Installing Decorative Brick and Stone Pavers

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    Hardscaping is the term given to items in your yard that are not plant based and Brick Pavers are one of the easiest ways to improve your outdoor living space.

    Many people will use them just for a pathway from their driveway to the front door or maybe as a path to their mailbox but you can also use pavers to create a patio or greeting area near your front door.

    Brick Pavers come in many different styles, colors, shapes and textures. The traditional fired brick material has now been replaced for the most part by concrete and comes in standard shapes or decorative shapes that interlock.

    Stone pavers are a little more expensive then Brick or Concrete and are great for decorative edging or for driveways. Concrete pavers are also good for driveways but brick can tend to absorb more oils from your car and can also break easier under the pressure of vehicles.

    If you are planing a driveway you should ask your supplier if the product you are interested in will be able to be cleaned easy and can withstand the weight of your car. Thicker 4″ concrete pavers will probably be required and a good mechanically compacted base of gravel and stone dust will be best to reduce heaving and movement.

    Lets take a look at the basic steps to install any paver system.

    If the area you will be working on is now covered with grass place your lawnmower on its lowest setting and cut the grass as short as you can. 

    Next you will want to mark the area that you want to place the pavers.

    Good measurements are always best so take as many as needed across the width of the path to make sure everything stays even from beginning to end.

    If you have a garden hose you can use it to define the curves of pathways.
    If you are installing a Driveway or Patio paver system you can use wood stakes and a string line to define the outline of the area.

    To get the proper width you will want to layout a test pattern of the pavers you will be using. If you are using 6 inch pavers then try to stay on a standard width that can be divided by 6 evenly like 24″, 30″, 36″ inches wide. In many installs you will have an outside paver that runs the length of the walkway as a border that means you will need to add this into your measurements.

    Once you are happy that everything is set up right take a can of danger orange spray-paint that you can get at the dollar store and spray the outline on the grass. This will insure that if someone steps on  your stakes or takes the hose to water plants your design and measurements will still be there.

    Next you will want to remove any grass, plant roots and organic topsoil in the area you have just laid-out. If you have a large area of grass to remove you can rent a sod cutter which cuts 1 foot wide swatches of grass with its roots just like you see them selling at the Garden Center. If you have a smaller area you can use a straight nosed shovel. Put the nose of the shovel into the ground about 3 inches and then cut under the grass like you are prying floor tiles off your bathroom floor.  Cutting the sod this way with its roots lets you use chunks of it to fill dead spots in other areas of your lawn but more important it gets the roots out of the soil.

    Now to remove the topsoil you will want to dig down to about 6 inches deep total. This means 3 more inches or so of digging. I highly recommend that you save this soil for use in your flower garden or in other spots in your yard. If you don’t have a need for it now then just make a small pile of it someplace that is out of the way.

    Rake the soil with a metal rake to get the paving bed even and ready for your stone.

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