How to Build a Raised Patio in 6 Steps | Unilock

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How to Build a Raised Patio in 6 Steps

Whether you’re looking to reimagine your backyard space, or create more privacy for family barbecues and events, a raised patio might just be the solution. 

We’ll explain how a raised patio differs from a ground patio and cover how to build a raised concrete patio with a retaining wall in six steps. 

Plus, we’ll point you in the direction of the highest-quality pavers from Unilock — North America’s leading hardscaper.

Explore patio pavers at Unilock


What is a Raised Patio? 

A raised patio is an elevated outdoor living space that is built above ground level. 

Raised patios can be constructed out of a wide range of materials, including concrete, brick or natural stone, and they are often supported by a sturdy structure, like a retaining wall. 

Raised Patio vs. Ground Patio 

While a raised patio is an elevated outdoor living space that is surrounded by a retaining wall, a ground patio is built at ground level and does not require a retaining wall. 

Thanks to its elevated design, a raised patio provides better drainage, compared to a ground patio.

A raised paver patio offers a sense of privacy thanks to the surrounding retaining wall

Key Benefits of a Raised Patio 

Deciding between a raised patio and a traditional patio? Either type will allow you to create an inviting space where you can entertain guests or unwind after a long day. 

However, a raised patio offers key benefits when compared to a traditional patio. 

 A raised patio: 

  1. Allows for installation despite uneven surfaces: A raised patio is a great option if you own a backyard that is sloped, as it utilizes supporting structures such as retaining walls to create a stable and sturdy surface. 
  2. Allows for better privacy: A raised patio’s heightened elevation provides an increased sense of seclusion, effectively shielding your family from the view of neighbors and passersby. This is an important consideration if you are seeking enhanced privacy in your outdoor living spaces. 
  3. Increases curb appeal: A raised patio can help increase your home’s curb appeal, as it enhances the overall look and functionality of your outdoor living space.  


Tools You’ll Need to Build a Raised Concrete Patio 

To build a raised concrete patio with pavers, you’ll need a wide range of tools and materials. 

Here’s a list of must-haves for your raised patio project: 

  • Open-reel measuring tape to calculate the dimensions of the patio and ensure accurate placement of materials 
  • Stakes and a string to mark the perimeter of the patio area 
  • Carpenter’s square to ensure the layout is level and square 
  • Shovel to excavate the area for the patio base and retaining wall 
  • Wheelbarrow to transport materials such as gravel, sand and retaining wall blocks 
  • Level to ensure the base, retaining wall and concrete pavers are level during installation 
  • Vibratory plate compactor or hand tamper to compact the aggregates and set the pavers 
  • Rubber mallet to tap the retaining wall blocks and pavers into place 
  • Landscape fabric to prevent weed growth underneath the patio 
  • Chalk line to create straight lines when laying pavers 
  • Circular saw with a diamond blade to cut concrete pavers and retaining wall blocks as needed for a custom fit 
  • Polymeric sand to fill joints between pavers  
  • Hard-bristle broom to sweep polymeric sand into the gaps between pavers and clean the area during construction 
  • Utility knife to cut landscape fabric or geogrid material as needed 
  • Safety gear (P.P.E.) like gloves, a hard hat, safety glasses and a respirator to protect your body when using power tools and cutting concrete pavers and retaining blocks
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Not sure about a DIY project? Hire an approved Unilock contractor to install your raised paver patio instead


How to Build a Raised Concrete Patio With a Retaining Wall 

Ready to build your dream patio? 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to building a raised concrete patio with a retaining wall: 


1. Plan & Design

Sketch your raised concrete patio on a piece of graph paper to determine the size, shape and location of the patio. 

Next, determine the height, depth and base of the retaining wall. 

If you’re building a wall that’s over 4 feet tall, check with your local municipality as you may need to obtain a building permit. In addition, consider hiring an expert (like a structural engineer) to ensure proper drainage. 


