There are several different ways to create garden paths, but one of the most attractive is to use block pavers. Building a Paver Path is more difficult and time consuming than creating gravel or paving slab paths, but they require no specialist skills and should be possible for anyone to try.
Preparing the Path
1. Using pegs and strings, mark out the edges of your path. To keep the amount of pavers you need to cut to a minimum, try to plan the width of your path based on whole pavers. If you are laying the blocks in a brick-bond pattern, you will still need to cut some blocks, but if you plan the first row to be three full pavers you will only have to cut them for every second row.
2. Dig out the soil between the strings, removing the turf if you are building the path across a lawn, down to a depth equal to the height of the pavers you are using, plus 50mm for a bed of sand. You will now have a shallow trench where your paver path will sit. To keep the edges of the trench from crumbling and being worn away, put pressure-treated timber along the sides. This can be held in place by pegs on the inside and outside. The inside pegs can be removed as you lay the pavers.
3. Compact the soil in the trench using a spade or a rammer, and then lay down a 50mm bed of sharp sand. Use a short length of wood to smooth and level the sand out, making sure that it is at the depth required for the pavers you are using.
Depending on the pattern you are creating, and depending how well you have planned the width of your path, you might not need to cut too many pavers to make them fit. If, however, you are using the brick-bond pattern, you will certainly need to cut a lot of pavers. In this case, hiring a Block Splitter is a very good idea.
To cut pavers with a Block Splitter, mark the block where you want to cut and place the paver between the jaws of the splitter. Line the cutting blade up with the mark on the block and then lower the handle of the splitter smoothly to break the paver in two.
If you want to cut the blocks manually, you can read our guide to cutting bricks and blocks here.
Laying the Paver Path
Start to lay the blocks in whichever pattern you have chosen. Make sure that the blocks are sitting firmly in the sand and that they butt up against each other. You don’t need or want to leave gaps between the blocks or they will be loose. Use a rubber mallet to tap the blocks down into the sand so that they sit level with the edging and each other.
As you finish each row or block of pavers, use a spirit level to make sure they are level. If any of the pavers are uneven, lift them out and level the sand beneath them. Once you have finished the whole path, finish it by spreading kiln-dried sand over the top and using a hired compactor to make sure the blocks are bedded down properly. If you don’t want to hire a compactor, simply spread sand over the path and brush it into the surface. Let the pavers settle for a few days and then repeat the process of brushing the sand over the top to fill any new gaps created as the sand settles.
Paver Path Patterns
There are lots of different patterns you can use when laying block pavers, from the simple to the very complicated. The most common patterns used are the Stack Bond, Brick Bond, Herringbone and Basketweave patterns shown here.