How to Lay Pavers on Dirt

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Don’t know how to lay pavers on dirt? If you have any experience laying pavers without base or a solid foundation, you’ll know that it is a terrible idea to do it. Likewise, if you do know how to level ground for patio pavers, you’ll know that laying pavers without sand calls for a sinking catastrophe – literally. But then, how to lay pavers for a driveway, patio or simple garden road if there’s only dirt along the way? Don’t worry: as long as it is a flat and even surface, nothing can stop you from laying a paved road on your home.

How to Lay Pavers on Dirt - Do I Need Gravel Under Pavers?

Whether you are selling your home or remodeling your home, you may want to consider laying pavers. This article will teach you how to lay pavers on dirt and show you how every surface can be paved successfully if you follow the following simple steps. Be sure to follow them dutifully and in order if you want a sturdy, healthy paved road in your house for many years to come.

Remove Grass

The first step to laying down patio pavers on dirt is to remove any sign of grass or vegetation on the ground. It’s not simply weeding out: it’s using a spade to dig deep enough into the ground and remove both the plants and their root system (or else, they might regrow and produce new grass between your pavers).

Level the Ground

Pavers can only line up perfectly if the ground is properly leveled, even if it’s pure dirt. To level the ground, first you are going to need clean dirt (basically, a special fill dirt that does not contain toxins, organic particles, or debris). Fill dirt is the only one that can level the ground and keep it stable for many years; other alternatives, such as topsoil, contain organic matter that will break over time and damage your pavers.

Mark the Area with Stakes

Mark out the parameters of the area you are going pave with stakes and decide the height you are going to “level” inside its perimeter. Once you have decided the height, use the fill dirt to get the level you’re looking for (you might also want to add a little extra dirt to make it slightly higher when it’s time to compact the ground).

Compact the Dirt

Paving professionals say once you’ve leveled your area, add another layer of fill dirt, and with a hand tamper, pound the ground ‘till it’s even and compacted. The more compacted the dirt is, the stronger and more stable your patio will be in the long run.

Use Geotextile Fabric and Restraints

If you place pieces of landscaping or geotextile fabric over your fill dirt, your base will become firmer, have an improved drainage quality, and be able to deter weeds from growing. Do this and then place wood or metal edge restraints against the inner walls of compacted dirt. This step is a must, or else, your patio will become weak as time goes by and eventually break.

Place Down the Pavers

Time to lay down the pavers! Place them in whatever pattern you want from the corner and then work your way across. Once you’re done with a small section, place a wood board across it and gently hit it with a hammer. The bricks will embed on the dirt and become leveled. Do this with the rest of the pavers. Finally, pour stone dust over your pavers and sweep it between them. After this, moisten the bricks so they can become firm.

Last Considerations

Do I need gravel under pavers?

Not necessarily gravel (it can also be sand), but you do need a strong foundation for your pavers. Without it, your pavers might sink.

Can you just lay pavers on grass?

It’s possible, but they will sink with time, become uneven, crack and become weeded, so it’s not recommended.
How do I stop my pavers from shifting?

Add a solid edge to your patio, be it with cement lip, plastic or metal edging. After this, spread polymeric sand over the patio and sweep it into the cracks to keep the bricks in place.

To summarize, laying pavers without sand and laying pavers without base or a solid foundation it’s the worst mistake you can do, especially on dirt. You need a solid base, a leveled surface and lots of compression to keep the bricks in place; if you know how to level ground for patio pavers and how to lay pavers for a driveway or patio or simple garden, these steps will be easy to do. Still, now that you know how to lay pavers on dirt, you’re ready to turn your patio into your paved dream come true. It is also important to properly estimate construction costs so you stay within your budget when installing pavers.


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Gail Smith-Bibb
Gwen Fowler Real Estate - West Union, SC
A tradition of trust

Great article. Easy to understand.


Jan 06, 2020 08:05 AM #1
Michele Cadogan 917-861-9166
Fillmore Real Estate 2990 Av U, Bklyn , NY 11229 - Brooklyn, NY
Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker -

Good  east to follow  tips to share with DIYer planning to  install pavers as a spring or summer project.

Jan 06, 2020 08:26 AM #2
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Pavers can really increase the appearance of the outside of your home & this is a cost-effective way to do it. Thanks for sharing Chrissy!

Jan 06, 2020 03:39 PM #4
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Chrissy Boltan

Service professional specializing in Real Estate
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