5 Reasons Why Your Patio Pavers (Still) Aren’t Level

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has nothing on your patio, and watching things roll across the pavers has actually become your least-favorite pastime. But no matter how hard you try, one thing is constant: your patio pavers are not level. How frustrating.

Before you can fix your problem (or prevent it in the future), you need to figure out what’s causing the uneven surface. Here are five possible reasons your patio pavers aren’t level and how to fix them.

The Base Isn’t Compacted

Dips or pothole-like areas in your patio can be the result of a base that wasn’t properly compacted during construction.

This settling issue is caused by not filling in and compacting the soil properly before laying the pavers. That’s especially common if you had to dig up a tree or repair something underground before installing the pavers.

How to make these pavers level: remove the pavers and add a gravel base. Then, you can add back the pavers after the base is level and compacted.

You Didn’t Use the Right Paver Edging (or One at All)

You need a fence to keep your pets from running loose (or digging in your neighbor’s plant beds) — and that’s true for your pavers, too.

Without the right edging to contain your patio, the pavers can shift and separate during time. One sign this is the issue is if the pavers along the edge of your patio are moving away from the rest. You need something around the entire patio to keep the pavers in place.

Having a solid edge system starts with the paver base: It needs to be several inches beyond the edge of the pavers. That way, your edging is going into the base and not soil or the sand. You want it to have firm footing.

Once you have the paver edging laid where you want it, drive it in with metal spikes to keep it in place.

There’s Space Between Your Pavers

The once evenly spaced pavers now have unsightly gaps. But more than being an eyesore, this problem is also making the patio uneven throughout.

patio with pavers

Several things can cause extra space between the pavers, such as edging issues, a faulty base or a lack of compaction. Find the source of the problem to figure out the next course of action to fix pavers that aren't level.

You Have Poor Drainage

Water should easily move across or by your patio, but when it doesn’t, you’ll have problems. Runoff and drainage issues can affect a variety of things on your landscape, including your patio.

You don’t want water pooling up on your pavers, possibly causing problems with the foundation. To keep that from happening, make sure your pavers are slightly higher than the ground surface all of the way around.

Changing the grade around the patio or installing a nearby retaining wall can also help redirect the water, keeping it off of the pavers so they remain level.

The Area Was Never Level

You can’t expect your pavers to be level now if the space was never properly leveled to begin with. Simply removing the grass and excavating the area isn’t enough to prepare the space for pavers. You need to make sure the space is level.

You can do that by placing stakes in the ground and connecting them with string. Then, put a level on the string to see if it’s level, adjusting as needed. Once the strings are level and the ground has been excavated below them, you can add the base and make sure it’s in line with the strings.

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional for Your Patio

There’s one question every homeowner has asked themselves at some point: Can I do it myself, or is it worth hiring a professional?

beautiful paver patio and pergola

Cost shouldn’t be the only deciding factor. Properly installing a patio isn’t a one-day project: It takes time, money, supplies, experience and patience if you want it done right.

Don’t jump into doing the project yourself unless you’re ready to invest all of those things. It takes an expert to know how to level patio pavers the right way. 

If you decide to hire a landscape contractor to install your dream paver patio, make sure they have the right experience. Most will provide some sort of warranty for their work, giving you peace of mind.

At Outback Landscape, we’ll create a design before we ever break ground so you know exactly what your patio will look like. Our experienced team knows how to ensure a stunning (and level) patio. Check out our hardscape project photos to get ideas for your patio project.

Call us at 208-656-3220, or contact us online to start enjoying a well-constructed paver patio.

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