Summary: Building a paver or natural stone patio or walkway can be a functional and beautiful addition to your backyard landscape and with proper planning, attention to detail and a little hard work you can achieve a long-lasting result, regardless of your skill level and experience.
TOM: Building a paver or natural stone patio  or walkway can be a functional and beautiful addition to your backyard landscape. With proper planning, attention to detail and a little hard work you can achieve a long lasting result regardless of your skill level and experience.
Begin by marking the outside dimensions of the project area. Then excavate to a depth of 4-7 inches with a shovel. Allow for 2-4 inches of a compactible underlayment base, 1-2 inches of paver sand for leveling and the width of the paver.
Then, install edge restraints. Edge restraints are required to stabilize the pavers and prevent settling and shifting over time. Edges should be set to allow for proper drainage away from structures and should slope evenly away from structures. 1/4 inch for every 12 feet is sufficient to allow for rain runoff.
Evenly spread 2-4 inches of Quikrete all-purpose gravel into the excavated area, then level the gravel. Using a tamper compact the gravel base. Spread 1-2 inches of Quikrete patio paver sand over the compacted base. The paver sand will act as a leveling bed that the pavers will rest in. Use a 2x4 and a 1x1 to construct a screed to level the paver sand to a consistent depth equal to the width of the paver. Then screed the sand smooth, removing the excess sand in front of the screed and adding additional sand behind the screed as necessary. This will take several passes.
Once your base is level use stakes and a string or a straight edge to align the paver rows. Starting in the corner lay the pavers outward, maintaining a consistent joint width between each paver. Then, tap and level the pavers in place with a rubber mallet. Check to make sure your pavers are square and level on a regular basis.
Now that the pavers are in position, the joints must be filled with sand to hold the pavers in place. Quikrete Power Lock Jointing Sand and Quikrete Hardscapes Polymeric Jointing Sand are formulated with special dry polymer resin binders and are designed to lock pavers in place. Power Lock Jointing Sand can be used for paver joint widths up to 1/2 inch. For larger joints up to 2inches wide, and for use with natural stone, Hardscapes Polymeric Sand is recommended.
Simply sweep the polymeric sand into the joints with a broom and remove any excess sand from the paver surface. Make sure the pavers are clean and dry before application. Then, apply a gentle, fine water mist to the filled joints flooding the surfaces of the pavers and allowing the water to saturate the sand-filled joints. Dampen hourly at regular intervals for three hours after placement. Be sure to avoid flooding the sand onto the paver's surface. The joints will harden as they dry, usually over a period of several days depending on temperature and humidity creating a firm, durable paver joint.
Once hardened, Quikrete Polymeric Jointing Sand will prevent erosion, insects and weed growth. The amount of jointing sand you will need varies based on the joint width and paver thickness. A 1/2-inch joint will typically require about 5 bags per 100 sq ft of paver area and 2-inch joints will require up to 13 bags per 100 sq ft. Polymer resins are temperature sensitive, so temperature should remain over 35 degrees for a 12-hour period after application.