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Use this checklist when you go to the store and purchase your items.
Think about how you'll use your patio. Build it near a pool or along the house if you want a place to entertain friends.
Include a walkway and small patio near a garden for a quiet retreat for you and your family.
Create an outdoor kitchen with a barbecue area for summer cookouts near your house, so you don't have to walk far for cooking supplies. Design your patio large enough to accommodate outdoor furniture that you already own and want to use.
Mark off the paving area with nylon mason string and stakes.
Level the strings with a line level.
Check the area for square by measuring the diagonals. If they're equal, the area is square. If not, make any necessary adjustments.
Mark the ground with marking paint.
Step back and look at the marked area. Make sure that you won't disturb any nearby tree roots when excavating the ground.
If you aren't satisfied, adjust your lines and mark again.