Paver Path – Hard Work, But Worth Every Sore Muscle!

Hi all, it’s Matt, the other half of theDIYvillage team!
It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, I’ve been taking advantage of this amazing weather and have been busy at work on what feels like a million different yard projects!
I’m excited to finally be able to show you our latest completed outdoor project,
our new paver path!
DIY Paver Path Tutorial
Originally, we had planned on installing a small paver area just big enough to store our rolling trash can…Obviously, we expanded on that idea just a little…
We found that the grass area on the side of the house didn’t get enough sun to dry out, so since we were already laying a paver area for the trash can, we decided to fix the muddy side yard by adding a paver path.
First off, we chose the area we wanted to make into our pathway and began digging.
And then when we got done with that we dug some more…
We made sure to dig down deep enough to put down a 4 inch layer of crusher run gravel, 1-1/2 inch layer of manufactured sand, and a 3 inch paver.
DIY Paver Path Tutorial
Once the pathway had been excavated, it was time to bring in the gravel base.
We trucked in 3 tons of crusher run gravel and used a hand tamper to help pack the gravel in place.
DIY Paver Path TutorialDIY Paver Path Tutorial
Once the crusher run gravel was tamped into place, we brought in a little over a ton of manufactured sand.  I started by the garage door so that we’d be able start laying the pavers from inside the garage and work our way out.
DIY Paver Path Tutorials
It’s important to make this layer of sand as level as possible, since it’s what the pavers will actually lay on. I used two pieces of 1/2″ PVC to help guide my straight edge as I spread the sand.  I laid the PVC about 4′ apart and made sure that they were sitting level.  Then I took a scrap piece of wood that I had and rested it on top of the pvc pipes.  I let the wood ride on top of the pipes and pulled backward leaving a level layer of sand for the pavers!
DIY Paver Path Tutorial
Then we started to layout the pavers in a basket weave pattern.  This particular pattern required us to leave spaces open. Once the pattern was laid out we were able to go back and custom fit/cut the remaining blocks to complete the pattern.  We used a dead blow hammer to “set” the paver block in place as we built the pattern out.  I periodically checked to make sure we stayed level.

*Safety Note-WATCH your fingers and hands while using a dead blow hammer-they hurt… a lot *

Once we made it to the gate, we modified the pattern by making 3 transition rows of all squares.  I just thought it would be a nice touch to take you into the area in front of the gate!

DIY Paver Path TutorialDIY Paver Path Tutorial
If this project wasn’t already challenging, I decided that I wanted to curve around the corner rather then come to a right angle.  So we laid out the inner blocks and left the spaces for piecing together the curve for later.
DIY Paver Path Tutorial
I used poster board to create templates for the curved border pieces.  I knew where my borders needed to meet up, so first, I cut all the poster board to the size of my rectangle blocks and then began to shape them with angles to achieve my desired curve.  This made for a lot cutting later on and yes, it was tedious work, but I was really happy with how the pattern turned out!  Just in case anyone was wondering, I used a handheld power cutter, a heavy duty saw with a diamond cutting blade.  Be prepared for a lot of dust…I may have left the garage door open when I was cutting…and Jacque may still be pointing out all of the dust she keeps finding…Oops!
DIY Paver Path Tutorial
DIY Paver Path Tutorial
We wanted to make sure that the pathway didn’t shift over time, so we mixed up some quickcrete and poured a toe restraint around the sides of the pavers.  All that means is that we poured the concrete to the side of the path, low enough that it holds the pavers in place, but where we could still cover it with dirt later on. Then we spread 2 buckets of polymeric sand to fill in the gaps between the pavers.  This sand hardens when water is added, but it stays flexible enough hold up to weather related ground movement without cracking.
DIY Paver Path TutorialDIY Paver Path Tutorial
The only thing left to do was to fill the areas around the pathway with dirt. DIY Paver Path Tutorial
DIY Paver Path Tutorial
This pathway was a challenging but rewarding project for Jacque and I.
I am pleased to report that I can now stand, sit, walk, lay, and breathe without any pain or soreness – this project was a lot more physically demanding than I had expected!
We couldn’t be happier with the end result and can’t wait to share the rest of our outdoor projects with you soon!
What outdoor projects have you been working on lately?
Thanks for checking us out!
Matt
DIY Paver Path Tutorial

Comments

  1. Stephanie says

    It looks amazing!! If I would have seen the before and afters without knowing I would have NEVER thought it was DIY!

  2. says

    Hi Matt! First of all this looks amazing. I would love to have something like this at my house. Secondly, you are so brave!! I would be terrified to tackle this big of a project. I like to stick to my furniture makeovers. That's a lot less scary. Congrats on a job well done!
    XOXO,
    Rachel

    • says

      Rachel, I really appreciate your comments! I'm lucky that Jacque doesn't mind me making a mess, plus she trusts me to finish the project, even if there are some bumps (or sore thumbs!) along the way…And this is just the tip of the iceberg, we've been working on a landscape install over the last few months! I definitely see a series of outdoor project posts on the horizon!
      Thanks again,
      Matt

  3. says

    Oh, I am so inspired! It looks fantastic. We've been dying to put in a paver (or flagstone) path at our renovated church. I'm a little scared of all the work but it's clearly worth it!

  4. says

    You are featured this week on Busy Monday at A Pinch of Joy! We've installed a couple of paver walks and I have to say you did it well and you did it right! Very impressive. Hope you will stop by and grab a Featured Button. Can’t wait to see what other project you’ve been working on — hope you will link again soon!

    • says

      Charlene, thank you so much for the feature!!! We are ecstatic over the response we've been getting for the pavers! We'll definitely stop by and grab a button, and we'll be excited to share more of our projects with you!

