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Border for Paver Patio

I will be installing a 27' x 18' paver patio, adding onto and replacing my current 20' x 13' paver patio in the process. The old patio has large retaining wall blocks as its border. I'm planning on using similar blocks as the border to my new patio. My question is, can I dig a trench and set these blocks directly on the dirt (as I believe is the case with my current patio), or should the border also be on the bed of compacted gravel, as I have seen it recommended? Since they are thicker, they would be embedded into the ground. But is that enough to hold the pavers together, even if I also nail plastic edging around the perimeter of those retaining wall blocks?

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1113
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:10 pm
Location: Zone 8A Western Washington State

Re: Border for Paver Patio

Pavers typically need a bed of gravel and or sand under them. I have never installed them, however. A while ago, I installed river rocks around my shrubs. It looked beautiful. But the rocks sunk into the dirt and most of them are not even visible anymore. Pavers are about the size of my rocks. They need a base of gravel or sand to withstand freezes which will causes the moisture in the dirt to expand and then shrink and displace the stones. I don't want to go to all the work but so I don't have pavers. I installed a few pieces of marble slab, which I got fo free, and it is directly on the ground and doesn't sink. I think it works because the pieces are wide and heavy, so lots of surface area. I had a small concrete patio installed and it is directly on the dirt, no gravrl underneath. The dirt beneath it is very compact so it works. If the dirt had been newly installed and not compacted it would not work so well to have installed concrete directly on top of it. I hope this helps. I don't know your neighborhood, but over here some of the hardware stores offer free classes on installing pavers. It is best to do it right the first time so that you don't have to do it over.
ISFP "The Artist"

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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Border for Paver Patio

As Birdlover says pavers are usually set in sand. The ground should be excavated and tamped to reduce settling. You can create a soldier course around the edge or use some kind of edger board. I have clay so it really did not settle much, but you could use gravel if you need better drainage or you have more sinking issues. You would have to tamp it in otherwise you would still have the settling problem. It helps if you know the size of the pavers and how they will fit so you can size your area to reduce the number of cuts you have to make. Cover the area with landscape fabric. The sand layer is put on next leveled, watered and tamped. Paver sand is made especially for this. It helps to lock the bricks better if you use bricks that actually are made to lock together. When setting the bricks it is important to measure as you go to keep things level and if it rains a lot I pitched it so that it would drain away from the house. It was a drop of 1/4 inch per linear foot so it wasn't noticeable, but mine is only about 8 ft wide. When you are done, sweep sand over the top between the bricks. I used larger pieces of concrete pavers for my patio since it was easier to lay them and level them and I had fewer joints. I made a rectangular patio and sized it so that I did not have to make a lot of cuts. To make the cuts I rented a wet saw. I did leave gaps in my patio since I actually let the grass grow between them. It has been a plus minus thing to do since the grass does help keep the pavers in place, but it makes the patio bumpy .
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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