Building a small paver patio is a challenging but potentially rewarding project that can be completed in a weekend with hard work. To build a low cost patio, choose the dry installation method, which uses sand and gravel or more expensive mortar. Brick pavers are relatively inexpensive and can either be purchased from landscaping supply stores or from builders who have excess supply and may be willing to sell you enough pavers for a 12-foot-by-12-foot patio at a discount.
Measure out the border for your building area and mark off the area with spray paint.
Call the utility company and ask if there are underground wires within the confines of your building area. The company will likely send someone out to ensure your building area is safe.
Purchase your pavers and other materials from a home improvement store, landscape supply store or local contractor who may have excess materials to get rid of. Check out online classified ad websites if you're looking to save even more money.
Dig out the whole area that you marked with spray paint, about six inches deep into the ground. Ensure the soil is flat and even before proceeding.
Line the inner border of the area with two-by-fours, which will serve as the border for your paver patio and will help ensure your tiles do not move in the future.
Add a three-inch layer of gravel into the bottom of the digging area.
Use a plate compactor to pack the gravel down tightly. You can rent a plate compactor from a home supply store for between $50 and $75.
Place a level on top of the gravel and ensure the slope is slightly away from your house. This will help you avoid future drainage problems.
Add a three-inch layer of sand over the gravel. Level out the sand with a rake.
Add the pavers on top of the sand, one at a time. Place the pavers flush against one another.
Once all pavers have been set, pour filler sand into the small cracks between each paver.
Use a broom to spread the filler sand thoroughly into the cracks and off the surface of the pavers.