Step 1: Clear Area for Checkerboard Project
Clear your chosen checkerboard area of all grass and weeds and then rake
it over, making the area as flat and even as possible. At the same
time, remove any stones you come across.
Step 2: Compact Soil for Checkerboard Project
Use a wooden board—such as a scaffolding plank—to compact the soil,
making it more even and easier to lay the pavers on to. Move it
gradually across the area, walking across it each time it is laid.
Step 3: Measure Squares for Grid Pattern on Ground
Measure the pavers and then, on opposite sides of the area, mark out the
measurements with sticks and stretch twine or string between them.
Repeat on the other edges, making sure the lines are parallel and
Step 4: Add Sand to Squares for Pavers to Bed Into
The squares on which the pavers are going to be laid should be covered
with sand to a depth of about 2 in (5 cm). This will give the pavers
something to bed into, and will make laying and levelling much easier.
Step 5: Firm Sand in Squares for Pavers
After you have put all of the sand in place it will need to be leveled
out and consolidated. This is most easily done by “firming” it down
lightly, all over the square, with the back of a rake.
Step 6: Use Mortar to Hold Paver in Place on Ground
Mix up a wet mortar of four parts sand (half and half sharp sand and
building sand) to one part cement or use a ready mix. Place a
trowel-full in each corner and one in the center. This will firmly hold
the paver in place.
Step 7: Check Level of Each Paver
Put the paver carefully in its place and use the wooden end of a mallet
gently to knock the corners until it is level. It is essential to use a
small spirit level here, checking the level in all directions.
Step 8: Fill Empty Squares with Topsoil to Level
To bring the planted squares up to the level of the paved squares, fill
in with topsoil. This will help with maintenance in the long run,
particularly if you are sowing grass and will need to run a mower over
Step 9: Plant Squares with Creeping Thyme or Grass
Plant up your squares. We have used a creeping thyme, but other good choices would be Soleirolia soleirolii, chamomile “Treneague”, or grass. Grass could be sown from seed in the fall or spring or cut pieces of turf to fit.
Step 10: Water New Plants Thoroughly Through First Season
Water your plants in and then keep them well watered for the first
season, until they are well established. Weed regularly until the plants
knit together. New grass seed will need several months before it can be
Step 11: Let The Kids Play!
Children are bound to create their own stories of stepping stones over
swamps and fast-flowing rivers but they can also use colored (and
temporary) chalk to make a game of hopscotch—and enjoy the scent when
they miss a step.
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