Interlock straight-edged and key-shaped pavers that fit together like puzzle pieces in a rectangular outdoor patio design. This small patio plan is simple and quick, yet easily expanded. Laying pavers on a footing of gravel and sand keeps the patio level and promotes drainage.
Position and size the patio to complement existing yard features and walkways. Identify and mark obstacles and hazards such as electrical lines or other underground utilities to avoid as you dig the footer.
Mark the four right-angled corners of the patio footer with stakes. String mason’s line around the stakes to outline the perimeter. Measure between each pair of diagonally opposing corner stakes--the distances should be equal if the corners are square.
Use flat-bladed shovels to cut the sod two inches outside the mason’s line as allowance for retaining strips to keep the pavers stationary. Cut the interior sod into small rectangles for later reuse, sliding the shovel beneath for easy removal.
Excavate the entire patio area to seven inches to allow for gravel, sand and pavers. Measure from the bottom of a board spanning the footer to ensure the seven-inch depth at the sides and middle of the footer.
Line the footer with landscape fabric to stop weeds growing between the pavers. Fill the footer with 3 1/2 inches of gravel, then level and tamp it. Both fabric and gravel will allow rainwater to drain into the ground below.
Lay two lengths of 1-inch diameter electrical conduit on top of the gravel as screed rails and distribute a 1-inch layer of sand. Glide the edge of a two-by-four along the screed rails to ensure a uniform sand thickness.
Start at the patio's edge, fitting straight-edged border pieces along the perimeter and key-shaped field stones in the interior in an alternating pattern. Remove the screed rails, fill the groove with sand and smooth with a wide putty knife.
Place special L-shaped edging around the patio perimeter to prevent the pavers from migrating. Drive in spikes to hold the edging, placing one at every fourth hole in the ready-made edging.
Add more sand to the surface of the patio and work the sand into the crevices and tiny gaps between the pavers with a stiff-bristled broom.
Adjust your garden hose to a fine spray and wet the surface, washing the sand down into the joints. This final layer of sand will stabilize the pavers to minimize shifting.