How to lay a patio
I laid a patio in the back of the house. It is easy enough to do if you are careful and plan adequately.
First, you need to make sure the outline is square and is the right size to accomodate your patio stones with a little sand in between. The best way to do this is to mark the corners out using string and batterboards.
When everything is perfect you are ready to start digging. Just make sure you have something to do with the dirt. Because I was laying a 4 inch base of gravel followed by 2 inches of sand and 2 inch pavers, I dug out an 8 inch deep hole. Thats a lot of dirt!
The next thing to do is make sure that there is a 1 inch drop per 4 feet away from the house so that water drains away from the house. You'll want to frame up the hole and then rent a gasoline powered tamper to compact the dirt.
Next you're ready for a trip to the quarry where you will buy some 3/8th minus gravel.
You want to lay down a 4 inch base of gravel and compact it.
Next lay down 2 inches of sand and compact it. You will also want to make a board to screed the sand (make it level for the paving).
Next you start laying pavers, screeding just a little at a time as you go.
It doesn't take long once you start.
Finally you need to sweep sand into the cracks between the pavers.
Over the next few weeks sand will settle in the cracks and you will need to sweep in a little more.