from This Old House. I dug down 16-17 inches to start, and then set about obtaining materials. I got the pavers from Home Depot (7" x 10"), but they just had regular gravel (not the 3/4"-2" washed stone, 1/4" pebbles, etc.) and other local hardware stores had similar - or no gravel. Eventually I was directed to PA Landers, and there was one nearby in Sandwich, MA. They were incredibly helpful, it was amazing to drive down into the quarry in my tiny Mazda 3, driving among the towering piles of all different kinds of gravel / stone, and the huge pieces of CAT equipment. I talked to Mike in the office, and on his advice, since drainage isn't really a problem for me, he suggested just using the regular 3/4"-2" stone (not washed) - the stone dust make a more secure base. He also suggested using water between tamping, stone dust between the pavers - great advice.
Before I had left I had improvised a liner by cutting an old carpet mat to cover the back of the car (with the back seats down). I brought a shovel and 5 gallon bucket, and I filled the bucket a couple times with stone and then dumped it into the car to determine ~6 shovelfuls was 5 gallons of material. When I got to about 6 cubic feet in the back of the car it was starting to noticeably sag in the back, so I stopped. I had wanted to get much more, but for a trial run this would be enough. I also got one bucket (5 gallon) of stone dust, then drove carefully back home.
For a 4' x 4' area, the 6 cubic feet of stone would fill a depth of:
6 ft^3 / 16 ft^2 = 0.375 ft = 4.5 inches
The pavers are 2.5" thick, so I needed a depth of about 7". As you can see in the video I filled in the dirt I had previously removed until I got to ~7" depth, tamping each load of dirt down. I then put down the stone, tamped it down, and repeated, again checking the depth as I went. My very quick and dirty screed was to lay down my weed whip tool that fit in the area and make the stone underneath was roughly in contact along its length, for various angles and positions within the area, smoothing and tamping when it wasn't. I then laid down the pavers, adjusting as I went, and then filled in the gaps between them with the stone dust, washing it down several times to fill in the gaps. I used the last bit of stone to fill in the gap around the paver, and a larger gap on the uphill edge I placed some large stones to help hold that corner in place. In the final project I'll probably do some cement around the edge to hold everything in place.
As you can see in the video there is some standing water at the downhill corner; so my initial claim of adequate drainage may be wrong, and the full project may require using the deeper depth and/or washed stone. It may also be because I was spraying it so heavily with the hose; real rainfall probably won't be that heavy.
Here's some pictures of the finished project:
Addendum: making the time-lapse video
I set the camera on a plastic crate on a conveniently located slope, adjacent to the project, and set it to take pictures 1 per second. I then used ffmpeg to stitch them together, however, it took several attempts. The command I was using requires the files to be numbered in order, but the number from the files didn't match chronological order. For example for one set of pictures, the first picture started at ~833, went up to 1144, then back to 1. So I had to use some python and bash scripts to create symbolic links to get them to appear to have numbering that matched chronological ordering.
Here's the ffmpeg command I used:
And here's a link to the page where I found it:
ffmpeg -r 60 -f image2 -s 1920x1080 -i ordered_symbolic_links/DSC_%04d.JPG -vcodec libx264 -crf 25 -pix_fmt yuv420p test.mp4