Laying a patio sometimes is a labor-intensive task. To make the work easier, create a patio using 16-by-16 pavers rather than bricks or small pavers. Large pavers are available in many colors, offering choices for creating borders or center designs by using alternating patterns.
Mark the exact dimensions of your patio with lengths of yarn strung between stakes in the ground. The length and the width of the patio area should be evenly divisible by 16 inches. Include in your calculations the aggregate inch count for spaces between pavers.
Clear the designated area of grass, stones and any other debris, and excavate to a depth of 4 inches. Make sure the patio area is level, scraping over any risen parts with the side of a 2 by 4, then checking again with the level until the whole area is even.
Insert 2-by-4 boards around the perimeter of the cleared patio area. Use a rubber mallet to knock the boards securely into place to form a framework for the patio.
Lay a line of pavers along the length and width of the patio area, ensuring an even fit in the demarcated area.
Spread a layer of 2 inches of gravel over the entire patio area and level it using a 2-by-4.
Spread a 1-inch layer of sand over the gravel and level it with a 2-by-4.
Place the pavers onto the sand, one row at a time, starting from one edge and working to the opposite edge. Use each newly laid paver as the platform from which to work as you lay the next paver so you don't disturb the leveled sand. Check after each row to ensure the pavers are level, tapping any higher pavers down with the rubber mallet and adding sand underneath pavers that are too low. Continue until you have placed all the pavers.
Press down on all the pavers with the tamper—a large, metal square attached to a rod—to further compress the surface beneath the pavers and secure them in place.
Pour generous amounts of sand over the paved area and work the sand into the spaces between the pavers with the heavy-duty broom. Spray the patio with water, using garden hose, to compress the sand into the cracks. Fill any holes with more sand, brush again with the broom and re-spray with the hose.