Imagine stepping outside into your own backyard oasis. As you walk across the smooth stone pathway, running your fingers along the natural ridges of the sandstone pavers, you feel a sense of harmony with nature.
The earthy tones of the patio made from porcelain pavers contrast beautifully with the vibrant purple and yellow cushions on the wicker outdoor furniture. You smell the savory aromas drifting from the outdoor kitchen where your partner flips grass-fed burgers on the grill. A cool breeze rustles the leaves of the potted plants dotting the perimeter of the patio. This could be your backyard transformed into an outdoor living space perfect for relaxing and entertaining.
Planning Your Paver Project
More and more people are paving over their yards for practical purposes. The first step in any paver project is determining your needs and goals for transforming the space. Do you want to build a patio for alfresco dining? Connect the driveway to the backyard with a walkway? Resurface your pool deck? Establish a functional purpose then consider the paver materials and design options that can bring your vision to life. The scope of the project will depend on your budget and how much of the yard you want to makeover. For example, a patio alone provides a nice focal point while also allowing room for plant beds, trees, and a lawn area. Paving the entire backyard maximizes usable square footage but removes green space.
When planning, also consider practical factors like:
Drainage – ensure proper grading for water runoff
Accessibility – entry/exit points and impacts on planting beds
Base preparation – excavating and compacted gravel base
Maintenance – cleaning requirements based on materials
DIY or professional install – cost and skill level needed
Get creative with shapes and patterns but ensure the design aligns with the proportions of your yard. The right layout can make the space feel larger. Curves, edges, and borders add visual interest. Mixing paver shapes and colors creates contrast within a cohesive overall design. Indian Sandstone paving, herringbone and basket weave patterns add aesthetic appeal to patios and walkways. Your contractor can help translate your paver ideas into a functional plan customized for your property.
Preparing the Base
Proper base preparation sets the stage for a long lasting paver installation. The gravel base provides a stable foundation to prevent settling and weed growth. 4-6 inches of crushed stone like road base or #57 granite chips are ideal. The excavated area should be graded with a slight slope (1/8 inch per foot) for proper drainage. Compact the gravel in 2 inch layers using a hand tamper or plate compactor. The finished base should be smooth and firm.
Some opt for a 2-4 inch layer of sand or dirt between the compacted gravel and the pavers. This provides a bedding layer for leveling and locking the pavers in place. Edge restraints like plastic edging, concrete, or landscape timbers contain the gravel and pavers in place. Weed barrier fabric can be added to prevent weeds but is not mandatory. Thorough base preparation is labor intensive but worth the effort for optimal structural integrity. Consider hiring a contractor with excavation equipment to prep the base if needed.
Choosing Your Pavers
Selecting paving stones can seem daunting initially with the many options available, but evaluating durability, weather resistance, texture, color, and cost makes the decision more manageable. Concrete and clay brick pavers offer affordability, shape options, and color dyes. Stone pavers like granite, limestone, and bluestone provide natural elegance but cost more. Porcelain pavers combine durability and style. Individual cobblestone pavers create old-world charm. For a classic, timeless patio, tumbled sandstone or flagstone in earth tones evokes a sense of harmony with nature with their scale, texture, and color variation.
When purchasing, calculate precisely how many pavers are needed based on the square footage to minimize excess. Having some extra on hand for repairs, mistakes, or future expansion is wise. Bring home sample paver colors and test fitting patterns before finalizing the order.
Once the base and pavers are ready, it’s time to put the design into action! Having the right tools and preparations done ahead makes installation much smoother. Use chalk lines snapped on the base to lay out the paver field in the chosen pattern. Adjust until the proportions and spacing look optimal. Place the pavers snugly along the chalk lines. Cut border and edge pavers to fit using a masonry saw or chisel.
Hammer the pavers with a rubber mallet to level and lock them in place on the bedding layer. Check for evenness with a straight 2×4. Sweep dry joint sand into the paver joints and spaces. Compact again to settle the sand down between the pavers. Spray off excess sand and sweep more into joints if needed to fill completely. Use a plate compactor on the final paver surface to further settle and lock pavers together. Seal pavers with a protective sealer according to manufacturer instructions.
