- tape measure
- bubble level
- shuttering boards
- sharp sand
- hand rammer or plate compactor
- paving blocks or bricks
- rubber mallet
- garden brush
Step 1: Measure the Path
Mark with string and long wood pegs, spaced every 5 feet. Allow enough room for shuttering boards and decorative edging.
Step 2: Make Room for Gravel and Sand
Dig out enough soil between the string to accommodate layers of gravel and sand as well as the blocks. Check levels along the path using a bubble level.
Step 3: Build a Slope
The path must slope gently to one side in order to drain properly. Angle it away from house or garden walls to avoid water problems. Check levels again.
Step 4: Enclose the Path Area
Enclose the path area by nailing the shuttering boards to the pegs. Check levels once more; any adjustments can be made by easing the pegs up and down.
Step 5: Spread a Layer of Gravel
Use a hand rammer or rented plate compactor to tamp it down thoroughly.
Step 6: Spread a Layer of Sharp Sand
Level the surface by pulling a length of wood across the path toward you. Fill in any hollows with extra sand.
Step 7: Lay Block Paving
Use shallow blocks to sit on the sand’s surface. Full-sized paving bricks should be tamped into the sand and left above the surface by 3/4 inch.
Step 8: Fill Gaps With Fine Sand
Paving bricks are butted up close together, but other paving types require regular spaces. When you have finished laying and tamping, brush finer sand into the gaps.
Step 9: Provide Planting Holes
Consider removing one or two small pavers to provide planting holes. Plant with low alpines; these will soften the appearance of the path.
Step 10: Add Decorative Gravel
Finish off block paths by brushing decorative gravel into the gaps between them. This isn’t necessary for brick paths since the blocks are butted up together.
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The surfaces you use in your yard — both hard and soft — will depend on the amount of time that you have available for maintaining them as well as the individual needs of your family.