Tips for Laying Pavers for a Walkway or Patio

Man with knee pads and gloves installing pavers with hammer Image: Curbly.com

One thing to make sure you do: Have your pavers delivered. They weigh a ton.

Installing pavers isn’t complicated. Basically, you:

  1. Lay a gravel base (crushed rock).
  2. Tamp it down using a plate compactor or hand tamper.
  3. Add an inch-thick setting bed, a layer of sand that you smooth out until it’s level. The pavers sit on top of the setting bed, and are held in place by plastic edging on the sides.

But it is hard, physical labor. One thing that helps: have your pavers delivered. They are super heavy. Here are other tips for a successful project.

DIY Back Yard Paver Project

Video: Bruno Bornsztein of Curbly.com and family makeover back walkway

Tips for Laying Pavers

  • Only spread as much gravel base and leveling sand as you think you can cover with pavers in a day (you don’t want it getting rained on).
  • When putting down your base and setting bed, work in big segments, not little ones. This minimizes subtle changes in height/slope between sections.
  • To move quickly, have one person lay the pavers and have a helper hand them to the person laying them.
  • Wear knee pads and gloves. Get gloves that fit snugly — not those bulky garden gloves — for dexterity.
  • For a level, smooth surface to lay your pavers on, place two one-inch-diameter PVC pipes on the gravel. Level the pipes. Spread leveling sand between them, and then use a long board to smooth out the sand (called screeding).
  • Cover everything with tarps in-between sessions.
  • Make sure you budget enough time, and add a day for surprises or bad weather.

Tips for Cutting Pavers to Fit a Curve

  • Put down all your paver stones.
  • Make sure they extend beyond the final finished area.
  • Using a string and stake, sketch out your curve with a marker on the paver stones.
  • Then pull the bricks up, numbering the bottoms as you go. You can take them all to the wet saw and make a bunch of cuts at once. You’ll also end up with a neater edge, since the cuts will line up nicely with each other.

Related: Guide to Choosing Pavers