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Layout the patio using whole pavers to reduce cutting. Drive pegs and tie string between them (image 1). Use the house as the initial guide line for the height of the patio. Use an A-square to ensure that the area has 90-degree corners (image 2). Adjust pegs and lines if necessary.
Mark the edge of the area with a spade, cutting down into the grass (image 1). Once the patio is marked out, remove the string lines. Dig down to the required depth (image 2). Include slab depth, crushed stone, and mortar base in your calculations. The patio surface should be higher than the surrounding grass.
Cut treated lumber edging to the same depth as the excavations for the patio. Lay it in position around the edge and check that it is square (image 1). Adjust the lumber so that the patio slopes away from the house at a gradient of 1:50, using a gradient level (image 2).
Knock pegs into the ground at 3-feet intervals along the outside of the edging (image 1). Nail through the face of the edging lumber into the pegs to hold the edging in an upright position. Run string lines from pegs on one side to those opposite. Measure down from various points along the string line to the excavation base to check depth and gradient (image 2). Distribute crushed stone across the floor of the excavation to an approximate depth of 4 inches (image 3). Rake it level.
Compact the crushed stone using a rented plate compactor (image 4). Attach the string lines and measure to check the level of compacted stone across the site. Add and compact more stone where required to give a reasonably smooth surface that slopes very slightly away from the house.
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