Definition of Terms:

  • patio height:
    Patio height includes the height of the patio stones plus 6" - 8" sand and gravel base foundation. This total depth should be slightly above the surrounding ground and slope away from the house foundation for proper drainage.

  • drainage:
    The direction of moisture or water movement when it collects on a flat surface. Always ensure drainage is channeled away from structure foundations.

  • slope or grade:
    The grade is the degree of rise or descent of a sloping surface.

  • excavate:
    To dig or shovel out the predetermined area for the leveling pad.

  • lines:
    Lines are made of cord, rope, wire, string or even chalk to mark the ground or surface of the area to be excavated or built around.

  • screed:
    To screed is to use a board or metal strip and dragg it across a freshly packed sand area or poured concrete slab to give it its proper level.


Materials Required:

  • gloves
  • level
  • tape measurer
  • mat knife
  • safety glasses
  • line (string or wire)
  • shovel
  • broom
  • tamper
  • hoe or rake
  • rubber mallet
  • landscaping spray paint
  • 3 ½" brick chisel
  • 3 lb. sledgehammer
  • 4 - 6 2' stakes
  • wet saw
  • crushed gravel
  • fine leveling sand
  • commercial landscape fabric
  • 8" - 10" landscape pins
  • aluminum edging
  • metal cutting shears
  • garden hose


General Installation Tips:

  • Gather all necessary materials and tools before beginning your project.

  • To maximize efficiency, coordinate a plan of placing your work materials within a reasonable distance from the project to reduce unnecessary trips and expending extra time and energy.

  • Keep in mind, when the paving stones are delivered, do not have the pallets set on your driveway because they are extremely heavy and can cause damage.

  • To accurately cut a paving stone, score a line around it with a 3 ½" brick chisel and a 3 lb. sledgehammer. Place the cutting edge of the chisel in the center of the score line and strike the chisel sharply with the sledgehammer.

  • Before starting your project, check with local building codes as they can vary. Alleviate unpleasant surprises later.

For more information or further installation instructions on any of our paving stone patios, walkways or driveways, please contact us.

Also, we can be of great assistance in determining the quantity of paving stones, crushed rock base or leveling sand necessary for your project. At St. Vrain Block, we have an extensive line of paving stone products with a wide variety of colors from which to choose.

Bring in the measurements of your project. Our experienced staff is available to assist you.

Each project presents unique characteristics and challenges. We have provided creative solutions with an extensive product line since 1946.

Installation Instructions

Paving Stone Patios | Walkway Pavers | Driveway Pavers

Installation Notes:

Paving Stone Patio installation is a very good investment in the value of property. A paving stone patio is also recommended because of low maintenance. The time and attention to detail in thorough planning upfront is extremely important and will cetrainly pay off later in the project.

Take accurate measurements:

Measure the width and length of the surface area. When taking measurements, always round up as it is better to overestimate the amount of paving stones needed than to find yourself near the end of a project and not having enough materials. Layout the area on graph paper to determine pattern preferences, border pavers and total area to be covered. Then using landscaper's spray paint, mark the area directly on the ground. This will give you the general layout of the patio and help to see any areas where utility lines may cause concern.

Call the utility company:

Before starting to dig or purchasing any materials, call your local utility company and request a 'one-call' service to mark the buried gas, water and electrical lines. Most utility companies usually provide this service at no charge, and the marked indicators will help you determine where not to dig. You can dial 811 from anywhere in the United States to request a utility service locate.

Calculate the quantity:

Once you have determined your patio design and the area of your patio, you will need to calculate the number of patio paving stones necessary to complete the project. Along with your estimate, calculate a 5% waste factor for most projects and if your project has more curves a 10% waste factor is normal. If you need assistance with this calculation, bring your design with your measurements in to the staff at St. Vrain Block. The experienced staff will recommend paving stones, present color combination choices and help determine quantities necessary for your project.

