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Patio Pavers for Do-It-Yourselfers

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ February 22, 2010

I love the look of brick or tile on the patio. There are some real artisans out there who create patterns that draw you into the backyard; move you gracefully around hardscaping and trellises, cook-tops and dining sets, fountains and statuary; or across a lawn to an outdoor shower. You need a designer's eye to create the right pattern, and the ability to create a gradient to help your pavers drain correctly.

Whether you work in meters or feet, the idea is to measure the length and width of the total area for your paver design and multiply them together to determine the total area in materials you need for the job. Throw in another five to ten percent of materials to ensure you have enough pavers given cutting, edging, or mis-cuts. They happen.

Use Restraint with Your Pavers

Layer pavers on sand bedding that slopes away from the house for adequate draining. A clay sub-base works really well, depending on drainage. You can mark off the perimeter of the path and reach of the pavers with string, wrapped firmly around stakes. Crushed limestone makes a good base, with the stone prepared with sharp edges and angles so it can be easily compacted. Be sure to lay out the pavers with an edge of restraints made of steel, aluminum, pre-cast concrete, or plastic.

Fine-grained sand works exceptionally well to fill joints and prep for sealing. Sand-binding sealers can prevent staining and molds. And it sets you up for pain-free maintenance and cleaning. According to Minerals Zone, you can also use PVC or treated wood to create a restraint line along the length of the pavers. The variables in the preparation and execution of the base and compaction make all the difference in the life span of your paving stones.

Great Landscaping Ideas suggests using flagstones or slabs in lieu of pavers. You can create your own slabs out of colored gravel to build your own design. You can set the slabs in mortar and grout with dry mortar mix. Or use topsoil and moss as a filler.

Interlocking pavers in cement or concrete are relatively easy to install and constrain movement of the stones without the use of mortar. You can buy them in sets with textures, colors, and geometric designs that work best for your landscaping. You still need to create a sub-grade, compacting base, and leveling bed.

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