How to Install and Maintain and Paver Patio

In this guide, we’ll go over the basics of installing and maintaining an outdoor patio made of permeable pavers.
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A paver patio is a great choice when deciding on your patio surface. Also commonly referred to as an interlock patio, paver patios consist of concrete pavers laid tightly together, and have special polymeric sand swept into the joints.

Pavers give your space a level of detail that concrete cannot, and that is why they are the best patio material and an easy patio flooring choice.

There are many great applications for pavers ranging from the backyard stone patio, to a paver porch, extending a patio with pavers, or a paver walkway on a slope.  Pavers can be used as landings between steps down to the patio, but we at Q&A Landscaping usually use large treads as the actual risers instead of patio paver steps.

There are many different patio paver designs one can consider when setting up their project.  The most common of the patio paver patterns is a 3 size paver laid with a random pattern and no long joint lines.

These are more of fake flagstone pavers that lay together tightly.  Frequently we will border these main 3 size pavers (the field) with a darker paver around the perimeter as a solider course.

Though not as common due to the increase in cost, you can also consider a stone patio using natural stone pavers for more of a natural patio. The outdoor stone patio installation process can require a concrete foundation depending on the stock thickness and application.

The beautiful variations in stone allow you to consider a large or small stone patio, or various other stone patio ideas. The advantage over a traditional flagstone pavers and rocks patio is that you do not have the loose rocks in between the joints or the need to pour a concrete footer if you wanted to grout the joints instead.

How big should a patio be?

It is important to think of the uses of the space and then the limitations of the area when considering patio sizes. The common items people are looking to set up are usually firepits, outdoor dining sets, and outdoor furniture.

At a minimum you will want around a 14’ wide circular or square patio for a round firepit that you are hoping to comfortably put chairs around.  A width of around the same 14’ or so is generally recommend for most dining table and chairs too, but you would want to add some length depending on the dining table size.


The limitations of the area such as slopes and associated access points may make you consider a patio with steps or a landing just outside the door(s).  A retaining wall above or below the patio is the best way to build a patio on a slope.

How much does is cost to build a patio?

The cost to build a patio in the Pittsburgh area is around $28-$35 per square foot depending on access and the final material selections. We build a lot of patios in the $12,000 to $16,000 range, but there are plenty of ones we have installed that have been over $50,000.

Is it cheaper to lay concrete or pavers?

Standard broom and edge finish concrete is cheaper than pavers most of the time depending on size and access.

How deep to dig for a patio

We dig out the top 9” or so above the final grade of the patio.  There is 6” of 2b limestone that is compacted as the base, then 1” of 1b limestone (smaller chips) that we screed perfectly even to lay the pavers on.  The pavers themselves are 2 3/8” thick.

How much slope for a patio

The optimal slope for a paver patio is 1-2% depending on the texture of the pavers. You want the water to roll off the patio away from the house.  Pavers with more texture require more slope.

How to level ground for a patio

When you are compacting your stone base for the patio it is important that you get the stone extremely level, especially on the final screen layer of 1b limestone chips that the pavers will sit directly on.

We check and adjust the levelness of our stone using a rotary laser level and traditional longer levels. Getting this layer of stone perfectly level ensures you do not have to do any additional patio leveling.

How to make a patio on grass

DON'T! There is no good way to lay pavers over the grass without removing the grass and properly compacting a stone base.  If you would like to have the look of a stone and grass patio you still need to remove all of the grass in the area to ensure a quality base.  Putting your patio directly on the grass is a guaranteed way to have to redo patio soon after.

How to clean a paver patio

The best way to clean a paver patio is to use a pressure washer with a rotating surface washer attachment. Evenly work your way across the surface and work all debris and sand off the patio.

Usually this needs done twice or to do some significant touch up. Once the pavers are COMPLETELY dry, you can sweep in a new polymeric sand. Be sure to follow the instructions on the polymeric sand you select and wet the sand in as instructed for it to firm up.

Maintaining a paver patio is essential for preserving its appearance, safety, and longevity. Regular maintenance tasks can maximize your outdoor space to the fullest while protecting your investment.

We recommend regular power washing to enrich brightness & prevent the growth of moss, algae, or mildew, which can make the surface slippery and hazardous when wet. Additionally, addressing any uneven areas or loose pavers reduces the risk of tripping or injury.

Patio tools

There are a ton of tools for paver installation that are needed to ensure an efficient and quality job. The most important item is a heavy duty plate compactor. The existing soil below the base and the new stone base need to be thoroughly compacted to avoid any settlement issues.

Another specialty tool for pavers is going to be a rotary laser level to get the area perfectly level.  If the area is really small and this is a DIY attempt it would be reasonable to try to substitute for a longer traditional level.

Is it cheaper to build your own patio?

While it may be cheaper to do it yourself, it depends on your level of handiness and your thoroughness if it is worth it long term. To prevent the risk of reinstallation and to give your hands and knees a rest, hire a professional.

And boom. You're done.

Q&A Landscaping can wrap up a project like this start to finish in no time flat. We install patios the right way, every time. When done by an experienced professional, your patio can last for years and years to come.

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Q&A Landscaping completes quality landscaping & hardscaping projects in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, PA.
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