Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

How to Install a Stone_ Paver or Brick Garden Path or Patio


									Pavers, brick, and stone can be dry-laid over a bed of sand by a homeowner without
difficulty. The installation process is fairly simple and is forgiving. In areas where no
frost heave occurs, you can lay large stones directly over compact soil if need be.
Then sweep sand between the stone to help keep them from shifting.

Here we offer a basic step-by-step way to install stones, pavers, and bricks to make a
walkway, patio, or garden path. I will refer to all concrete pavers, bricks or stone as
simply- stone, to save space.

The simplest form of stone paving is laying flat stones directly on the ground. Loosen
the dirt so each stone sits firmly and is supported evenly underneath. Grass or ground
cover grows between the stones and you mow right over them. This method is
appropriate for rustic, natural settings. To help drainage, spread a half-inch layer of
sand over the compacted dirt before laying the stone.

For a formal look or design and to get better drainage, lay stone in compacted sand
over crushed stone. This requires more work, but you'll get a flatter, more even paving
with joints of sand between the stones instead of vegetation. The sand compensates
for irregularities in the ground. Once the bed is in place, laying the stones is a lot like
doing a puzzle. Try different stone combinations until you get the smallest gap
between joints. If using pavers or bricks, the pattern will have been pre-determined.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS YOU MAY REQUIRE - Stones, pavers, or bricks,
tamper, gloves, landscape fabric, safety goggles, tape measure, rubber mallet, string,
plywood, wood stakes, 48-inch level, small sledgehammer, pencil, framing square,
brick hammer, garden hose, pitching chisel, spade, broom, sand, gravel, and kneepads.

BASIC INSTRUCTIONS: The most difficult step in laying stone is preparing the bed.
Normally a two-inch bed of sand is enough if your stones are the same thickness. If
the thickness varies, you may need a deeper sand bed. To keep weeds down, use
landscape fabric. If your soil does not drain well, consider a four-inch bed of gravel
under the sand. Use landscape fabric between gravel and sand when using this method.
If your soil drains poorly and you are in a cold climate, consider an even thicker
gravel base.

When ordering materials, have your measurements with you so the dealer can help
figure your needs. If you are NOT making your own stone, brick or pavers with
concrete molds, purchase 5-10 percent over what you need to allow for breakage,
cutting mistakes, and future repairs.


1. Lay out Your Area- Set stakes to mark the proposed edge of the patio or walk. Mark
the outside corners a bit beyond the proposed edge. Use a framing square to confirm
that the corners form right angles. For free-form shapes, lay out the curves using
garden hose. Now go around the outline, sinking a spade into the earth to score the
perimeter. Once you've scored the ground, remove the stakes, string, or hose.

2. Excavate Soil- Set your stones about 1 inch above the ground. To do this, excavate
to a depth that equals: the thickness of your stone minus 1 inch. Then figure 2 inches
for the sand bed, plus 4 inches for a gravel base if one is needed. Remove all grass,
roots and large rocks from the area to be finished. Now place the gravel if using any.
Tamp it down with a hand or mechanical tamper.

3. Install a Weed Barrier- Install a layer of landscape fabric on the excavation or on
top of the gravel if used. Overlap by 4 to 6 inches. Landscape fabric is designed to
prevent weeds while still allowing water to drain through.

4. Spread and Screed the Sand- Top the landscape fabric with about 2 inches of
regular construction sand. Tamp it down, and use a straight length of 2x4 to screed the
sand level.

5. Install the Stones- Starting in one corner, place the stones on the sand and tamp
them into place using a rubber mallet. Make sure that they are solidly bedded, level,
and do not wobble. If necessary, dig out sand to make the bedding more stable.
Arrange the straight edges toward the outside perimeter and fit any irregular edges
together. Leave a half-inch space between the stones. If using pavers or bricks, butt
them against each other, with a quarter to a half-inch space between them. If you
made your own pavers or bricks with concrete molds to save money, the angle of the
sides needed to enable demolding will automatically give you the spacing when
butted tightly against each other.

TIP: If you have to kneel on the sand to lay stone, use a piece of plywood to keep
from creating depressions. After you have laid a few stones, kneel on the stone instead.
Use a 4-foot-long level to maintain the paving level.

6. Cut and Shape the Stones- Some stones may need to be trimmed for a better fit.
First, hold the stone to be cut over those in place and mark the cutting line with a
pencil or crayon. For small cuts, trim using a brick hammer. For large cuts, score the
marked line with a pitching chisel and hammer. Gently tap off the unwanted piece
using the hammer. With pavers or brick you may not need to trim anything if you've
pre-planned the dimensions of your project.

7. Fill the Joints with Sand- When all stones are in place, sweep the joints full of sand.
Wet the surface with a fine mist from your hose to compact the sand, then sweep more
sand into the joints until they are full. Fill the joints again in a few days when the sand
Now stand back and admire your work!

To top