Determine the finished patio height:

It should be slightly above the surrounding ground so that water won't stand or puddle on the surface. Keep in mind, you will need to add the thickness of your paving stone and allow for an extra 6' to 8' base for your sand and gravel foundation. This will help insure the pavers do not shift over time. Also note, low lying and wet soils need a thicker base than well-drained soils, so allow for your soil type and particular circumstances when height is determined.

Consider the slope:

If your patio is attached to or close to your house, it is important to factor in guiding water runoff away from the home. For every two feet of linear distance, a quarter-inch drop will help keep your house foundation dry.

Give yourself easy markers:

To make your leveling headaches a little easier, set up spikes slightly beyond the perimeter of the patio. Mark the levels you will need to maintain to achieve your desired slope and depth. Accurate measurements early in the project will be helpful to determine important checkpoints later throughout the process. When it comes time to check the level of each step as you progress, you can tie a string or wire tightly across the project area to check your work. So careful measuring will pay off throughout the project.

Prepare a firm base:

Excavating the area establishes the base of the patio. Pack the soil firmly with a tamper to make it very tight. The surface of the base will have to be repacked after every new tier of soil, gravel and sand. It will help avoid loosening or cracking pavers later. Use a level throughout the project to keep the slope intact. This preparation of the base is the most important part of the paving stone patio installation. Any mistakes here could result in issues later on down the road such as uneven pave stones or dips in the surface of possibly even a compromise in the structural integrity of the project.

Protect from weed invasion:

Landscape fabric is important for more than just deterring ugly weeds. It also prevents the pavers from sagging and becoming uneven as it reinforces the area beneath the pavers. It contains the built in layers of sand and gravel while still allowing water to flow through the pavers and into the soil.

Use commercial grade landscape fabric:

If the patio area is larger than the width of a standard roll of commercial landscape fabric, make sure to overlap the sections 10 - 12" or generously to fill the area. It should extend up the height of all sides and at least 6" past the outside dig line. Final trimming can be done after the patio edging is in its final position. Secure the fabric with landscape pins in the overlapping areas and with 6 or 8" spikes along the outside edges and the corners.

Fill the patio area with gravel:

The entire patio area including the edging area should be filled with 4" of crushed gravel. Pack it in tightly and level it off making sure the slope is not compromised.

It is time for sand:

Fill the patio area with a layer of sand to fill in and all around the gravel. Using a hand tamper, for small patios or a power tamper for larger patios, smooth out the surface of the gravel/sand base. Then add about 2" of sand over the entire patio area. Pack this base and check the levels and slope.

Screed the sand surface:

To screed the sand surface may sound like over-kill, but it will ensure there are no high or low spots. It may take two people to pull a straight edge across the entire patio surface while stretched across the full patio width. A piece of aluminum, metal landscape edging or taught, firm wire may be used. Once the bedding sand has been screeded, do not walk on it or disturb it in any way.

Frame the patio with a tight edge:

Framing the edge of the patio can be done with many materials; aluminum edging, vinyl edging, bricks or a cement lip. Aluminum edging is recommended because it is flexible, lightweight and easy to use. It doesn't warp and can be positioned so as to barely show in the finished project. Another benefit is that if your patio is surrounded by grass, it can be a great grass barrier and the lawn mower won't shred it like vinyl edging. It also accommodates curved patio designs readily.

The art of edging lends a professional touch:

Lay out the edging along the perimeter of the patio and cut to length with metal shears. Be sure to wear heavy-duty work gloves for safety because the metal corners are very sharp. Secure the edging with 8 - 10" landscape pins or nails. You will need a sledgehammer, as the pins will go through sand, gravel, landscape fabric and compacted soil. It's important the pins are firmly in place.

Make the patio frame solid:

After the edging is in place, backfill it with decorative landscape rock or soil if it is adjacent to the grass of a lawn. It needs have the integrity of a tight edge to maintain the shape of your desired patio. The patio stones will be pressing up against the inside of the edging and will need equal pressure from the outside so as to keep the edging straight up.

