Installing paver patio in backyard

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Old 05-03-16, 11:05 AM
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Question Installing paver patio in backyard

Hi,

I'm in the process of installing a paver patio in my backyard. I'm going to use 2 inch pavers, so I'm planning on using 4 inches of "quarry process (QP)" and 1 inch of "concrete sand/stone dust" for a total excavation depth of 7 inches. Would this be an accurate excavation depth for my backyard paver patio?

From researching online, I've read people going back and forth between using "stone dust" or "concrete sand" on top of my QP; what material should I be using?

Also, I've read that some people lay "landscape fabric (geo-textile)" under the QP; should I also add landscape fabric as well?

Thank you!
 
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Old 05-03-16, 11:43 AM
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Sorry, I don't know what the specific materials are you're referencing but the base layer needs to be compactible material (which is, of course, compacted) and then a 1" layer of bedding sand.

Ideally, you would then brush polymeric sand into the joints of the pavers once they are laid.
 
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Old 05-03-16, 12:45 PM
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Thank you for the quick reply!

Yes, the "quarry process (3/4-inch-or-less crushed stone)" will be the base and I will compact this.

However, I'm still up in the air if I should be using "concrete sand" or "stone dust" for my 1" layer of bedding?

Also, should I be using "landscape fabric (geo-textile)" underneath the quarry process?

Thanks again!
 
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Old 05-03-16, 01:09 PM
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Concrete sand is a washed sand without a lot of fines (no dust) in it. It is not meant to be "compacted" for structural purposes, but is a setting bed to provide a smooth surface after the "pavers" are subjected to final vibration with a plate compactor. A clean, sand is cast over the surface to fill the joints before final vibration.

Unfortunately, you did not provide any information on the paver size except the thickness, which indicates a lightly loaded surface and not a driveway or street. A true conventional paver is a "hand size" unit that has no surface dimension greater than 9" or 10" and is normally over 60 mm thick. Larger sizes would be categorized as "stepping stones" and require a different soil support because of the unit weakness.

Dick
 
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Old 05-03-16, 02:10 PM
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I've always used an inch of sand over the compacted base and set the pavers on that. It drains well and the particles are large enough that it doesn't settle or wash out after the pavers are laid and given their final compaction.

Your excavation depth will be a little less than 7" because when you compact the pavers on top of the sand, the pavers will be pushed down into the sand a little as the sand pushes up part way into the spaces between the pavers. This is what locks the pavers into place. I usually allow about 3/8 of inch for this depending on how critical it is your pavers end up at the specific height. If it's just a stand alone area it usually doesn't matter if it's a little high (usually better than a little low). If it adjoins another surface like a concrete walk, then you want the pavers to be about 1/2 above the walk when laid. They will settle in 1/4-3/8 when you compact the pavers, leaving them just a tad high, which is what you want. The whole deal will settle a little more over time. All these figures assume sand is used over the compacted base. I don't have any experience using stone dust but suspect it would behave differently. They also assume the base was properly compacted so that it doesn't compact further while you are compacting the pavers into the sand.

I recommend using geotextile fabric underneath the base for most soils, especially clay or highly organic soils. Usually not necessary (but won't hurt) on sandy/gravel soils. Geotextile looks a bit like landscape fabric but is heavier and stronger and comes in wider widths. Seams should be overlapped a foot or so, and the fabric should run up the sides as well as underneath. It gets trimmed off at ground level later. The geotextile keeps the base material from gradually sinking into the soil so helps prevent long term uneven settlement. It's especially important on patios that will support heavy traffic, but with 2" pavers and 4 inch base yours sounds like it's for foot traffic only. It's not that expensive and it's good insurance.

It's a good idea to compact the base in two lifts even though you are only using 4 inches; it's a lot easier to get the depth right and have a flat, level surface that way. Wet down the base material very well before you compact it. It lubricates the material and allows it to compact better. I also dampen (not soak) the sand after it is screeded to 1 inch and before laying the pavers.

Good luck with your project!
 
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Old 05-04-16, 10:33 AM
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Thank you for the informative and detailed replies!

I'm having the patio start up against my house and out into the backyard, I've read online that I should grade the slope downwards away from the house 1/4 inch for every foot.

So I have to have this slope in place at the soil level before I put in the "quarry process"; right? Then hopefully when I compact the "quarry process" the slope will still be accurate since I did this at the soil level?

