a basic question on patio building 101

I am redoing the patio and a walkway this spring/summer. And I want to do it myself, (along with the help of some brawny nephews...) I was reading the other patio thread, and wondered if someone could tell me the basics of laying the patio.
ie. what layers of what, what layer goes first, I gather I must tamp between layers right?, how deep should I dig initially? And how do I figure out how much of each layer of material (ie screenings or sand ) that I should be getting?
My soil is loamy, with some gravel and drains very well.
Thanks! Janet
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Concrete, flagstone, brick, crusher fines? You don't say what you plan to put down for the patio and walkway.
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In my case, the manufacturer of the paving stones had a recommended cross section right in the brochure and had additional installation guides and technical bulletins right on their website. Local landscape material guys were able to recommend the best base rock material for my soil and location (what is cheap here may be expensive there and any number of base materials will work). It just needs to compact firmly and permanently. The paver sales guy gave me additional tips and recommendations.
The basic method is universal and published in a great many books. Some pavers go directly on a sand bed and others go into a mortar bed. You really need to decide what you want first.
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Sorry, I am planning on putting down either concrete or flagstone....
James "Cubby" Culbertson wrote:

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You can probably get away with just compacting what you've got with a mechanical tamper I would think. I'm no expert though. I'm planning to put brick down with a 2-3" layer of crushed base followed by 1" of sand with the bricks on top. I will be compacting the base course and a final compaction of the bricks when done. As for the flagstone, I'd probably go the same route as I just described for brick unless you want to mortar them in place. Check the web out as there are lots of suggestions out there or better yet, call some local places and find out what they recommend. Cheers, cc
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