Project plans make for professional patios:

Now is the time to review the final look of your patio. If you have a certain pattern or border design to achieve, double check and count your paving stones and colors to be sure you have everything ready. If you have a single color patio planned, but your paving stones came from two separate lots, you can achieve color uniformity by blending the separate piles together to achieve a more natural look. For a framed look, place the outer row perpendicular to the inner rows.

It is time to place the paving stones:

Carefully, snap a chalk line along the edges of the patio to ensure the paver rows stay straight. Do this without stepping on the bedding sand. Stand on the outside of the area and set the first, closest row. Set each row of paving stones as tight and snug as possible to the adjacent stone. Avoid getting any sand or base materials in between the pave stone joints. Nothing should prevent the pavers from making full contact with each other. After each stone is placed, tap it down firmly with a rubber mallet.

Paving stones may need to be cut:

Unless you have made your patio an exact rectangle, you will most probably need to make cuts to your paving stones to fit your design. It is recommended to have a wet saw handy during this paving stone placement time. You may need smaller pieces to fit corners or other small spaces. If a wet saw is not available, a chisel and hammer may be used to split the paver. It is a good idea to save the small pieces throughout the job in case you may need them later. Be sure to use safety glasses when cutting paving stones.

Finishing touches means filling the gaps:

The tighter each paving stone is to the next one, the less sand will be necessary to fill gaps. However, there will be some gaps to fill. After the patio stones have been installed, spread sand along the surface and sweep it into all the cracks. This allows drainage but keeps each stone tightly wrapped with material, making it far more difficult to move them out of place.

A light sprinkle will settle it in:

Use a gentle spray nozzle on your garden hose to squirt off the face of the patio stones. The goal is to wash off the stone and to help the sand settle to its lowest levels. This will make it obvious where, if at all, more sand is needed to fill the gaps between the paving stones. Also, it will be an indicator for how well you accomplished the goal of guiding water away from the foundation of your house.

Give your patio a final shower:

Once the patio is completely dry from the gentle sprinkling, spread sand again along the surface. Sweep it into all the places where the previous sand may have settled. Sprinkle again if necessary to move the sand deeper into the spaces between the paving stones. Repeat until you are satisfied that it is solid.

Trim the landscape fabric:

Once the sand has settled nicely into the spaces and locked all the paving stones into place, you can trim off the excess landscape fabric. A mat knife works well to get a very close cut. Congratulations. Now all you need is to start setting out your favorite patio furniture and enjoy your handiwork!

Need a quick patio stone fix:

Since it's inevitable that someday you may need to replace a patio stone some day, it's always good to have a few extra patio stones of each color lying around and some leftover sand for that repair job. Here is a simple fix. Use two screwdrivers to pry out the old patio stone. It will become the pattern for the new one. Cut the new one about one eighth inch shorter or smaller than the old stone and set it in the vacant space. It should fit right in like a puzzle piece. Use sand to fill the area around it to set it firmly in place.

The more elaborate and expansive the patio is, the more crushed rock will be required in the base. Please call us for specific recommendations or for calculating the necessary patio stones required for your project. Our experienced staff is available to assist you.

These instructions are provided as a service from St. Vrain Block. The information is intended to simplify your paving stone patio, walkway or driveway building project. Since local regulations vary, St. Vrain Block assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. Always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and if in doubt about any procedure, consult with St. Vrain Block or another licensed professional.

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The Reference Library

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Product Brochures

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Quantity Estimate

Each project has unique characteristics or challenges. Using your measurements, we will provide an estimate of product quantity necessary for your project. Call us at 303-833-4144 or contact us online with your request.

Installation Tips

We can recommend various Landscape Professionals or, if you are the 'Do-It-Yourself' type, we provide these helpful installation instructions.

~ more install tips coming soon

Glossary of Terms

Every industry has quirky terms that can be confusing especially if the product names sound alike, but are actually not comparable at all in quality or intended use. Contact us if you have any questions.

Glossary of Terms

ASTM Certifications

The ASTM International Standards Certifications awarded to St. Vrain Block are held in very high regard. Quality has been the foundation of our reputation since 1946. Please review our ASTM Certifications page for more information.