Also, how many inches should I excavate outwards to leave enough room for my plastic paver edging?

Thank you, again!
 
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Old 05-04-16, 12:06 PM
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1/4" per foot is the minimum but it doesn't take much more than that before you start to feel the slope so I would shoot for that. Keep in mind that this is referring to the top of your compacted layer so if you planned to have that layer exactly evenly thick throughout, then yes, your dirt underneath should be sloped to that level as well.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 12:20 PM
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You want the base to extend a good 6 inches past the edges so the paver edging is solidly supported. You will find it helpful to drive some wood stakes (grade stakes) a foot or so outside the perimeter. You mark your desired grade plus some constant, like 6 inches, on each stake. Then as you can stretch mason's twine from stake to stake and measure down to the surface as you install the base so you end up with the desired depth and slope across the whole area. As SS said, you usually slope the base as desired so the sand can be uniform thickness over the whole area.

Unless it's a very large area, I usually don't bother to try to slope the hole; I just over dig a bit and get the base at the right slope. But you can do it either way.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 12:54 PM
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Nobody's mentioned it yet but in most conditions I would certainly recommend using the landscape fabric on top of the bare soil. Some soil types don't require it but I still use it just as a safety measure. It certainly won't do any harm in might prevent some problems down the road.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 01:23 PM
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I certainly failed to comment on the landscape fabric but agree I would use it or thick poly on the ground below the compacted layer.

To his credit, Paul did address this in one of his posts.
 
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Old 05-23-16, 09:41 AM
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Question

Hi,

Well I finally started the excavation process; slow and steady...haha. I think this will be the biggest pain.

Please see attached pictures, I noticed I'm running into some tree roots; I guess I will just have to cut these? I don't see any other way around this, I don't believe this will damage the tree because the 2 trees I have in the yard are massive.

Also, you might not be able to tell in the pictures but there is a slight slope down; which I guess is good for water runoff but I still want to keep it as level as possible. Should I just back fill some soil at the end where it slopes down to avoid a drop?

I was planning on going down 7 inches (4 inches gravel, 1 inch sand, 2 inches paver stones); but should I have the pavers sit a 1/4 inch above the grass? Overtime will the pavers settle down even further in the ground?

I'm thinking I shouldn't make the pavers even with the grass because if they settle over time they will fall below the grass line.

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Thank you!
 
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Old 05-23-16, 10:46 AM
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Yes, remove any tree roots you encounter.

Some slope is a good idea for drainage. 1/4" of fall per foot will get water moving and it not noticeable by most people. 1/2" per foot is enough slope that a technically minded or observant person will notice the slope.

Avoid doing any back filling with soil as it will be difficult for you to properly compact it. If you need to add fill use base material (crushed stone) and compact it as you would the rest of the base.

If you install the patio correctly there will be no settling so set it at the elevation you want. Proper base material, thickness and compaction is critical. I like to have the patio higher than the yard so water can flow off the patio unhindered.
 
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Old 05-23-16, 11:05 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply!

Ok, I'll remove the tree roots and also slope 1/4" per foot.

Below is picture of my friend's patio, I was thinking of also maybe putting the pavers above the grass but I don't know how this would look like when I put the edging around. It seems to work out better on my friend's patio since he used concrete/bricks.

Should I just stick with keeping the pavers even with my grass?

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Thank you!
 
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Old 05-23-16, 04:37 PM
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Unless you plan to change gears and mortar things in place, stick with about the same height as the grass.
 
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Old 05-23-16, 10:01 PM
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Ok, thank you; I'll stick with the same level of the grass.

Since I'm doing a decent size paver patio (16 x 22); what's the best method to make sure I excavated the middle area to the right 7 inch depth?

Should I just run more strings across the middle, make sure they are level, and then measure the middle with a tape measure?

Or I was also thinking of screwing and making an "L" shaped 2x4 with the short end being 7 inches and then putting the open end on top of the grass and making sure this is level when I put the short end in the middle of my foundation to test different areas?

Thank you, again!
 
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Old 05-24-16, 06:46 AM
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Here is a picture of my patio I did 5 or 6 years ago. It's difficult to say it's exact height above the lawn but the soil was left 1"+ below the top of the pavers. When the sod was installed the "firm" ground/grass ended up being about 1/2" below the top of the pavers while the grass blades are above the pavers surface. Over time dirt washing off the patio has built up the ground level at the edge of the patio so every couple years I have to dig out or pull some grass so it does not dam up water onto the patio.



