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I have a BBQ that's currently sitting on a not so level grassy area. I'd like to create a very small base for the grill with two 2ft by 2ft concrete pavers so I have a level base, but I don't know how to prep the area for the pavers.

Do I need to dig down, how far, and what do I put under the pavers? I live in the Northern US, if that's important.

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4 Answers 4

  • Dig down at least 6".
  • Lay landscape fabric (this will block weeds and what-not), the fabric should run up the sides of the hole.
  • Fill the hole with a base material (usually crushed limestone), fill the hole about 2" at a time tamping it down thoroughly between layers.
  • Add a 1" layer of sand (leveled).
  • Set the pavers.
  • Brush sand into the joints, using a stiff bristled broom.
  • Tamp the whole thing (this will wiggle the sand between the pavers locking them in place).

You may have to dig deeper depending on where you want the pavers to sit (at ground level, slightly above ground level), and how thick the pavers are. You'll want 5-6" of the base material, plus 1" of sand, plus the paver thickness (keep in mind the 1" of sand may compact a bit when you set the pavers, and after the final tamp).

To make the job easier, you might want to rent a Plate Compactor this will make tamping the base material easier and help lock in the pavers after you sweep the sand in the joints.

Typically when you build this type of "patio" you'll have to worry about drainage, so you'll want to slope the whole thing enough to allow the water to run to a safe location. In this case you probably won't have to worry so much, unless the patio is right up against the house.

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This seems a bit of overkill for two pavers... –  Martha Jun 29 '11 at 21:46
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@Martha: It may be overkill in this situation, but I wrote the answer so it could be useful to more than just the OP. This answer could help anybody building a small paver patio. –  Tester101 Jun 30 '11 at 11:57
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I did this exact thing last summer for my grill by the pool. Tester101 is right, do it right the first time, even for a small area such as this. –  billoreid Jun 30 '11 at 13:15

If it's just a base for a reasonably small barbecue then all you really need to do is get the pavers level.

Rather than build up you want to dig out the turf in a 4ft x 2ft rectangle to create a level base. Then add a layer of builders sand, level that off and simply rest the pavers on top of that.

You could add a layer of gravel/small stones before you add the sand, but that will depend on the soil. Having the gravel will aid drainage.

As there's not going to be any real weight on the pavers and you've got a hole for them to sit in, I don't think it would be strictly necessary to cement them down.

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Depends on how long you want it to last. If you dig down about a foot, then backfill it with 3/4" crushed gravel, it'll be pretty solid. If you don't mind it shifting a little, pavers can go down right on top of earth, but they'll sink in and drift more.

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I did the something similar with my grill about 4 years ago. I laid down 6 18" concrete pavers. There are 3 pavers across and 2 deep.

I would recommend that you dig down about 8". Then put down 4" of paver base gravel and tamp it down. Then apply an additional 3" of paver sand and level it out. Then you can install your pavers.

The stone and sand will prevent the pavers from shifting, and will also help prevent weeds from growing in the joints. You can also install landscape fabric underneath the sand, and use polymeric sand to seal the joints. However, those last 2 steps really aren't necessary.

24" pavers are pretty tough to install because of their size. It will probably be easier to use more smaller sized pavers instead. Other tools I would recommend using would be a level, and a rubber mallet to seat the pavers into the base.

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