The first step of installing a paver patio is to treat your backyard as a blank canvas and imagine how you want the patio to look and fit in the space you have. Using a pencil and paper, create a sketch of the shape and estimated size of the patio, keeping in mind also the type of paver stones and pattern you want. Note any existing structures that can be worked into the patio or ones that might hinder your plan, such as your home itself, fences, trees, etc.
Go outside and measure the area with a tape measure. Outline an area approximately 12" larger than you wish the finished patio to be. Mark the dimensions with stakes and landscaping twine.
Contact your utility company to locate and mark any underground pipes and wires before you start digging.