Video Treat: How to Build Leonardo DaVinci's Wooden Arch

September 26, 2015

Part 1: Site prep, layout, and setting the base


Begin with a stringline to mark the outer edges. In this video, the pavers butt to a grade-level deck, so the patio slopes the same amount as the deck. Patios on the ground should slope away from the house.


The layers of this patio add up to 7-3/4 inches:
  • Landscape fabric under the sand and gravel keeps the weeds down.
  • Gravel (roughly 5 inches) provides drainage.
  • Sand (minimum 1 inch) provides a drainable bed for the pavers. Use paver sand, which is finer than un-paver sand.
  • Pavers (1-3/4 in thick)


The process for laying the base
  • Spread the gravel—Paul used 2x6s on edge as screed boards to fill in the gravel to the proper depth.
  • Add sand and tamp it down with a tamper—PVC pipe can be used as screeds for the sand layer.


Laying the pavers:

If you have the luxury of choosing where the patio will end, define the outer border by the number of whole pavers you can place. If you can avoid cutting pavers, do it*. It will save time, materials, and your hearing.

Lightly sprinkle the sand with a hose. This keeps the sand from moving around too much while you work. Slightly damp sand will stay put and tamp better.

Paul begins laying pavers at the rounded corner, and rolls ...



*This is also a good tip for laying out decks, BTW, before cutting the end of the joists and nailing the rim, space out full courses of siding to establish a length that avoids rips.