Pavers are stones used to create external flooring. Paver stones are extraordinarily strong and durable which is why they can support outdoor installations such as driveways, walkways, steps, and decks. In order to ensure the durability of your pavers project, the planning and layout process has to be well-thought-out.  It is arguably the most important step when laying new pavers.

Paver base thickness determines how long your new patio will last. Read on for important information about how to dig out to lay pavers and proper paver preparation for a successful patio project.

Laying New Pavers

Preparation For A Paver Base

The overall strength of your walkway or patio will heavily depend on proper base preparation. Your subsoil and base materials need to be properly placed. Mark the area where the pavers will be placed by putting wooden stakes around it. 

How To Excavate For A Patio?

Before excavating, you can use spray paint to mark the areas that need to be dug. Make sure you make plans for water efficient landscaping and proper draining so that the pavers don’t hold water under them. Also take note of whether there are any underground cables or plumbing so that they can avoided while digging.

How Deep Should A Paver Base Be?

Paver base depth is determined by the type of stones used and the type of sand or gravel that will be laid under them. Paver thickness is generally about 3- to 3 1/2-inches. Therefore, you need to dig a paver patio base depth of about 9 inches (22.86 cm) to accommodate any kind of paver. 5 inches (12.7 cm) of the hole will be filled with the base material for the base such sand or gravel.

After digging the trench for the pavers, compact the soil in the hole then fill it with the gravel foundation. The gravel should be placed in layers and wetted to help with its compaction. Fill the trench until you are left with a space of about 3.5 inches (8.89 cm) for sand and the pavers.

Add about 2 inches (5.08 cm) of sand on the gravel to help compact it further. Keep filling the trench with sand and compacting it until all the gaps in the gravel are filled and the surface level is flat. Remember to level it with a slight drop that allows drainage.

Right Paver Depth


Once your trench is filled with sand and gravel and compacted, you should place base restraints to prevent your base and pavers from shifting due to age or weather conditions. Restraints are normally made from back polymer or plastic and can be purchased from any gardening center.

Place the restraints along the edges of your pavers. They should be dug in every 16 inches and dig them into the base at different angles to secure them.

How Deep to Dig for Pavers

Best Way To Dig For Pavers

Use our tips to properly dig and prepare a foundation for pavers. The right paver depth will lead to a strong base that secures your pavers and makes them long-lasting. For more information about laying pavers such as removing stains from pavers and how to grow moss between pavers read the rest of our blog.