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Can You Put Patio On Uneven Ground? (How To)

Many homeowners would love to have a patio in their backyard but erroneously believe that their yard is too uneven to accommodate one.

While it is true that putting a patio is more challenging on uneven ground than on level ground, it is certainly not impossible! With a little bit of elbow grease (and the right tools and materials), you can install a patio on uneven ground in no time.

patio rock on the ground

As a general rule, you can put a patio on uneven ground. It may take a little more preparation and work, but if you are up for a reasonable challenge, it can be done.

Important Note: Before you start, check with your local utilities that there are no water or electrical lines that run through the area you will be digging.

Should You Put a Patio on Uneven Ground?

Patio on uneven ground

If you don’t prepare the uneven ground before you start building your patio, then the patio will be uneven and unprofessional. If you are not willing (or don’t have time) to do the prep work, then you should not put a patio on uneven ground.

If you are willing to put in the work to make the uneven ground level, then you can build a beautiful patio on the formerly uneven ground.

What Tools Do You Need to Put a Patio on Uneven Ground?

confused man standing

To build a patio on uneven ground, you will need to prepare the area correctly. You will need to dig down and then build layers on top of that so you can put your pavers or slabs on it. Before you get started, there are a few tools and materials you will need.

The tools and supplies you need to put a patio on uneven ground include a shovel, wheelbarrow, laser or spirit level, plate compactor, gravel, sand, and paving stones.

A full list of tools and supplies needed to build a patio on unlevel ground:

  • 2x4s or similar lumber (for creating a level base)
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • String line, stakes, and marking paint
  • Laser or spirit level
  • Plate compactor (available for rent at most hardware stores)
  • 3/4-0 or ODOT road base gravel
  • Concrete sand
  • Paving stones of your choice
  • Rubber mallet
  • Crusher dust (optional)
  • Edging stones (optional)

What Preparations Do You Need to Install a Patio on Uneven Ground?

confused man standing

Once you have gathered all of the necessary tools and materials, the next step is to prepare the ground for your patio. If there are any large roots or other obstacles in the way, remove them now. Next, use your shovel to dig out any grass or other vegetation. Once you have cleared the area, use your wheelbarrow to remove any excess dirt. It’s time to prepare the ground for your new patio.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on September 29, 2022.

Before you install a patio on uneven ground, you will need to prepare the ground by marking off your work area, removing obstacles, digging a trench, and leveling the ground.

Mark off your work area

To start, mark the boundary of your new patio. You can do this by using string tied to stakes. Push the stakes into the ground to mark the edges of your patio. Use marker paint to define the edges so that you know the boundaries as you work. If you’d rather save a bit, you can use flour instead of marker paint. If you have rounded edges, use a hose to mark where the corners are.

Remove obstacles

Now that you’ve marked off the work area, start removing obstacles like roots, rocks, and foliage. Dig them out and carry them away in your wheelbarrow. If there’s grass, it will need to go too. This step is messy and can be frustrating, give yourself time to do it right. Keep working on this step until all that’s left is dirt – and maybe some fine rocks.

Dig a trench (or trenches)

Now that you are down to the dirt, it is time to start digging the trench. Keep digging until you have a trench about 8 – 10 inches deep. You need room for sand and gravel. If the ground is very steep, you can make a multilayered patio. But each step should be flat. If you reveal any large rocks or roots as you dit, get rid of them now. The cleaner you get the ground, the easier the next steps will be.

Level and compact the ground

Check that the trench is level with either a laser level or a spirit level, then use a plate compactor to pack down the dirt. Remove any loose dirt and check again that the ground is level. You may need to repeat this step a couple of times. Use your leveler to make sure it is even from every angle.

Add and level gravel (at least twice)

Once the ground is level, cover it with 2 inches of road base gravel or crushed stone. Use the plate compactor again to pack down the gravel. Repeat the process with another layer of gravel. Don’t give into the temptation to skip the gravel layers. You need at least 4 inches of gravel total to keep the pavers in place. Without a solid gravel foundation, the pavers will shift or crack over time. The gravel works with the sand to keep the lateral drainage working right, so that water doesn’t pool under the patio.

Add and level coarse sand

Now you are ready to add concrete sand. Do not use playground or masonry sand. Playground sand is too fine, and masonry sand doesn’t pack well. The purpose of the sand and gravel layer is to provide lateral drainage. If it doesn’t pack uniformly, that messes with the drainage, and your patio will deteriorate over time. Concrete sand, on the other hand, is really coarse so it will lock the pavers in place.

Put 2 inches of sand on top of the gravel and use a plate compactor one more time to pack the sand into the gravel. Finally, smooth out the sand with a 2×4. It needs to be really smooth. Use the board several times to ensure that nothing – sand or gravel – protrudes more than 1/8 an inch. Otherwise, your pavers will not stay flat for the eternity that you plan to enjoy your patio.

How to Install A Patio on Uneven Ground

confused man standing

Now it’s time to start installing the pavers! Lay down your pavers, starting at one corner and working your way across. Use your string line and leveler to ensure the pavers are level as you go. Pound each paver in with a rubber mallet to make it secure. Keep checking that everything is level as you go along.

Once all of the pavers are in place, spread a layer of gravel or crusher dust over the entire area and use your compactor again. If you are using edging stones, now is the time to put them in. Pack and level one more time to be sure – and you have a beautiful patio!

And there you have it—a brand new patio, installed entirely on uneven ground! Well, it’s not uneven anymore because you did it right. While building a patio on uneven ground may be a bit more challenging than installing a patio on level ground, it is certainly doable with some hard work (and the right tools and materials). So get out there and get started!

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on September 29, 2022.

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