Throwback Thursday: Paver Patio

It’s been a little quiet here on our end due to some sickness and trying to get some stuff done. We’ve managed to get some of our mirrors and photos back up on the walls and are still caulking and painting. We were a couple of social butterflies last weekend and didn’t get as much accomplished as we’d have liked.

So, to liven it up around here I thought I’d dig up (quite literally) another “Throwback Thursday” project from the Scallie archives. So in this post, I’d like to introduce ya’ll to our paver patio!


This was by far one of our quickest projects which took us exactly 8 days from groundbreaking to completion. However, in no way could we have done this without our trusty troops (my mom, dad and sister) who came down to help/lay the whole patio.

So, let’s go back to the beginning on how this all came to fruition. The summer before this project, my parents decided to re-do their landscaping and get rid of the thousands of pavers that they had around the house and through the garden areas. They had them stacked up by the house and were eagerly looking to get rid of them.


Bless their hearts, my parents dug up and moved all of those … and then helped us lay our patio too. They are amazing!

We hadn’t purchased our current home yet, so we really didn’t have a use for them at that time. Fast forward to February of 2012, we have the keys to our new digs and Scott is itching to get a project done. We knew when we purchased the house that there was some water collection issues on that corner of the house, not to mention it was ugly over there.

Paver Patio

We knew we would have to fix the water collection issues sooner or later, so Scott got busy.

After mulling over our options, we decided that we’d like an outdoor area (in addition to our screened-in porch) for entertaining and fire pit sitting. And with ALL those pavers waiting patiently at my parent’s house, we decided on a paver patio. My mom is an engineer and drew up some rudimentary plans to get us started and to figure out how many pavers we would need … which was A LOT.

Over the course of a few months and many trips to my parent’s house, we slowly collected all the pavers needed for our project. When June 2012 hit, we had everything we needed and my parents and sister booked a weekend at Casa de Scallie to help with the project. So, the week leading up to the trusty troop’s arrival, we (and I mean Scott) had to dig the pit for the patio.

First, we called the “call before you dig!” people to come and spray paint where any electrical or gas lines were. Then, we measured and marked where we wanted the patio to be and started digging and digging.


In hindsight we should have rented a backhoe and had this thing dug in an afternoon, but at the time we were still feeling the pinch of being first-time home buyers and felt like we were bleeding money. Plus we didn’t want the rest of our yard all torn up from heavy equipment rolling around. So, a friend of ours let us use their tiller to help with the digging.



After a couple days, real progress started to take shape. We had a heap of dirt and an outline of a patio. My parent’s neighbor is a professional landscaper and helped us figure out how far down we needed to dig and what materials we would need and even the cheapest place to purchase rock and sand.

It depends on where you live and how sturdy/long lasting you want the patio to be, but some people will tell you to use a layer of rock and some say it’s unnecessary. We decided we wanted a layer of rock as our base to help drain water away from that area of the house. The landscaping neighbor suggested around 5-6″ of compacted gravel, 1-1.5″ of sand and then lay the paver on top. So, this meant that we had to dig a hole about 10″ deep. We also needed to allow for the patio to slope so that water would drain away from the house. So this meant that we needed to dig about 12″ deep by the house.


We were making good headway and were constantly checking the weather forecast that week for the possibility of rain. There was only one day with that possibility and it said a 30% chance. We felt pretty safe. However, we woke up the next morning to discover our paver pit full of water! Ahhh! Thankfully it somewhat dried up over the course of the day, but we still had a muddy mess on our hands.

Paver Patio-001

We let the paver pit dry out the next day too and it was in good shape. Next, we needed to load up tons of gravel. We also found out that you can’t just use any gravel. You have to use gravel that can be compacted. Per our landscaping friend, he said we should use “3/4 inch minus” gravel. This means that the largest rock chunks are 3/4″ or smaller. We enlisted the help of a friend and his truck, loaded both our trucks up at the quarry and burned the midnight oil getting the gravel spread out.


After those two truck loads, we realized that we needed a little more gravel, but the rock quarry was already closed for the day. By that Saturday, our trusty troops had arrived and were ready to work; however, they would be on their own since Scott and I had an event that weekend with our jobs and would only be available in the evenings to help. I still feel bad about that to this day!

So, the trusty troops got another load of gravel and rented a gas-powered tamper to level the rock.


We were also in a time crunch on that Saturday because the quarry was not open on Sunday, and we still had to get all the sand. So, after the rock had been tamped, they headed to get a couple loads of sand. They made the last load from the quarry about an hour before they closed!

After the rock was tamped and the sand down and smoothed, it was time to lay the pavers.




This was essentially like piecing together a giant puzzle. Every paver had to be laid carefully into place and then tapped in with a rubber mallet. By the time Scott and I returned from our event that evening, quite the progress had been made!


The troops were tired, but Scott and I were ready to be put to work. The next step was to saw off all the pieces of pavers that were sticking out since we wanted to lay down some edging pavers. Thankfully my parent’s landscaping neighbor let us borrow his diamond-blade power saw so that we wouldn’t have to rent this piece of equipment too.

Paver Patio-002

The saw was ridiculously loud! It also kicked out an incredible amount of dust from the pavers. This was a problem since the dust covered the guideline for the saw. We remedied this by having someone stand with a leaf blower and blow the dust away. Needless to say, we had black boogers.


After a couple hours of sawing the perimeter, it was time to lay the edging pavers.


The black plastic edging restraints were purchased from Lowe’s. We lined the entire perimeter of the patio with these so that over the years, the pavers won’t “walk” and the patio will retain its shape.

While my sister and I worked on edging, Scott was using our leftover pavers to make a mini-patio in front of our shed, since there wasn’t anything but dirt there.



It was nearing 10 p.m. and everyone was pretty exhausted. But we were done! All that was left was to backfill the area around the patio with dirt and to sweep some polymeric sand in between all the cracks so it would “seal” the patio from anything trying to grow up through the cracks.

So, that was our 8 day Patio Project, from groundbreaking to finish.

Paver Patio-003

And here is the patio today:


We would have never completed the project in that amount of time without the help of our “trusty troops”! We are absolutely in love with this patio and now that it is officially fire pit season, we are out there quite often. As I write this, it’s hard to imagine what the backyard was like before the patio. I guess we’ve repressed that ugly image from our minds!

As far as cost for this project goes, I would have to say around $335:

Gravel & Sand = $125
Edging Pavers = $70
Edging Restraints = $50
Polymeric Sand = $40
Tamper Rental = $50

There would have been NO WAY to afford this project right after purchasing the house if mom and dad didn’t just give us all the pavers we needed. We are so thankful to them for donating to our cause and for providing the labor too!

So, that just about wraps up this Throwback Thursday. If you want to check out the one from a few weeks ago, go here. Hopefully our project pain & suffering brings you inexplicable joy! 🙂

– Allie


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