If you are talking paver blocks, there is only one way to lay a patio and have it "look nice and last long": the right way. It involves compacting the soil, adding a gravel sub-base, sand base, pavers, and compacting along the way. Slope and level are important for drainage.
Quickcrete walkmakers (or similar) might be a good thing for you to research. Rather than paver stones, they are a type of formed concrete that can be put down with less surface preparation. They still recommend 2-4" of gravel base. http://www.quikrete.com/athome/walkmaker.asp