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Information on how to build a paver patio,
walkway, or a retaining wall 

How to build a paver patio or pathway 

  STEP 1 - Site Preparation
Preparation & Excavation - Spray-paint a line 8 inches outside the outline of your walkway to act as a line for excavating. Strip away the sod at this point, so grass doesn't get in the way of the guide strings you’ll soon be setting up. Use the bottom of a door or a set of stairs abutting the area as the starting point for establishing the final height and slope of your patio or walkway. Your entire slab should slope away from the foundation at a rate of 1 inch every 4 to 8 feet.

Soil density and conditions may vary greatly, so be sure to remove any pockets of loose dirt or black soil.

  STEP 2 - Leveling for Drainage
Use stakes and guide strings to achieve the finished height and slope to maintain adequate rain runoff. Excavate 7-1/2 inches below these lines to provide for a 4-inch sub base (use class 5 or limestone)* , 1-inch of washed sand* base, and 2-1/2 inch pavers (4" + 1" + 2-1/2" = 7-1/2"). If the area is hilly, go back and forth between excavating, leveling and setting strings to get things right.

The first level (sub base) of material will bring the area up to a height 3-1/2 inches below your strings. It should be at least 4-inches deep in all places and extend 8 inches beyond the edge.

STEP 3 - Provide Weed Barrier
By replacing the loose soils now, you’ll be less apt to have uneven settling once the pavers are in place. Compact the sub base using a hand tamper or vibratory-plate compactor (not shown). Go over the area at least twice or until you are satisfied with sub base firmness.

Insuring this surface is level will make it easier for the sand base and pavers to follow


 STEP 4 - Spreading & Leveling
Ideally, the washed sand  should be about 1" inch thick, but it’s okay to be a bit thicker or even thinner in spots. Try to maintain a firm, flat surface for laying pavers. The idea will be to embed the pavers into the sand using a vibration process.

Next, use a 2×4 screed board or other straight edged piece to carefully level the sand over the compacted sub base material. Fill in low spaces and rake away excess sand as you drag your 2×4 board over the area. Shuffling the screed lightly from side to side as you move from the starting point to the end of the project area.



 STEP 5 - Install The Pavers
You should now be standing before an expanse of washed sand that’s flat and slightly sloped. Take down the guide strings used to determine height and slope and put up new stakes and strings to mark lines for your pavers pattern.

Start along your house or other long straight edge and begin laying down the border (pavers). A border isn’t essential, however adds a crisp finished look, especially along curves. Continue laying the rest of your pavers stopping to measure over to your string every few rows. This will help to keep your rows straight and even. Laying the rest of the pavers should go amazingly fast.

With all pavers cut and in place, vibrate the entire patio or walkway. Start at the outer edge and working inward using a circular motion. The vibrator will lock the pavers into the sand and help even up the surface. Now enjoy your beautiful new patio or walkway.



*we can supply you with the washed sand  
and gravel (class 5 or limestone) for the sub base

Call for more information 


How to Build a Retaining Wall

 STEP 1 - Leveling Pad
Leveling Pad Preparation - A Retaining Wall should be placed on a leveling pad of well-compacted gravel (class 5 or limestone)* or crushed rock  (3/4" washed rock)* approximately 6" thick and 24" wide. The first course of units should be embedded below grade approximately 1/10th of the exposed wall height. Excavate to lines and grades you’ve established for your wall, allowing for the leveling pad and unit embedment. Place and compact leveling pad material. It may be helpful to add a thin layer of sand (washed sand)* to create a uniform, level pad. 

 STEP 2 - Install Base Course
Install Base Course - Place units on prepared leveling pad. As you proceed, level each unit front to back, side to side, and with adjacent units. Leveling is critical at this stage, so take your time! Align straight wall sections using a string line or by sighting down the grooves on unit tops. If your wall has a corner, begin at the corner and work out from there.

 STEP 3 - Drainage - Backfill
Drainage, Aggregate and Backfill - First, place drainage aggregate (3/4-inch washed rock)* between and directly behind units at a minimum thickness of 12 inches. Drainage aggregate keeps water pressure from building up behind the face of the wall. Next, place soil backfill* directly behind drainage aggregate in layers no thicker than six inches. Compact the backfill, making sure it is neither too wet nor too dry. Generally, hand-operated vibratory-plate compactors can be used to achieve adequate compaction of granular soils - even on larger projects.

 STEP 4 - Successive Courses
Install Successive Courses - Stack units one course at a time. Set units back 3/4" and insert two VERSA-TUFF pins per unit in front holes of units so they fall into the rear slots of the units beneath. Tap pins with another pin and a mallet to properly set them. Place and compact drainage aggregate behind each course as it is completed.

If your wall is higher than four feet or shoulders significant loads, you will need to install geosynthetic soil reinforcement. As each course is laid, place soil reinforcement horizontally on top of compacted backfill and wall units. Geosynthetic layers should be placed about one inch from the front of wall units. Geosynthetics are usually stronger in one direction, so follow the geosynthetic manufacturer’s directions carefully. (may be available at Standard Brick, Adsco, Home Depot, or Menards)


 STEP 5 - Install Wall Caps
Install Wall Caps - After completing the top course of your wall, install manufacturer’s caps, either with a slight overhang (recommended), set back or flush with the wall face.