Methods for Laying a Brick Paver Walkway

Brick pavers can be laid in various patterns and colors, all of which are at the DIYer’s disposal. These days, you can find brick pavers in a dizzying array of sizes, shapes, and hues at any home improvement store or masonry supply warehouse. Before deciding on the materials for your walkways, make sure to shop around at a few different stores. Paver walkway installation is not complicated but does take significant physical effort. The quantity of effort required to construct a walkway rises if the walkway is not immediately adjacent to a location where delivery pallets may be put. In this line of work, friends can be invaluable resources.

It would be best if you began by designing the walkway. If the new walkway will have curves, a garden hose is a great planning tool. Start with a rough outline of the desired shape for the hose and refine it until it’s perfect. Mark the hose site with normal lawn lime and a paper cup to designate one side of the new walkway. Be cautious about scrubbing the lime off the hose and your hands before using it again. It’s fantastic for lawns and won’t hurt the environment. Cut a two-by-four six inches longer than the width of your walkway to create a helpful tool. It can be used as a screed board to level the base sand beneath the pavers and as a measuring tool to ensure you have created a broad enough area for the pavers during the designing phase. Now, excavate a three-inch-wide path through the soil, gravel, earth, etc.,, that lines the walkway’s edges. Digging the walkway two inches deeper than the pavers’ thickness is recommended. To ensure that the stones sit at the same level as the surrounding grass or driveway, dig down to a depth equal to the thickness of the stones plus two inches.

After you are done digging, fill the bottom of the hole with stone dust or concrete sand to a depth of at least two inches. Screed the sand with a two-by-four and a carpenter’s level, ensuring it is slightly higher than the final elevation. The sand needs to be compacted using a gasoline-powered mechanical tamper once it has been placed. It’s important to remember that the compacted sand will settle, so you may need to put more material across the walk to get it to the desired height. It’s essential to be meticulous in this work. The finished surface of the pathway will show whatever imperfections you made in the sand, such as divots or bumps. The compacted sand or dust should extend beyond the final walkway’s width by at least three inches on either side.

Always a good idea is to use a string line to mark the position of one side of the walk. When one line is straight, the second line will do the same. Get going on placing your pavers in the design of your choice. It doesn’t matter if you lay them down in a straight line, a lap bond, a diagonal, or a herringbone. It will go much quicker if you have a helper with a wet saw who can cut and place any smaller pieces throughout the entire width of the walk. Install the ground nails or pegs and the plastic brick edge retainer strip as you go to keep the bricks in place. Drive the ground nails into the ground while holding the retainer strip as close to the pavers as possible. The pavers won’t be able to shift to the side like that. Keep laying pavers until you’ve completed the project.
With a sturdy, stiff brush, sweep the sand/dust back and forth and diagonally over the pavers, pressing as much material down into the joints as they will accept. This should be done using the same material used as the pathway’s sub-base. Many builders use a combination of stone dust and water to pack joints even more securely. Now go back and forth across the entire walkway with the compactor. The compactor will not only force the pavers down into the sub-base but also settle the sand/dust into the joints. In this stage, the noise levels will be extremely high.

After you’ve compacted the pavers, you can return whatever was there before. Cover the holes with topsoil and new grass seed if it was grass, before covering and burying the plastic retainer strip. A brick paver walkway will remain forever and only improve in appearance with time.

Toby Ackerson
Software for Building Inspection and Code Enforcement (BICES)

Pete Ackerson has worked in the construction industry for over 40 years as a building inspector and a construction boss. Everything from public and commercial institutions to single-family residences, multi-family developments, and large-scale residential landscaping projects. He has experience in the office of building design and building construction in the Eastern United States. Wagsys LLC, which he co-founded with two other building inspectors in 2006, developed software for city departments such as building inspection, planning, and zoning.

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