I Cross-Section: Cobblestone Patio

Paver edge  Cobbles  Jointing  Sand  Backfill

Landscape  Sand 2"  Compactable  gravel

Spike  4  to  6"


Lay out the patio outline and set digging depth with grade stakes. Factor a minimum 1" per 8 ft. of drainage slope away from the house if the patio is next to your home. Remove the strings.

Excavate the building site, paying close attention to the outlines and stakes that denote the excavation depth and slope.


Rake and screed the compactable gravel to follow the drainage slope and then compact with a plate compactor.

Lay out square corners for the patio with stakes and string, starting next to an adjoining structure. Use the 3-4-5 method to check the intersecting lines for squareness at the corners.

Snap chalk lines directly below the outlines you’ve created with the mason’s strings and then install professional — grade paver edging at the lines. The paver edge should rest on compacted gravel, not soil.

Strike off the coarse sand base by dragging a 2 x 4 screed across 1" pipes that are used as screed gauges.

Strintjs A and B are equal in length to create right angles.


 strintjs a and b are equal in length to create right angles.




Begin laying out the cobbles, starting at the square corner. Work in small sections on approximately 5 square ft. Simply set the cobbles into the sand base—do not adjust them from side to side or try to reset the height.

Tie additional strings to establish a guide line that bisects the project and is perpendicular to the bond line at the end of the layout pattern.

Creating a Layout ►

The number of purchasing options available when you shop for pavers makes it possible to create just about any patio layout pattern you can imagine. There is nothing stopping you from going wild and creating a layout that’s truly creative. However, most landscape centers are happy to work with you to create a layout that employs tested design ideas and consumes pavers in a very efficient manner with as little cutting as possible.

Another option for DIY designers is to visit the website of the paver manufacturer (you should be able to get the information from your paver dealer). Many of these have applications where you can choose a basic style you like (such as the basketweave pattern seen here), and enter size information. You’ll receive a printout of what the pattern should look like along with a shopping list for the materials you’ll need, all the way down to sand and spikes for your paver edging. To see an example of a design calculator/estimator, visit the website for Borgert Products, maker of the cobbles seen here in a 30% square, 70% rectangle basketweave pattern with rectangular border.

’Bond line

 ’bond line




Install the paver edging for the rest of the patio using the bond lines as reference. Brush sand out of the edging installation area so the paver edging rests on the compactable base. Replace and smooth the sand after the edging is installed.


Fill gaps between cobbles with decorative sand, such as crushed granite, or with specially formulated jointing sand that hardens when dampened for a more formal look.

Tamp the cobble stones with a plate compactor to bring them to level and seat them in the base. Add jointing sand in the joints if levels drop as you work.

Making Curves ►

At rounded corners and curves, install border pavers (below left) in a fan pattern with even gaps between the pavers. Gentle curves may accommodate full-size border pavers, but for sharper turns you usually need to cut tapers into

The paver edges so you don’t end up with wide gaps at the outside. When using border pavers in a curved layout, the field pavers will need to be trimmed to fit the odd spaces created where the field and borders intersect (below right).


Updated: 15.05.2013 — 20:51

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