I have dug out the rough patio shape down to the required depth. Not sure of one thing, should I inset the patio some measurement from the rough edge or can I lay the patio up against the rough edge? Accounting for square of course.

I'm asking because I don't know if I need to account for paver edging or if the edging can be placed on the outside of the rough area. Also, not sure if patios expand and contract so perhaps this may be another reason to give it some "breathing space."


  • It is really opinion some like gaps and fill with sand some like A tight fit. You will need space for your edging depending on the type selected. – Ed Beal Jun 4 '20 at 14:13
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    Your stone/concrete pavers will expand, but minimally (especially in comparison to wood). The gaps inherent in setting them will allow more than enough expansion space. If you leave some sort of gap between the rough dig space and the edge of the patio, you'll have a moat. That will either be a trip hazard or you'll have to fill it with something. You could fill it with sand (polymetric, or it will wash away), small gravel, or dirt/grass. – FreeMan Jun 4 '20 at 14:35
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    I think the main point is missed here. The edging, whether a part of the paver design for an edge look or the last row of pavers, are set in concert to lock the pavers in place in the grid, For comment about a moat, if a shallow moat was on the edge, without the concrete, the edge pavers over time slide into the moat. If just soft dirt (lawn) is the transition, again, without the concrete or suitable retention, the pavers would start to develop gaps as it press against the softer ground. Sometimes this retention wall is concret about 1-2" below the surface against the last row. – Programmer66 Jun 4 '20 at 16:40
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    For a gap is needed for expansion, Look at paved brick driveways, There is no added gap between the sidewalk and the pavers, nor where the pavers meet the garage floor. Just the normal installation gaps as the results of the rough surface. – Programmer66 Jun 4 '20 at 16:47
  • Thanks all for the good info! I definitely do not want to pour concrete around as edging. it's just not a good look. And it's more work anyways. – user1013388 Jun 5 '20 at 2:45

The rough cut is not dug out to the exact measurement of the finish patio dimension. So you would not be laying pavers againt the edge of the roughcut. You still need the space to make laying the last row easy. After the pavers are laid, you just backfill the roughcut.

While you do not have to do this. the last row is laid in concrete to lock all the pavers in. Some of the concret is allowed to go up the side of the last row but still beneath the surface. The other methods is to use commercial paver retainers which uses long spikes to hold the retainer strips in place. This prevents the pavers over time from creeping outward leaving large gaps. You would have seen this on older patios where the edge rows become uneven or moved outward where a blocking barrier was not used.

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