Landscaping Backyard With Pavers - Needs Concrete Base? - Landscaping & Lawn Care - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 09-05-2008, 02:37 PM   #1
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landscaping backyard with Pavers - needs concrete base?


We are trying to landscape our small backyard ( about 500 Sq. Ft, we live in the Bay Area ) to make some more space for us and to enjoy the weather.

We are not handy ourselves so we had a few landscaping companies come out and give us a quote. They range from $6 / sq. ft for Concrete to, $14 for Pavers and $22 for flag stones. Are these in the ballpark for the Bay Area?

Out of the three quotes that we got, 2 of them said that they needed to have a concrete base of about 2 in thick to install pavers. Is a concrete base required for Pavers? What are the advantages and disadvantages to having a concrete base.

In my search on the internet, I did not come across a DIY for Pavers that required a concrete base and hence my question.

Thanks in Advance.

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Old 09-05-2008, 02:46 PM   #2
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A concrete base is never required for pavers. I don't understand why anyone would do this on a new installation. You can of course install pavers over existing concrete, but a base of compacted gravel or soil with a good amount of compacted sand on top will work very well.
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Old 09-05-2008, 02:58 PM   #3
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I think these are the reasons why they want concrete base:

As a business, they want to do it quick and fast, with concrete base, it means:

1. they don't need to dig much, probably just get rid of the top grasses with their super machine in 5 minutes.

2. it is a level surface after the concrete dryout... so they don't need to spend time to figure out where to level here or there... this is not for quick money making business.

3. it is easier for them to lay the pavers, they will not need to do the screening step because they aren't going to put sand before the pavers....

that is why... the disadvantegous for them is pouring concrete could be expensive for most people who don't have connection... but for them with connection.. it may be very affordable... making quick bucks in a few days is more important to them....

the drawback of using concrete I can tell is :

- most importantly, you are going to have a raised patio, so your edge is not level with it's surrounding...
- water will not go away as fast as it slopped away otherwise
- concrete may break, if it does, it will be an disaster... but that may not happen either... depends on how good they prepare the concrete subbase... but same idea for the regular subbase...

anyhow.... that is why... I guess... I am not a professional but done one hell of project myself...
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Old 09-05-2008, 03:52 PM   #4
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Real paving stone contractors would NEVER put concrete under pavers for a real job.

Go to the Interlocking concrete Paving Institute site (, I think)

If this is a patio, you can get away with not doing it right since it is not like a driveway, street or airport taxiway. the problem is that water can get trapped by the concrete underneath and the dge restraint, forcing the pavers to float on to of the by the small amount that water can come through the joints and saturate the 1" setting bed. The sand setting bed is necessary to level and compact the paver surface.

you have 500 sf, which is not much to excavate and put in a proper compacted base in a day. A day or two later, it is finished. Many heavy equipment dealers and contractors use pavers in shops because of the fast installation and lack of waiting for a concrete slab to cure.
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Old 09-07-2008, 07:00 AM   #5
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pay attn to the guy holding the fish,,, the fish may be fake but his advice is VERY sound
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:22 PM   #6
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The prices you quote are in the ball park. Just about twice as much as anywhere else in the county. That is my experience in the Bay area. San Fran is about 3 times everywhere else.
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:25 PM   #7
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no just pavers,sand and graval. That's all you need. Need more help?
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:28 PM   #8
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I used a special sand made specifically for pavers. Did the job this summer adn they haven't budged and have a great deal of traffic.
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concrete , landscaping , pavers

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