Preparations for Building a Patio on a Slope

A shovel in soil.
  • 1-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-80
What You'll Need
Stone or brick

Building a patio is an easy home improvement project. Building one on a slope is made possible by building a level base. It may seem like a daunting task, however, it can be done in just a few simple steps. Here are the steps you will need to follow in order to level the area.

Step 1 - Preparing for the Construction

Before you begin, be sure to check the weather forecast. You will a need a couple of days of good weather to prepare the area for the patio installation, this is more crucial if you use mortar in the retaining wall installation process. Also, be sure you have all of the necessary tools before you begin. This project will go much faster if you have everything you need before you begin and do not have to stop working to locate needed equipment.

Decide where you would like to install the patio. You will also need to take into consideration the width and length of the patio. Use a chalk line to mark off the boundaries of the patio.

Step 2 - Excavating the Area

Use a spade and shovel to excavate six inches into the soil. Begin digging out the soil at the lowest part of the slope. You will need to dig more soil from the highest part of the slope so that the entire area will be level. Use a level to ensure that the area is flat and even.

Visit your local hardware store or rental shop and rent a tamper. Read the instructions provided by the manufacturer before you begin. Use the tamper to compact the soil. Lay a layer of gravel that is three inches deep over the compacted soil. This will be the base for your patio pavers. Use your tamper to compact the gravel. Again, use the level to be sure that the gravel is flat and even.

Step 3 - Building a Retaining Wall

A retaining wall will help to secure the patio. Construct a stone or brick wall around the edges at the lower part of the slope. Stack the materials one layer at a time. Continue stacking the stones or bricks until your wall is the same height as the highest part of the slope. If necessary, use mortar to secure the wall.

Step 4 - Laying the Sand

Cover the gravel area with enough sand to allow for a five inch depth from the top. This space is needed for the pavers or stones that you will use to create the patio flooring. Use your tamper to compact the sand so that it is flat and even.

Once the sand is compacted, you can install the patio flooring. There is an endless choice of pavers and stones that can be used. These materials are available in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. You will be able to create your own customized and unique patio floor. You can use books, the internet and your imagination to create the patio you want.