D.I.dYke project – patio

The patio. It has been our plan to put in an outdoor entertaining area since we first moved into our house 2 years ago. Our home is quite small and having more than 4 adults eating together just doesn’t happen. So we always thought a big-ass patio was the way to go.

After researching several options, we settled on a raised paved area. Raised because we have issues with water pooling in the backyard after rain. Paved because concrete is expensive and putting in a deck was not feasible on our flat backyard.

After settling on the size and pavers, we got started 3 weekends ago. The first weekend was spent pegging out the project area and digging out all the turf. We went with a 6m x 6m area, which equals 36m2 of turf.

paved outdoor area pegged out

paved outdoor area

paved outdoor area

paved outdoor area

paved outdoor area

paved outdoor area frame

After the 3 day weekend the turf was out and the frame was laying in place but not yet secured.

Weekend two was a mammoth weekend of framing and hauling sand/gravel.

With the frame, I used brackets to secure the sides together. It was a good way to secure the frame without concrete or additional framing posts. As our yard slants slightly, I made the patio slant too, to allow for water run off.

Once it was in place and at the right angle, I moved 3m3 of sand into the middle. When the patio was half filled I used a plate compactor, or whacker-packer, to compress the sand and level it out a bit. Then my wife and I went around the edge of the frame and marked where the sand would need to come up to.

outdoor paved area

outdoor paved area frame

outdoor paved area

outdoor paved area - level sand with a compacter

outdoor paved area - level sand

Weekend three was spent hauling more sand, leveling the sand and then putting down pavers.

Once all the sand was in, I used a fence paling to even it out. It wasn’t an exact science and I just tried to go by sight.

To ensure the pavers looked even across such a large space, we used builders string to find the centre. This was also useful to ensure the levels at the centre were the same as the sides. They weren’t at first, so this was a good way to pick that up.

I tried to be quite precise with the centre pavers and the first several rows. These first pavers took about an hour to lay. But once they were right, the rest went down quite easily as we could follow the same line and levels.

After a couple of hours of paving, where my gorgeous wife and I got to work side-by-side, we lost the light.

paving outdoor patio first pavers laid

paved outdoor area

paved outdoor area

on weekend four, the last of the pavers went down (finally!) and then i spent about 3 hours trying to sweep grainy sand into the small spaces between the pavers. a word of advice – leave a 5mm space! it makes this part of the job SO much easier!

i roped in a little helper and was able to finish the border off with some coloured rocks we had left over from a previous project.

mama's little helper

paved outdoor patio - border of stones


paved outdoor patio - the finished product!


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