Paving bricks and stones, whether natural or man made, make beautiful and utilitarian sidewalks and pathways. Installing them properly insures that they will last a lifetime.
Laying a proper foundation for the brick or stonework is the most important step.
- Mark out the borders of your pathway.
- Remove all the grass or sod with a grub hoe or square point shovel.
- Dig out the topsoil to a depth equal to the thickness of the paving material plus four inches for sub grading materials.
- Determine the pattern you want to use. You can lay your pattern out on paper or mark out an area on your lawn that corresponds to the dimensions of your pathway and experiment by laying the paving stones or bricks out in different patterns until you find one that you like.
- Install the border material of your choice. You can use border strips especially designed for the purpose or you can make your own with lumber.
- Anchor the border strips with small stakes placed inside the pathway and up against the border material.
- Lay down a layer of pea gravel, crushed rock, or drainage rock at least two inches thick for proper drainage. Level the gravel with a 2 x 4 cut the width of the pathway or use a rake.
- Put in a layer of clean fine sand to within the thickness of the paving material from the top of the border and level it the same way as you did the gravel.
- Water the sand well and let it set until it is barely damp. This will help the sand to settle and compact firmly.
- Where you begin to install the paving material depends on the pattern you have chosen. Basically, it is best to start at one end or one corner and work down the length of the pathway, aying bricks or paving stones one at a time and tamping them into place with the wooden handle of a mallet or hammer. Be careful not to tamp too sharply and break the brick or stones. If you need to cut the brick or stone, use the proper chisel and hammer for cutting masonry along with safety goggles and gloves, or use a masonry saw while using safety aids.
- Tamp the side of the paving material to bring it in tightly to its neighbor and tamp the top to imbed the paving stone or brick into the damp sand base.
- Level the brick or stone to itself and to its neighbor with a short torpedo level. If the pathway is on a hillside, just make sure the bricks or stones are even with the ones next to it so there are no raised up edges to trip over.
- After the initial installation, sweep a thin layer of fine sand over the paving material to fill in any small cracks and help prevent the pavers from moving as they are walked on.
- Give the pathway a final watering to settle the sand one final time. Let the pathway dry, sweep it off, and enjoy!
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