How to Install Pavers (DIY Guide)

This DIY Installation Guide has been written for the do-it-yourself home handyperson. Following these instructions will help you achieve an excellent paving result that you will be proud of. However, if you really want a professional concrete paving finish, give us a call and we can arrange for the job to be done.

The method followed in this guide is used by the majority of professional landscapers. However, they would have their own small individual variations. So this really is a professional method and one you can be confident with. There are other concrete paver installation methods like “wet lay” which we suggest you leave to a professional. The contents of this publication are intended for general guidance only. Specifications are subject to change without notice. Slatecrete Paving cannot accept any liability whatsoever in respect to the content of this publication or the work performed using these methods. If you are unsure always seek the advice of a professional.

Step 01: Choosing the pavers and areas to be paved

Pavers can be used in all those places around your home when you want a hard stand finish like entertainment areas, patios, paths, steps, driveways and pergolas. A visit to Slatecrete will help you choose from the different style of pavers and over 100 colours. You will get helpful advice and see for yourself what pavers look like laid, and on large display boards, along with the interesting landscape features.

Step 02: Calculating areas for paving

Most areas are one or another (or a combination) of three basic paver shapes: rectangles (including squares), triangles and circles.

The area of a rectangle (or a square) = length x width.

For example: an area 10m long and 5m wide = 10 x 5m = 50m2 (square metres)

The area of a triangle is half the width of the base x height.

For example: a triangle with a base 20m wide and a height of 8m = 10m x 8m = 80m2.

The area of a circle = ¹r2 OR multiply the radius by itself and multiply the result by 3.14. (The radius is half the diameter).

For example: a circle with a diameter of 10m (and therefore, a radius of 5m) = 5 x 5 x 3.14 = 78.5m2.

Step 03: Calculating Materials and Tools you need Materials

Road Base Area m2 x .1 = Vol. m3 and add extra so the compacted road base is wider than the area to be paved by approx. 100mm.

Bedding Sand Area m2 x .05 = Vol m3 to nearest 1/2m3 for wastage.

Concrete Blend 1m3 will build approx. 200m of restraint.

____________m x .005 = ____________ m3 of Concrete Blend

(length of restraint)

Paver Joint Fill Sand (Standard) – 1 40kg bag per 12m2 of area

Gap Fill Sand with silicone – 1 30kg bag per 10m2 of area

Cement 1 or 2 bags for restraining edge

____________m3 x 6 = ____________ Bags of Cement


  1. Edge restraints either concrete or timber
  2. String line and 8 pegs
  3. Plate vibrator/compacter
  4. Cutting equipment – brick bolster/paver splitter/masonry saw
  5. Broom
  6. Strong line level
  7. Piece of timber 100mm x 75mm x 500mm
  8. Rubber mallet
  9. Rake
  10. Spirit Level
  11. Shovel
  12. Screed Board (hire)
  13. Wheel barrow
  14. 2 Screed Rails 40mm x 25mm x 3m long

Step 04: Site Preparation

Time spent in preparing the site will be well rewarded in the long run. Your paving will be only as good as its foundation. The base must be firm. Hollow and low areas must be filled and compacted using a plate compactor. Excavate the area to be paved to the depth of the paver plus approximately 30mm to 50mm for bedding sand. Be sure to allow a fall for draining. Set all string lines first to establish a level starting point, then adjust for drainage falls as shown below. It’s a good idea to get a ‘bobcat’ in to prepare the site for you, particularly if it is a driveway or large pergola. Slope paving away from house of building and allow for final paving surface to be below any damp-proof course.

Step 05: Spread Bedding Sand

Place bedding sand and spread evenly over area to be paved to a depth of 50mm allowing 8mm for settlement on compaction. Spread with a rake. Don’t try to compact the sand as it does not compact in a loose state.. Compaction comes later. Set string lines to desired levels and set screed rails accordingly.

Step 06: Laying the Pavers

Work to the pattern you have chosen (see back page) by building it forward in rows. As you lay each paver, do it carefully so the even bed of sand is not disturbed. Lower each paver against the face of its neighbour. This is called butt-jointing but will actually leave a small gap between the pavers. This gap will be needed as you will see later. As you work you can stand or sit on the pavers you have already laid. But avoid putting any weight on the leading row of pavers as they can tilt or slip and ruin your even bed of sand. It’s also a good idea to walk on a few pieces of 3 ply board measuring approx. 500mm square. This is the time to include the header or soldier course in the design of your pavers. We think it is important, as it both looks professional and helps you start with a good straight line. Running a string line for every metre of pavers laid will help you keep your job nice and straight. The idea is to adjust the pavers each metre to prevent bows from developing.

Step 07: Cutting Pavers

As you work you will find you will have spaces too small for a whole paver. To fill these holes you’ll need to cut a paver to size. Just measure and make the required cuts on the paver itself. Then you can make the required cuts by using a wet saw. These can be hired for the afternoon from your local hire store. The cut piece should fit neatly, leaving a small gap all around just like the full paving units. Remember to wear safety glasses.

Step 08: Placing Edge Restraints

The edge restraint locks in the pavers at the edge. Without a restraint these edge pavers could loosen and slip out of position. Of the several different ways to build an edge restraint, one of the simplest is the hidden concrete kerb. Dig a trench along the paving edge. It must be deeper than the bedding sand into the roadbase. Concrete is then shovelled in place and formed against the pavers allowing sufficient space for soil and turf. When it dries, you will be able to cover this kerb with soil and plant grass right up to the paving edge. Make sure the concrete does not go under the pavers as it will prevent compaction in the next step. Be careful not to get concrete on the surface of your pavers as it is almost impossible to remove. If you do, sponge off quickly. Also leave the edge restraint to go hard overnight before compacting.

Step 09: Joint Filling & Compacting

The best way to lock the paving in place is with a plate vibrator or compactor machine which compacts the bedding sand. Make sure you have carpet underneath the compactor. However for small areas, manual compacting using a rubber mallet, a good piece of hardwood and a bit of sweat will achieve the desired results. Before you start compacting, spread some joint filling sand or gap sand over the pavers. This helps the plate slide easily and minimises any scratching. You’ll actually be doing 3 things. First you’re compacting the sand into a firm bed for your concrete pavers and secondly, the vibration forces sand up into the gaps between the pavers, locking them in so they won’t shift. Thirdly, the gap or joint filling sand will go down in between the pavers to further block them up. This also achieves the gap between pavers required by the manufacturers.

Step 10: Final Sweeping of Joint Fill Sand

With the compaction completed, sweep some more joint filling sand or gap sand across the paving and work it into the gaps as you go. Then finally sweep the excess sand off the paved area. You may now want to give it a light hosing down.

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