If you’re starting to think about building a new patio, the first thing that might come to mind is cement. To be precise, you may be worrying about how difficult it can be to work with cement. First you have to make sure you’ve selected exactly the right spot for your patio; after all, a cement patio is definitely not something you can move around later. Then you have to deal with the cement itself: mixing, pouring, and trying to get it in place before it starts to set.

Fortunately, it’s a simple matter to build a beautiful patio with no cement at all. By properly preparing the area and carefully laying brick, tile, flagstones, or other flat building materials, you can create a less expensive patio that will be an ornament to any backyard. A patio made of paving material will have better drainage than a cement patio, and the paving material can even be dug up and moved to a different spot in your yard if you change your mind about where the patio should be.

1. Decide how big you want your patio to be and where you want it to go. Mark off the edges and calculate the area. If you’re building a rectangular patio, you can calculate the area by measuring the length and width and multiplying those together. This will be how you determine how much paving material to buy.

2. Purchase the type of paving material you’ve decided to use. You can usually buy paving material at garden stores, hardware stores, home improvement stores, construction suppliers, and tile outlets.

3. Time to start digging out the patio area. The actual depth needed depends on how well the yard drains; better drainage requires less depth. Some people only dig a few inches down, but four to eight inches seems to be the average. Keep in mind that the deeper you dig, the more stable and sturdy your patio will be. Make sure you remove any rocks, roots, or buried pirate treasure you find while digging.

4. Use bender board or a similar material to line the edges of the hole in the ground. You can support the board by tying it to stakes. This is an optional step. Some people do prefer no edging during their patio construction.

5. Lightly hose down the area.

6. Spread fill material through the patio-to-be to a depth of two to four inches. This can be gravel, road base, recycled crushed concrete, or something similar.

7. If you plan to use weed cloth to keep weeds from sprouting up between your paving pieces, pull it over the road base. This is completely optional. Some people don’t have a problem pulling up the weeds which grow between the paving pieces, and a weed cloth can make it difficult to set the pieces into place if they are different thicknesses.

8. Whether you use weed cloth or not, lightly hose the patio area again.

9. Pour two to four inches of sand into the area.

10. Fit the paving pieces into place. If you want slightly irregular pieces like flagstones to fit together tightly, you may need to shape them before laying them down.

11. Lightly spray the area with water again. This will help the sand set and hold the paving pieces in place.

12. If you plan on putting decorative plants in some of the large spaces between stones, pour sand into the spaces between the paving pieces until it overflows. It’s usually best to leave the whole construction alone for a few days after this so the pieces can settle into place and the sand can work its way down between the stones. If you didn’t leave any large spaces or you plan to fill the spaces with something like river rocks or decorative gravel, you can skip this step.

13. Sweep the patio and water it again.

14. If you’ve left large spaces between stones so you can put in decorative plants, your spaces are now ready for planting. Decorative rocks or gravel be added at this time.

15. Find some comfortable patio furniture and enjoy the results of your labor.

Jacob Pettit is a journalist from Australia. He writes for several newspapers about different topics such as business development, promotion, advertising and many other. Patios Perth – http://www.patioliving.com.au/