Patios are a simple and cost-effective way of transforming your garden into an outdoor oasis. Just the name “patio” conjures up images of gorgeous, sun-drenched days lounging in your garden.
And the simple concrete pavers or colorful tiles arranged in intricate patterns are sure to enhance your outdoor space.
What’s more, you can create and install even the grandest of patio designs by yourself!
Here, we take a look at a step-by-step guide to creating your dream patio.
How Do I Build a Patio Myself
Building your own patio isn’t difficult, but you must be ready to devote your energy and time into it.
You’ll haul plenty of gravel, dirt, stones, and pavers before you are done. If you have the luxury to work at a leisurely pace, you will have more time to make it a lovely and memorable patio.
Tools You’ll Need
Here’s a list of the tools and material you will need:
Once you’ve assembled the necessary tools and material, the first thing you need to do is:
Plan Your Patio
You need to first determine your needs and establish what you’ll be using the patio for.
If your patio is for entertaining, then you should consider building near the kitchen. If you want to sunbathe on the patio, then go for the section in your yard with the best sun exposure.
Other things you need to take into consideration include:
Ensure your planned patio is big enough to accommodate your outdoor furniture. Leave enough space to move the furniture around.
If you intend on using heavy objects like a grill or hot tub on your patio, make sure to use thick pavers.
Consider sightlines from windows and doors and how your patio might affect them. Your patio should feel like a natural extension to your house. If it is further away, it should still fit effortlessly into the landscape.
The Flow of Water
Low spots on your property tend to hold more water, and this might disturb the ground beneath your patio. Excessive moisture could also lead to weed growth and mildew.
Consider the electric, plumbing, and septic lines in your yard before breaking ground. You don’t want to have to dig up your beautiful patio, should they ever need repairs.
Once you’ve settled on a location, you should review applicable building and zoning laws in your area. Some homeowner’s associations will also have some regulations and restrictions.
In some areas, a permit might be mandatory as well.
Steps to Building Your Inexpensive Patio
Watch this video and follow the steps below:
Step 1: Prepare the Area
Outlining your DIY patio area is important in helping define its shape.
Lay stakes and string or a garden hose on the ground to map it out. Build a bigger patio than you originally intended to if you are undecided about the best size for your new space.
It’s easier to build a bigger patio from the get-go as opposed to adding to an existing stone patio at a later date.
Start by removing the soil and sod using a spade shovel. Dig out a 6-inch deep base and consider the thickness of the pavers. Use a rake to even out the ground level and tamp the soil.
Transport the excess soil using a wheelbarrow to a designated area or even along the foundation.
Step 2: Add Landscape Fabric
Use landscape fabric to line out the excavated area and ensure it is cut to fit. This helps prevent weeds from sprouting between paving stones.
It is not an essential part of the process but works as a great weed control method, and landscape fabric is easy to install and fairly inexpensive.
Thanks to its porous material, water can flow through the fabric and won’t pool when you need to water the patio.
Step 3: Make a Patio Base of Sand and Gravel
Make a gravel base by adding crushed stones, sand, or pea gravel to the freshly dug area. Spread it to create a 2-inch deep layer that covers the entire patio space. Then use a hand tamper or plate compactor to create a firm base and settle the gravel.
Next, add another 2 inches of gravel. Use a tamper or plate compactor again to give your DIY patio a smooth surface.
Step 4: Level the Patio Area
Start laying the pavers on one side of the patio. To make sure the surface is level, attach a spirit level to a straight longboard.
Moving the board across the gravel bed will help you check how even the surface is. Then make adjustments to the contour of the bed to ensure the surface is as level as possible.
Step 5: Add Sand for Support
To create a second layer of support beneath the paver patio, spread sand that’s 1½ to 2 inches thick over the gravel. Smoothen out the sand by laying a straight longboard along the base.
Use another board and notch both ends to shimmy it along the walk area, using the second board to make the surface smooth.
Step 6: Prepare the Pavers
One way to upgrade the look of your patio is to mix and match different sizes of pavers. Don’t worry, you can do this at no extra cost. In fact, you can cut costs by cutting some full-size pavers in half.
A commercial-grade brick cutter is heavy and difficult to move around, instead of renting this, you can go for a compact brick cutter that’s meant for smaller projects. You could also pay a rental supplier to cut some of the pavers for you.
This step also isn’t necessary to create an amazing patio from pavers, you can enjoy the symmetry your whole pavers create if they all fit the allocated space.
Step 7: Add Pavers to the Patio Area
Use the edge of your house as a guide when laying down the first line of pavers. You can also use a mason’s line between two stakes to keep the lines even.
Make sure your pavers are no more than ⅛ inches apart and use a rubber mallet to tap them in place. Repeat this step until your entire patio area is full of pavers.
When all the pavers have been put in place, spread a layer of sand over the patio. Use a push broom to sweep sand over the pavers until the cracks are filled.
Watering the surface with a fine mist encourages the sand to sink in well between the spaces.
Doing this after construction ensures a durable finish for your new patio. Repeat this cycle for a week.
What Is the Easiest DIY Patio?
Building a paver patio does not take a lot of skill. However, you will be much better off starting out with a simple design pattern like the jack-on-jack or running bond.
More advanced patterns, like say the herringbone or pinwheel might need you to cut the stones. And that requires a little more skill and specialized tools.
Brick pavers work quite well for an easy DIY patio when placed in straight or curvy patterns.
How Much Does a 12×12 Paver Patio Cost?
A paver patio typically costs between $8–$20 per square foot to install.
One way to get a free, accurate estimate of installing patios is to contact a local masonry contractor. Alternatively, check out our guide below. For this guide, we’re focusing on a cost-effective, non-tumbled standard paver (prices could vary based on project specifics).
|Brick||$17 per sq ft||$2448|
|Pavers||$15 per sq ft||$2160|
|Concrete||$12 per sq ft||$1728|
Check out this New Patio Cost Calculator to give you an estimation of the cost of your project.
Want to Know More About Patios?
There’s a lot more you can add to your patio, like furniture, lighting, and accessories to make it a fun place to entertain guests. You could add gazing balls, birdbaths, fountains, or bird feeders and heighten the ambiance of your garden.
Gardening Channel has numerous articles full of advice and tips to help you make the most of your backyard. We appreciate the value of creating or revamping beautiful areas in your home, even in seemingly limited spaces.
If you are curious about what more to do with your outdoor spaces, check out:
- Best types of gravel for patios
- Starting a garden on your patio or deck
- 5 stylish backyard gazebo plans