Taking care to regularly check for evenness and proper joint alignment while working is important. Thorough compaction is crucial – going over the pavers several times with the plate compactor. The more effort put into proper installation now, the greater the long term durability and strength of the finished patio or walkway.
Caring for your Pavers
The maintenance needs of pavers varies. Porcelain pavers are nearly maintenance free while natural stone requires more sealing and cleaning. All pavers collect dirt in the joints over time. Yearly maintenance helps preserve the beauty of your paved outdoor space.
Sweep or blow debris from the paver surface and joints.
Inspect joints and refill with polymeric sand where needed.
Clean stains with a mild cleaner and rinse thoroughly.
Re-seal natural stone pavers every 1-2 years as needed.
Remove weeds growing in joints by hand or with a weed torch.
Make repairs promptly to prevent further damage.
Keep drainage paths cleared of debris to prevent water pooling.
Remove snow carefully without damaging the surface.
With proper installation and routine care, you’ll enjoy your perfectly paved outdoor sanctuary for decades to come! Upgrading to pavers provides immediate aesthetic impact plus durable performance that justifies the investment long-term.
Factoring in the Costs
What impacts the cost of a paver project includes the materials, labor, base preparation, size, and design complexity. Concrete is the most economical material, followed by clay pavers. Natural stone costs the most. DIY projects take longer but save on labor fees compared to hiring professionals who can complete faster. Excavating, backfilling, and compacting for the base adds expense. More square footage equals more pavers and base materials. Borders, curves, and custom traits also increase cost.
The national average cost to install a basic 400 square foot patio with concrete pavers is around $5,600. Expect to pay $7-12 per square foot for materials plus labor. Obtain quotes from multiple paver suppliers and landscape contractors to compare pricing. Also factor in costs for excavation equipment rentals, base materials, paver sealers and accessories. The investment pays dividends for years to come considering the value quality pavers add to a home’s outdoor living space. With house prices rising slowly, paving could be a good way to add value to your home.
Choosing a Contractor
Installing pavers yourself can be rewarding but is labor and time intensive. For large projects, hiring a professional paver installation contractor is advisable. Look for contractors who:
Specialize in paver installation – it’s their specialty service.
Have many years of experience and proven examples of their work.
Offer a warranty or guarantee on their work.
Handle excavation and drainage considerations.
Can provide references from past satisfied clients.
Have proper licensing and insurance.
Provide a detailed quote clearly outlining scope of work.
When comparing contractor bids, look for red flags like prices that seem too low or lack of specificity about the process. Don’t automatically choose the lowest bid – higher prices often reflect greater experience and higher quality materials. Meet with contractors in person and verify they have the proper equipment and personnel to complete the work correctly in a timely manner. Investing in a professional paver installation ensures your project meets codes and lasts for decades.
Adding the Finishing Touches
The possibilities for finishing touches don’t end once the pavers are installed. Green sandstone paving can be enhanced further by adding container gardens along the borders and corners softens the edges. Incorporating pathway lighting or spotlights creates ambiance for nighttime use. Delineating separate “rooms” within the space using planters, trellises, or garden structures adds interest. Installing a built-in bench, fire pit, or water feature as a focal point draws the eye. Displaying potted plants, yard art, wind chimes adds personality. Anchoring an outdoor rug in a main seating area provides softness underfoot. Hanging string lights above creates a magical ambiance for night gatherings.
Getting creative with final touches to infuse personality and design style makes the space unique. It also gives family and guests something new to discover and enjoy each time they visit the one-of-a-kind oasis.
Transforming your outdoor area into a relaxing, elegant sanctuary is easy with the durability and style of quality pavers and thoughtful design suited to your needs. Paying attention to proper base preparation, installation, and maintenance ensures your paved surfaces stand the test of time.
Pavers enable you to extend your home’s livable space outdoors and create an inviting area perfect for entertaining and enjoying nature. Investing in Indian sandstone or other quality pavers can upgrade your exterior into the backyard oasis you’ve been dreaming of.