It is important to remember that any structure is only as solid as its foundation; the same is true for installing a patio. Whether you are laying large 24”x24” patio stones or 4”x8” cobble stones the foundation method remains the same.
1) Mark your area where you are going to install your patio, and begin digging it out. When you begin you not only want to dig down the height of your slabs you’re laying down but 2 to 4 inches deeper. Drive some stakes into the ground outside the perimeter and wrap some twine around the stakes at the height of the top of your patio.
2) Once the area is dug out and you have the appropriate depth it is time to put down a weed barrier to be followed with 2 to 4 inches of crushed limestone (screening). The limestone has a natural ability to prevent weed growth between the gaps in your patio, and the landscape fabric (weed barrier) is an extra layer of defence.
3) Spread the screening around with a rake, and then level it out with a straight 2×4, gently shifting it back and forth filling all the low spots.
4) Tamp the crushed limestone flat. Depending on the size of the patio you may want a high powered tamper if it is larger or a simple hand tamper if it is a smaller area.