Installing A Paver Patio – Part 2

As promised, here is Part 2 of the post dealing with this new patio construction at a place which challenged us concerning the original soils and their ability to hold things in place for The Duration – which is how I view projects. Surfaces like driveways and patios, done right, should last longer than the homes they serve. Sure, I have overbuilt things before. But that error is one of caution and the results have spoken for themselves. This is the primary method of getting yet more work. A happy client is a beautiful thing.

And so it begins….We start at the house on the major portion, bearing in mind the stubbed up pipes and electrical paraphernalia and providing for those things by making precise cuts in the bricks. At this stage, we screed out the sand over our compacted base, then add pavers. It gets fairly simple from here on out, bearing in mind the pattern we select for laying them.

(click all images to enlarge)

The saw shown here gets ample use from this stage out. In a crew like ours – 3-4 guys – we generally have one guy dedicated to bringing the bricks around and placing them for the “layer” on the ground. Another will usually be cutting pavers in order to conform to our needs. Another – that is often me – will work ahead of this pack, preparing for the next round of laying.

Since I believe in curves in landscapes, naturally I make it harder on us. But my sense of things reflect a respect for Nature’s curving lines. I rarely make anything square.

Here is Jason cutting away and in the next picture, the reason for someone constantly cutting. The bricks used here come in very tight, straight rectangular shapes. We find that by making very exact straight cuts, we can usually induce a nice gentle curve out of the straight product.

Building our way out now…. We approach the outer edges. Note the cavern where the water feature will sit. We need a basin to hold water, needless to say, on top of which we will rest the bubble rock. But the pavers are still the focus at the moment.

Nearing the end of the line for the major portion of pavers, in order to finish, it will require the building of the water feature first. It is designed so that the edge of the feature itself will meet the pavers. Thus, we have now put i the liner, as the picture below illustrates. Next, we’ll fill the hole with rock and with supporting bricks and or rocks to place the actual bubble rock itself. Once that is adjusted and tweaked enough for the perfect fit, we will add the hardware – like the pumps and any underwater lighting we opt for. Only then will we consider finishing off the edge itself.

We get the rock in place – a nice big juicy 600 pounder which was quite an experience to bring inside – and begin the finishing cutting, then placing the edge restraints. We are getting closer. For those who wonder, the house in the distance is owned by a Casino Owner. He thanks us all for our contributions.

We complete an area of bricks which then allows us to begin planting and bringing in the new soil.

Rake some, add a bit of bark mulch…..

And spray on the sealer, which gives a mildly “wet” look and acts to preserve the color and finish.

In a year, the barren areas which seem so vast will be over run with the very plants you see here. It looks so bare, I admit, at this stage. Our job was to make her happy with it all, of course, but the plants are the easiest part of that. It’s the patio and its long term stability which was the goal. We made that happen, in spades.

13 thoughts on “Installing A Paver Patio – Part 2

  1. Thanks, TC. Here’s a fact – for the amount of money involved, I darn sure better know what I’m doing! 😉

  2. Great project, Steve! I like the curving edges–a nice detail that will present a friendly edge to the natural shapes of the plants. I’d love to see more images of this garden as your plants fill in and transform the space even more.

  3. James, it is almost a truism that I move to the next gig and forget about the last one. Now, I donlt even live in Reno any more, which is where this job took place. I’ll do what i can – I am due down there soon – and maybe get up to her place for pictures. I truly regret missing pictures of all my work. There are some really spectacular projects out there.

  4. Hi Steve
    The garden is looking wonderful, what talent you have, can’t wait to see the garden once those plants have rooted themselves and started to really grow and fill out its going to be amazing!!!!

  5. Kim, I’ll try and get some pictures this year. It actually came out pretty spectacularly. I had gone in last year to take pics and the battery went dead in my camera, lol. D’oh!

  6. Hi Steve:

    This looks great, but have a question for you. I’m currently getting ready to install my own paver patio. Started the project in early May by demo-ing the deck that was previously in my back yard – hopefully will be laying pavers this weekend but my question is whether or not the paver/gravel base is absolutely essential under the entire project. The reason I ask is because my house was built in the early 80s and the soil that was under my deck is very well compacted and (for the most part save for a few spots) is pretty level. What do you think? Paver base under the whole thing are can I get away with just using it to even out some spots?

    Thanks! And your work looks great!

  7. Well, only you know how compacted the base for the pavers is, but I have to feel I would be copping out by not advising to put in at least a few inches of it. Another angle is this: use washed or mortar sand instead. That way you can still compact it and only have one material to work with. I once faced a gig where I had a hole about 50 feet wide and 16 feet deep, totally full of water. The owner wanted pavers in there within a week!

    I backed truck load after truckload of washed sand to the edge and emptied them out. The trucks would show up about every 10-15 minutes and I’d push the sand into the hole with a bobcat.The sand dislocated the water, either pushing it out or soaking it up. By the afternoon, the hole was full and by the next day, we were working with it.In a week, the pavers were down and, as of today – 24 years later, nothing has ever moved.

    I would add a couple inches of sand and compact it, then out in your pavers if you feel it is solid underneath. It’s your place, after all, lol. Never underestimate the value of a good base, tho, Sean.

  8. Hey Steve,

    Hope all is well with you. Now that you don’t live here in Reno anymore, who would you recommend for some Water Feature repair? Got a small leak.

  9. Sent you a mail, Dave. Thanks. We’ll see if we can scratch Ken loose. I’m sure he’s gotten lazy. Oh wait – that’s not news!

  10. Steve:

    Nice project. Question, I’m installing about 800 sq ft of pavers in my front yard and just finished installing the base this past weekend. Next comes the sand and pavers. Since this is not my full time job and I can only do this job on the weekends, I don’t beleive I can finish all 800 sq ft in one weekend, how do you stop laying the pavers in the middle of the project? I’m worried about possibly raining and washing out some of the sand and then having to start over again. Any suggestions?

  11. Well, one can’t stop the rain, lol. My advice is not to worry about it. As you can imagine – especially with my projects in Vancouver, BC and in Portland, rain was simply a fact of life. You just deal with it. If rain is forecast, one piece of advice I CAN give is to make sure you don’t have places where the water will pool – and not just on the laying course, either. Bear in mind, you’re going to have to walk back and forth and mud is your enemy in paving. Tracking it in can make a mess. Otherwise, finish the base – that’s the most important part of all. Then screed ior level what you think you’ll get done, plus a little bit. Or heck – screed the whole thing. Leave some extra sand (clean) for finishing and the recommencement of the work, then simply add sand again when you get back to it, level it and finish that sucker up. Otherwise, it sounds like you have it covered, Rich. I’ll need a picture! email it!

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