To make a path practicable in all seasons, the paving stone is the ideal material, as it is very sturdy given that its base material is made of cement or terra cotta. The various installation steps proposed below allow you to have a well-designed trail that will give you full satisfaction. You can thus give your garden a new look by choosing from the various possible arrangements.

Paving stones can be made of concrete or terra cotta. The subtle blend between these two types of paving stones is most apparent with two different colours, especially when they are wet. Thanks to the many available choices of paving stones, there are different ways to lay them out, which only depend on your patience and personal taste.

The existing paving stones varieties

The basic models are usually rectangular and have wavy or smooth edges. Pattern models allow you to have decorative circles and curves. Each company produces its own patterns that are often interchangeable from one manufacturer to another. For standard paving stones, a square layout using 4 paving stones is often used, however, the technique that consists of placing the paving stones along the diagonal called “fishbone” is just as possible.

Gather all the required equipment before starting work

For a well-paved path, do not skimp on the means. Draft a list of essential materials, even if it is relatively long, as it will guarantee you a job well done and you will not come across annoying problems that could prevent you from carrying out the work. Thus, you should bring a wheelbarrow sturdy enough to carry the paving stones from the location where they are stored to your garden path. An electric concrete mixer and a tamping machine, both of which are available for rent, will also be required. You’ll also need a shovel and an angle grinder of which the grinding disc has a diameter of 9 inches (230mm). A few common hardware such as a brush, a trowel, boards, cords, an aluminium ruler as well as a rubber mallet, are as important as they are practical. Finally, precision tools such as a spirit level and tape measure allow you to measure and verify all measurements.

The different steps for the installation of pavers

The pavers should be placed on a flat, stable surface. Start by digging the ground to a depth of 8 inches (20 cm). If it is very loose, plan to dig up to 14 inches (35 cm) below ground surface. Remember to put in a slope for better drainage of your walkway. To do this, you will have to plant stakes spaced out by regular 5 foot (1.5 m) intervals. On one of these stakes, mark the height at which your pavers will be placed, then carry over this height on the other stakes by using a level. A slope of 1/4 inch per foot (2 cm per meter) will allow the water to drain properly. Then stretch some cords between the stakes at the previously marked heights. Using a rake, spread a layer of gravel and a stabilizing sand bed made up of 10 parts of sand for one part cement. This layer must reach an inch (2 cm) above the cords, before being packed using the tamping machine. The ruler will be used to smooth out the sand bed and then the excess sand will be removed by making zigzag movements. Once all these steps completed, you can begin to lay the pavers starting at the edge of the walkway and by working on the placed stones so as not to walk on the stabilizing layer. Once the pavers are laid, use a hard brush to spread white sand to fill in the gaps. Finally, use a power tamper to level the surfaces in a uniform manner.

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Published in Decorating guide by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011