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Use a sod cutter or picks to remove sod from the patio area. A sod cutter cuts straight lines and works faster than removing the sod manually; they are available for rent. Always wear safety glasses and ear protection when working with a sod cutter.
Carefully measure the desired dimensions for the patio, marking the corners with metal stakes. Make sure the lines are straight. Run string between the stakes to outline the edge of the patio. The patio in this project measured about 240 square feet.
The pavers won't sit directly on the ground – they require a subsurface layer of rock, gravel and sand for proper drainage. If using pavers that are 2 inches thick – like the ones in this project – dig down six inches throughout the entire patio area to accommodate the pavers and subsurface. Shift soil as needed in the excavation to bring the entire area into level.
Spread a layer of crushed rock about 3/4 inch thick throughout the excavation until level. Use a compaction plate to pack down the rock till the pieces mesh together, creating a strong foundation for the pavers. Check the gravel layer for level, shifting and compacting material as needed. Always wear ear protection and use caution when working with a compaction plate. If you're not confident of your ability to control this powerful tool, work with a helper or call in a pro.
Spread a layer of smaller rock or decomposed granite over the gravel layer, about one inch thick. Use the plate compactor to compact the two rock layers.
Install paver border or plastic edging on the patio border, securing it into the gravel and ground with large metal stakes. The pavers will cover the bottom lip of the edging, concealing the stakes.
Spread an inch-thick layer of sand over the decomposed granite. Starting at one corner of the patio, begin placing pavers. Secure the pavers by striking them with a rubber mallet so they embed in the sand. The sand also acts as a leveler; if a paver sits too high or too low, shift the sand beneath it to adjust the height.
Spread a few wheelbarrows of sand over the completed paver patio. Use a large broom to brush sand into the cracks between pavers. Slowly run a plate compactor over the pavers.
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