There are so many great reasons to use pavers to transform an ordinary backyard space into a wonderful entertaining area: backyard pavers are attractive, easy to install, extremely durable, and require little in the way of maintenance.
But like any home improvement project, you’ll want to go in prepared. Whether you’re planning to do the backyard paver project yourself, or hire a landscaping or hardscaping professional to do it for you, here are a few tips to be mindful of.
1. Visualize the dream
Several manufacturers offer free online tools to help you choose the perfect backyard pavers and visualize your patio design. This allows you to experiment with different colors, textures and styles, and gives you an idea of what the patio will look upon completion.
Likewise, some manufacturers also offer the option for you to order 2D or 3D renderings for an even more realistic look at your future masterpiece. This usually involves working with a contractor within their authorized network. This will also help with estimation of materials, which can be a bit more complicated than calculating just square footage.
2. Order extra
Pavers come in a range of shapes, sizes and colors, at many price points, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a style within your budget. You can also mix and match different size pavers to upgrade a look. But don’t underestimate quantity. It’s a good idea to order some extra pavers. A few may need be cut to fit in the desired space. And pavers are heavy, so get them delivered.
3. Dig deep
You’ll need to dig about 8 to 10 inches into the dirt to prepare the section of the yard where you plan to lay your patio. If the soil is dry, give it some water the night before you dig to make the earth softer, and digging easier. Always dig out a larger area than needed, about 3 to 6 inches outside the area where the backyard pavers will be set. Clear out grass or roots.
Dial 811 and talk to your local utilities before you dig to make sure you’re clear of any cable, electrical or plumbing lines; they can come to your site and mark these areas. Also consider if you will need to run wires through your patio, perhaps for landscaping lighting or perhaps a water feature; incorporating a sleeve/pipe under the pavers will allow you to do this.
4. Lay a solid base
Proper base prep – selecting and installing the proper materials – is essential to prevent settling and shifting of pavers. It’s important that the base is done properly so that is remains strong when compacted and drains properly.
First, use woven separation fabric to cover the soil. This will help keep weeds from creeping up between the new pavers.
The paver base comes next – about 6 inches of crushed stone/aggregate. The base material should be extended beyond the planned boundaries of the pavers. Use (or rent) a tamper or plate compactor to pack in the paver base. You can also use a level to check how even the surface is.
At the same time, you’ll need to be sure the patio slopes away from your home to allow for proper drainage. You’ll need a quarter-inch of pitch for every two feet of space on the patio. If you aren’t sure about this aspect of the project, you may want to consult with a professional landscaper.
Next comes a 1-inch layer of sand – but make sure you use the proper type. Concrete sand, also called bedding sand, is the best choice; it is coarser than all-purpose or sandbox sand, as well as masonry and limestone varieties. Sand will interlock your pavers and will harden and stay in place for a long time.
5. Give yourself an edge
Make sure there’s an edge restraint around the perimeter of your backyard pavers to keep them from shifting and to give yourself some extra weed protection. These are usually made of metal, plastic or aluminum.
6. Place and cut the pavers
When it comes to laying the pavers, position them no more than 1/8 apart and tap into place with a rubber mallet. Nearly every backyard paver installation will require you to cut some of the pavers to get a perfect fit. You can do this with a masonry saw rented from your local home improvement store or trust this job to a landscaping contractor. If you’re considering using a contractor, take a look at their detailed work and the types of cuts they made in their previous work to get an idea of their skill.
Keep in mind that even if your color scheme is monochromatic, the hue, lightness or darkness may differ slightly from pallet to pallet. Mix pavers from several pallets to ensure even shade distribution, so you won’t see variations of hues. Don’t wait to empty one pallet to open the next one.
7. Fill in the cracks
Once your pavers are in place, seal the cracks between by appplying a shallow layer of sand. (Again, no playbox sand!) Use a push broom to spread this material over the pavers and into the spaces between them. You can remove the excess with a leaf blower.
8. Maintaining your backyard pavers
You might spend more money in the short term installing a paver patio, but you’ll spend far less in the long run when it comes to patio maintenance.
There isn’t much you’ll need to do to take care of your pavers, aside from occasional sweeping. A power washer can rid your patio of stains, although many paver manufacturers sell stain-resistant stones.
9. Keep some extra pieces on hand
Backyard pavers are durable. They can withstand harsh weather, changes in temperature and day-to-day foot traffic. But they aren’t unbreakable. They can crack or chip, which is why you should hang onto some extra pavers from your initial project to replace damaged pieces.
Are you searching for pavers or wall stone for your new patio? Pay a visit to Yardville Supply. We carry only the highest-quality pavers from brands such as Cambridge Pavingstones and Belgard. And if you’re not ready to install your new patio on your own, don’t worry. We’ll be happy to connect you with a contractor who can do the job.
Visit our 10,000-square-foot outdoor paver gallery, and our experts will help you plan your perfect outdoor living space.