I used a laser transit to set my elevations. They can be rented and are relatively (relative) inexpensive to buy but my be prohibitive for just one job. Do you have a extension ladder? Many are stiff enough to bridge across a good distance without significant sagging.
 
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Old 05-24-16, 09:04 AM
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Your paver patio looks great, nice work!

Ok, I think I will do the same and dig a depth where the pavers would end up being around 1" above the soil. This is good because I will still be able to hide the edging under ground.

Yes, that's a good idea; I can just try using my extension ladder, it should definitely have the length to go across the patio.
 
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Old 05-24-16, 09:23 AM
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If you're interested you can see a step by step of my patio paver install

https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resi...t=folder%2cJPG
 
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Old 05-24-16, 09:41 AM
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Thanks for the pictures, this is very helpful to see the whole process.

Good job on the patio, that tractor is one piece of equipment I wish I had for the excavation process but I guess it's slow and steady with the shovel...haha.

How did you measure the depth when you were excavating?

Thank you!
 
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Old 05-24-16, 09:54 AM
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You're going to find out that hand shoveling will be a back breaker. I was lucky to have a friend with a front end loader. You may want to contract that part out. I went down about 6" but it was tough even for the front end loader. The clay was so hard at one point he could not go any lower than about 4" at some spots.
 
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Old 05-24-16, 10:22 AM
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I also cheated and used diesel power when building my patio.

[IMG][/IMG]

You can also take your extension ladder apart and use one section as a really long screed when laying your base and sand layers. Even if you don't use it as a screed it's handy to lay down and show the low and high spots.
 
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Old 05-29-16, 06:22 PM
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Grass/Dirt = 1 | Out of Shape Guy: 0 (haha)

I'm thinking of renting a mini skid steer loader like the one on the following link:

Boxer 320 Mini Skid Loader Rental | Mini Skid Steer | Compact Power Equipment Rental

However, I'm not sure how good of a job this will do in helping me dig/excavate. I found the following Youtube video below of a guy doing it and it seems like it does a good job.

https://youtu.be/Ak4JMXX5uvg?t=15s

Do you guys think I would be able to dig/excavate successfully if I rented this Boxer 320?

If I do rent this, I'm guessing 1 day should be enough to dig/excavate the ground?

Thank you, again!
 
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Old 05-29-16, 06:41 PM
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I rented a dingo walk-behind when I did mine. If the ground is rock hard they don't dig very well; not that powerful and no teeth on the bucket. But if you can sink a spade in the ground with a good stomp it will manage. My patio was about 10x12; took a couple of hours to dig, and a lot of that was taking each bucket of dirt a ways away where I wanted the pile. If the ground is really hard you want a mini-excavator.

But where the dingo really came in handy was moving and placing the base, sand, and pavers since I couldn't have them delivered very close to the location. The weight of that stuff adds up really fast.
 
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Old 05-31-16, 03:48 PM
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@CarbideTipped What model Dingo did you rent?

I'm between renting a Boxer 320 or the Dingo TX427, the Dingo TX427 looks more powerful but I don't like that it doesn't have the platform that you can stand on...but if it gets the job done I guess the platform doesn't really matter.

Thank you!
 
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Old 05-31-16, 04:31 PM
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I don't think you'll be digging enough that the platform will matter much. The platform is nice because you don't have to worry about backing the machine up over your foot. But, standing on the platform you are bouncing and moving with the machine. It can cause you to move the control levers accidentally until you get a little more experience but you can have a similar issue with a no platform machine as it's moving independant of you.

How much a price difference is there between the two machines? Do both have the attachments that you will need?
 
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Old 05-31-16, 06:17 PM
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Pretty sure it was a 425 (this was a few years ago). I'd take power over platform any day for digging. If all you were doing was moving stuff around long distances, the platform is handy, but for digging you want weight and power.
 
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Old 05-31-16, 07:51 PM
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The Boxer 320 is a little cheaper, but I think I'll move forward with the Dingo TX427 since it's heavier and has a bigger engine.

Thanks!
 
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Old 06-01-16, 05:41 AM
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And I assume you've made provision to rent a plate compactor when the time comes.
 
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Old 06-01-16, 08:17 AM
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Yes, I'm just going to rent that through Home Depot once I get the rest of the materials delivered.
 
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