2. Mark the Area

Mark the patio area using a string line and grade stakes. Make sure that the layout is square and level by using a carpenter’s square. 

If you plan on building a curved patio, use a thick rope or garden hose to mark the area. 


3. Excavate the Area

Dig a trench along the area where the retaining wall will be built and ensure the excavated area is level. 

You’ll need to dig a trench of 2 to 3 inches to accommodate your gravel base, along with several inches to cover half of the first layer of blocks. 

For example, if your pavers are 4 inches, the trench should be 5 to 7 inches deep.   


4. Prepare the Base

Add a layer of landscape fabric to prevent weeds from growing in between the concrete pavers. 

Then, add 2-3 inches of gravel or crushed stone as the base. Compact it using a vibratory plate compactor or hand tamper to ensure proper drainage for your wall. Make sure that the base is compact and level. 


5. Install the Retaining Wall

Start laying the first level of retaining wall blocks at the base. 

Ensure that the correct side of the block is facing you. Begin at the center of the wall and work your way out to the sides. Use a rubber mallet to tap the blocks into place. 

Stack the additional levels of retaining wall blocks. To create a pattern similar to brickwork, each row should be offset by half the length of the block. (If you need design inspiration, check out our guide on top paver pattern trends!) 

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for adding any necessary reinforcement, such as geogrid or pins, to secure the blocks. 

If your retaining wall blocks are built with groove systems, they don’t need adhesive in order for them to lay on top of each other. 

Unilock tip: For a more complete guide on how to build a retaining wall, check out our blog on how to build an interlocking concrete block retaining wall. 


6. Install the Pavers

Spread 1 inch layer of concrete sand on top of the compacted gravel base. 

Lay the concrete pavers, starting from one corner, and maintain a consistent pattern throughout the patio. 

Use a rubber mallet to gently tap each concrete paver into place, ensuring that each paver is level with the surrounding pavers. Fill the gaps between the pavers with polymeric sand to help keep the pavers in place. 

Once your raised concrete patio and retaining wall is complete, it will need a little bit of TLC. Regularly clean your patio and check signs for sunken or loose pavers that may need to be fixed, to ensure your patio holds up and remains beautiful for years to come.

Build your raised paver patio with Unilock. Explore pavers


Explore Heavy-Duty Pavers for Your Raised Patio at Unilock 

At Unilock, we provide the expertise and products you need to build the outdoor space of your dreams. 

Transform your hardscaping project into a stunning outdoor oasis with our durable concrete pavers that are perfect for creating both intimate and grand patios. 

Our most popular pavers for patio projects include Copthorne®, Artline™, Nordic Cobble™ and Estate Wall™. 

In addition to concrete patio pavers, we offer heavy-duty pavers that act as retaining wall blocks to provide an extra layer of stability for your raised concrete patio. 

Our most popular wall pavers for retaining walls include Sienastone™, Dura-Hold II® and Pisa™. 

Our Classic Coat technology enhances the appearance and durability of our Classic retaining wall pavers. This innovation enhances the color and helps protect the surface from wear and tear. 

By utilizing these factory-sealed pavers, you eliminate the need for after-market sealing, saving both time and money. 

Elevate your outdoor living space by transforming even the simplest project into a captivating retreat with our extensive collection of pavers. 

Need help building your raised paver patio? Find a Unilock Authorized Contractor


Key Takeaways on Building a Raised Patio 

With the right planning and execution (and expert help if needed!), a raised concrete patio can become the stunning focal point of your outdoor oasis. 

From providing better drainage to adding value to your home, a raised concrete patio offers several benefits over a traditional patio. 

Whether you’re looking to create an intimate setting for relaxation, or a vibrant hub for social gatherings, our extensive selection of durable and striking pavers at Unilock can help ensure that your raised concrete patio stands the test of time, so you can enjoy it for years to come. 

Explore our pavers and wall blocks and find the perfect materials to bring your vision to life.

Build your dream patio with Unilock. Explore pavers



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