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how to lay patio pavers on dirt

How to Lay Patio Pavers On Dirt in 8 Easy Steps

how to lay patio pavers on dirt

Laying patio pavers is one of the quickest and easiest ways to install outdoor flooring which you can do by yourself. It involves a little digging, some compacting, and planning your layout.  In this article, we will provide you with the instructions to outline the easiest way how to lay patio pavers on dirt.

In just a few days, you’ll have a gorgeous spot for outdoor entertaining or just enjoying your backyard in comfort.

What are Pavers?

Also known as paving stones, pavers refer to flat sections of bricks, concrete, or natural stone fitted together tightly to create a structure. Whether you plan to construct your walkway, driveway, or patio, you can never go wrong with pavers.

Pavers are fashionable as a DIY landscaping option due to their affordability. You can find a wide array of pavers at your local home improvement store. They are also pretty simple to lay down.

Safety Considerations

Moving large amounts of heavy materials can take a toll on your body. Use a wheelbarrow. When shovelling, lift from your legs, not your back. Keep in mind that base materials (crushed gravel) are heavier than dirt, so use only partial shovel loads.

Wear breathing protection. Frequently spray the area with water to keep the dust down.

List of Materials Required

  • Pavers 
  • Stakes 
  • Tape measure 
  • Shovel 
  • Work gloves 
  • Safety glasses 
  • Dirt/Fill dirt 
  • Rubber mallet 
  • Spade 
  • Stone dust
  • Hand compactor/ Tamper 
  • Bubble level 
  • Wood/Metal restraints 

Guide for Installing Patio Pavers on Dirt 

When installing pavers in your yard, you want to stick to a method to ensure you are not missing out on any key steps. Want to know how to lay patio pavers on dirt?

Create a Layout

Create a Layout

Start with identifying and laying out the area you want to lay pavers on. Note the square footage using a measuring tape. There should be enough space for them. Refine this layout by hammering in wood stakes and creating a design with a thin rope or twine. Make sure your lines are even, and use a carpenter’s square to get your corners just right. Then, paint an outline 8 inches beyond the staked area.

The area where you intend to lay pavers should have a slight slope so that water can run off of it. Pooling will eventually create pits in the base material, which further creates more pooling.

Gauge Your Slope’s Direction

The area where you intend to lay pavers should have a slight slope so that water can run off of it. You will need to gauge your slope and you can do this by using stakes and strings; mark the highest and the lowest areas.

The slab should always slope downwards away from the house for efficient water drainage. You should mark the stakes in relation to the decline of the slope.

This process gives you the general direction of the gradient.



The area you want to lay your pavers should be free of grass and any unwanted material such as rocks. Dig it up uniformly using a spade. You should dig deep enough to get rid of all the grass and its root system, so it does not grow back into the pavers later. 

The excavated area should also be deep enough to accommodate dirt and the entire height of your pavers. For the pavers to be flush with ground level, dig about 5 inches down to allow for 4 inches of base material, plus 1 inch of sand bedding, plus the 1-inch thickness of the pavers. You may need to transfer the soil or add some sand to create a slope.

Level the Paver base with Dirt

Level the Paver base with Dirt

When laying your patio pavers, you will want to ensure they align perfectly, which is only possible on levelled land.

For permanent installation of pavers, we recommend using gravel rather than dirt, because it has less moisture and makes compacting easy.

Regardless of the material you are using, spread it evenly and use a hand compactor or tamper to go over the area several times. The more the pounding force during tampering, the more stable your land becomes. A tool to help determine evenness is the bubble level. 

Lay Base Material

Transfer the base material to the patio area with the wheelbarrow and shovel after every two or three loads spread out the material with the shovel and a rake. Keep the material evenly across the area.
Smooth out the base material with the two-by-four. Finish by tamping it firmly down.

Add Wood/Metal Edge Restraints

Arrange wood or metal edge restraints around the inner edges of the compacted soil or dirt. Use 9-12 inch nail spikes to fasten them via the edging holes into the ground.

Lay the Patio Pavers

Lay the Patio Pavers

Begin laying the patio pavers from the border and move across. Lay the pavers according to the pattern of choice. Use a rubber mallet to embed the bricks into the dirt and secure them. Fix any irregular spaces using a hammer and a cold chisel to shape them to size. Proceed until the entire area gets filled.
Gently walk on freshly laid pavers to reach subsequent rows. Keep the pavers tight to each other, as wide joints lead to weeds between the pavers.

Fill the Joints

With the surface of the patio pavers dry, toss a few handfuls of the fine-grained sand on top. Sweep the sand across the surface so that the sand transfers into the joints between the pavers. When the pavers no longer move underfoot when you walk, the joints have enough sand. Sweep up excess sand, if there is any.

Wrap Up

Installing patio pavers on dirt is a cakewalk provided proper planning, measurement, and implementation is done. This is how to lay patio pavers on dirt works.

To get started, ensure you have all the materials for the job readily available.

Follow the easy DIY guide outlined above and give your outdoor area an aesthetic and pleasing look with added functionality.


How to lay patio pavers on dirt queries:

Can you lay pavers without a base?

Answer: The principle to remember is this: your pavers are only as stable as the base they’re sitting on. That’s why you’ll need to lay a substantial gravel base on top of your dirt. Use road base gravel so that you get the right mix of fine and coarse aggregates for the best compaction.

What dirt do you put under pavers?

Answer: Materials to put under pavers might include mortar, sand, bituminous material or pedestals.

Should I Lay Pavers on Sand or Mortar?

Answer: It will depend on several factors. The mortar set method is the most popular and is typically used in pedestrian or vehicular areas where a rigid system is required

How Does A Paver Block Laying Machine Work?

Answer: You can lay pavers semi-automatically with a paver block laying machine. The machine moves slowly over the dirt path. Paver blocks are placed over the top positions of the tapered frame.

The blocks move slowly to the bottom as the frame is tapered. The pavers will lay upon your dirt path as the machine slowly moves backwards. This is how the blocks are placed.

What Tool Can I Use To Waterproof Patio Pavers?

Answer: A battery-powered pail sprayer or standard pump sprayer are both recommended for sealing patio pavers. When working with a water-based sealer, use a traditional garden pump. If you’re working with a solvent-based sealer, a heavy-duty metal pump sprayer would be ideal.


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