Archive for Monday, April 9, 2012


Fix-It Chick: Lay a stone or brick patio for entertaining

April 9, 2012


Laying a stone or brick patio is hard work, but with a strong back and a good level, you can have the patio of your dreams.

  • Step 1: Draw up the plan on paper and calculate material needs. Start small; patios can be added to over time.
  • Step 2: Use nylon string and wooden stakes to mark out the proposed patio site. Set stakes and string out six inches from the actual planned edges to assure proper footing for the patio stones.
  • Step 3: Set a string line down the center of the work site at the desired height of the finished patio. Use a level and adjust the string height to create a slight pitch for water drainage; approximately 1/8 inch for every foot of length.
  • Step 4: Dig out the designated patio area to a depth of 8 inches.
  • Step 5: Fill the patio area 4 inches deep with screen fill, pea gravel or a similar material with particles ranging from dust to stones 3/4 inch in diameter.
  • Step 6: Lightly wet the patio area and use a tamper or plate compactor to compact the 4-inch fill as much as possible.
  • Step 7: Continue to add fill, wet and tamp until there is a solid base of fill 3 inches below the intended patio grade.
  • Step 8: Fill the graded patio area with approximately 2.5 inches of screened sand.
  • Step 9: Use a straight two-by-four to level the sand, keeping the 1/8 inch grade slope for drainage.
  • Step 10: For patios using uniform-sized pavers or brick, mark guide lines using chalk and string line. Beginning laying pavers along one border and work across row by row to the other side of the patio.
  • Step 11: For patios using multiple sized stones, lay the largest stones in several key spots and then add smaller stones to fill in open areas.
  • Step 12: Set each stone in place, using a rubber mallet to wedge stones together where necessary. Use a 4-foot level to assure the stone surfaces are aligned and flush with each other.
  • Step 13: Once all the stones are set, cover the patio with a layer of sand. Sweep and tamp sand into the joints, dampen with water and repeat until all the gaps are filled.

— Linda Cottin can be reached at


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