer with a layer of bedding sand by using screeding rails and a screening board. You can calculate the amount of sand bedding required by using the following formula: paved area in metres squared x (30 mm) / 1000 = bedding sand in metres cubed.
Step 7: Laying the pavers
The seventh step in laying pavers is to place the pavers in the pattern design of your choosing. The most popular designs include, Herringbone, Basketweave and Stackbond. However, you should consider that some designs require more cutting than others. This is why most experts recommend beginners keep to the more simply designs such as Square, Sandstone Pattern and Euro Classic Athens. To lay the pavers, place them gently onto the sand bedding, leaving a gap of approximately 2-3mm between each paver (except where your pavers have space bumps incorporated into the design already). Use a mechanical saw with a diamond tipped blade to cut pavers to size – remember to use the appropriate personal protective equipment. Once you have placed all the pavers, use a compactor with a mechanical plate to compact the pavers into the sand bedding.
Step 8: Filling the joints with sand
The penultimate step in laying pavers is to sweep sand into the joints between the pavers such that the pavers will become locked into place. You can do this using a hard-bristled broom. Avoid using coarse sand for this step. The sand which you should use must be fine grain sand so that it is able to fall between the joints of your pavers. The general rule is that you will need 20kg of paving sand for every 30 meters squared of paving. Do not:
mix the sand with cement or you may stain your pavers; and
attempt to fill the joints with sand while the pavers are wet or the sand will turn into mud.
Featured above is an example of Brunnings 20kg Landscape Paver Sand which you can purchase from Bunnings to use for this step.
Step 9: Sealing your pavers
The final step in laying pavers is to protect your investment by sealing your pavers. Sealing your pavers means:
protection from grease, oil, grime and rust staining;
weeds will not grow between the joints of pavers; and
the sand between the joints will not be dislodged by wind or traffic.
Did you know that pavers can also be used in Xeriscaping to reduce the level of water consumed by your garden? Check out Landscaping Hobart’s Guide on the 7 Xeriscape Principles For Your Tasmanian Garden for more information on Xeriscaping. For those that have read this DIY Guide and have decided to consult with an expert, contact Landscaping Hobart by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or using the Quote page.