  5. Anonymous says

    Looks awesome! We are wanting to DIY a circular paver area for a firepit. Your success is inspiring. :)
    Becky Jane

  6. says

    Yea! It looks sooo good! I love that you gave it a border too. That really adds! I've done an entire patio like this before…I KNOW how much work it is! So job well done! It looks awesome!

    –Katie
    @ Creatively Living

    • says

      Katie,

      Thank you so much for checking us out! I'm thankful for feedback from anyone whose worked with pavers! I'm considering a patio in the backyard and am glad to have this experience under my belt!

  7. says

    Looks great!
    I love it!
    I am so glad you came by to link up to the party at Embracing Change!
    Please come back this week again! I would love to have you there!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  8. says

    Hey Jacque & Matt!!
    Guess what?!
    You guys gave me the Liebster Blog Award last month now I'm giving you the Versatile Blog Award in return!
    I can't get enough of all your fun and fabulous projects!
    Surely something to be awarded :)
    Check out my site for more info and keep on being versatile!
    XOXO,
    Rachel

  9. says

    You two have got some serious DIY going on at your house. I saw your trellis wall last week and stopped back by and noticed this amazing paver project! Love what you are doing here and congrats on your Newbie Spotlight!

    -Lynn

    • says

      Thank you so much! I wish I were a pro! Ultimately, my goal was to stay with it until I was happy with the outcome. The curve grew into more than I expected, but looking back, I wouldn't do it any other way!

  10. says

    Thanks so much for linking up for our Summer Before and After series! That sure was a lot of digging by hand!!! :) Looks great!
    Feel free to grab a button and share the contest with your readers!

    • says

      Kristal, you're right, it is intimidating, but it really was worth the work. I've actually considered extending it all the way into our side yard. I'll probably wait until the fall though, it's way to hot here in TN!

  11. KrysFL says

    Looks great but I have a few questions… what did you cut the pavers with when you needed to fit them? Are there a specific pavers to use for the rounded corners or did you cut those at an angle?

    • Matt says

      We used a 16″ concrete saw for all of the cuts. And as far as the rounded corners, those are just angled cuts. Depending on the size of the pavers being used, using a larger diameter angle grinder would allow you to actually round the corners.

    • Matt says

      Keri, Every time I even walk on the paver path I remember how sore I was when I got done! Ha ha! But truthfully, I love how it turned out and am thinking about some more paver work! If you talk your husband into it, make sure to let me know! I’d love to see the results!

  12. says

    Hey, great job. We just bought my in-laws house and inherited a half-done job of pavers in the backyard. We’re having a problem with the sand my father-in-law put inbetween the pavers as the grains look too big to me and we are constantly stepping on sand. They never seem to be not covered in sand. Have you had any problems with your polymeric sand coming out of the spaces inbetween the pavers?
    Caren with a C recently posted..Bathroom Facelift Project Before & After PhotosMy Profile

    • Matt says

      Caren, We have not had any problems out of the polymeric sand that we put in. When it’s installed, wetting down the sand is supposed to help “set” it…Obviously, it doesn’t set up like concrete, but it shouldn’t be popping out of spaces in between.

  13. says

    This looks so amazing!! Dust and minor injuries are worth it when the end result looks like this. :)

    We started a project somewhat similar to this a number of years ago, but stalled out because the pavers we were using were discontinued. You have a couple in yours that’s similar to the size we used, and I was wondering where you purchased these from? I’m sure it’s probably not from a box store, but in case they were, I’d love to know. We only have 1/3 left to go on ours and it’s driving me nuts not to have it completed.
    BethM@Under A Pile of Scrap! recently posted..Thrift Store GoodiesMy Profile

  14. Mike S. says

    Hey Matt, What a fantastic job you did! Congrats! I’m in the middle of debating whether to pave my patio or hire someone. I’ve been reading articles and checking out websites and it looks like a whole lot of hard work. How did you determine how deep you needed to go and how much gravel and sand you needed? 3 Tons seems like a mighty lot lol. I’m planning to do an area around 11 X 13 and then set up our Gazebo on top.

    Thanks!

    Mike

    • Matt says

      Thanks Mike! I consulted with a local hardscape company, who recommended that I go with a 4″ base layer of crusher run. I found an online concrete calculator to figure the materials that I would need. You basically just plug in the length, width, and depth that you plan on putting down and it gives you an answer in cubic yards, which is how gravel is sold. So if you have an area 11×13 and you decided to put down gravel 4″ thick, you’re looking at needing 1.77 cubic yards. Sorry for the lengthy answer, but I hope that helps!

  15. Kara says

    It looks so great!! We’re starting on ours this weekend, and was so wondering how much you spent from start to finish?? Also what was the name/style of your pavers? Thanks:)

  16. says

    This looks AMAZING. Love it. You guys did a fantastic job. I can totally appreciate all of the hard work that went into this project. My husband and I are working on our own brick sidewalk right now, and boy is it turning into a major task! Our ground is rock hard red clay, so it has been extremely hard to dig down deep enough. If ours turns out even halfway as gorgeous as yours, I’ll be pleased ;) Job well done you two.
    Kendra at New Life on a Homestead recently posted..If You’re Gonna Do Any Pickling, You’ll Wanna Grow Dill!My Profile

  17. Britni says

    Great job!! How much did the project cost? Looking to do this over a larger area and worried about the $$$.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Paving stones (pavers) will often eliminate muddy areas in your yard or garden simply by elevating the area you walk on. If you walk back and forth across the yard in the same place often enough, the grass and the dirt beneath tends to sink. After a time, the grass’ roots flattened out so when it rains the ground underneath will hold more water than the surrounding areas. Pavers are a great way to take care of this minor problem (see example here). […]

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