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March 9, 2012, 3:16 pm betterhomesgardens
Paving isn't as hard as it looks and it's a great way to save a few dollars when you're re-doing the front yard.
Paving is the flooring of choice for most outdoor living areas and pathways. And, as long as the ground is level, you can lay the pavers yourself – it’s easier than you might think and a great way to save a few dollars! Just follow this simple guide to learn how to design, choose materials and lay your way to a beautiful space you can enjoy all year-round.
1. Once you master the skills of basic paving, you can create almost all the hard landscapes you’ll need in a garden, including paths, patios or courtyards.
2. Consider this clever approach to bridge different levels in your garden. A series of broad, shallow, brick-lined ‘terraces’ create a gradual descent, without breaking the feel of a pathway.
3. Garden edging meets walkway with this quirky serpentine divider. To create a similar look, lay out your pavers to shape and run flexible metal edging along both sides to secure in position. Then, mortar the paver joins for a smooth, even finish.
4. Recycled bricks create lovely paved surfaces, giving an instant aged and weathered look that suits established gardens. Just remember that bricks are thicker than modern pavers, so more excavation for the base will be required.
5. Circular paving is easy to lay when you use a simple running bond pattern, as here. Include a central focal point too, such as a sundial or pond.
6. In courtyard situations where paving runs right up to the building walls, make creative use of pots to green the scene. Try softening the rigid symmetry of a square area by filling one corner with a collection of pots, staggered in height and planted with clipped buxus.
7. Using terracotta tiles to pave outdoor areas creates a neat, finished look, but it’s not a job for the amateur. Tiles are a great choice for a stylish, raised garden that may incorporate a geometric pond, as here. And the mortar-filled joins mean there will be no weeds to worry about!
8. Adopt bold simplicity to create a contemplative Zen courtyard. You can use large-format square pavers in pale sandstone tones and edge the area with raised garden beds filled with slender, black-stemmed bamboo. Mulch with glistening white pebbles.
9. Mix up your flooring surfaces in small areas to inject a little visual energy into the scene. Here, conventional charcoal paving is broken by a seam of river pebbles before changing to a two-tone colour scheme of stone and grey.
10. Be creative and design a delightful space using stone pavers and red gravel. Try curving a row around a pond (or garden bed) and add a double line of stepping stones for easy access through the garden.
11. Don’t forget those neglected garden corners, where mud rules. For an easy and charming makeover, lay a floor of paving and group a set of pots – try a trimmed evergreen in the background, edged by a trio of seasonal flowers in matching terracotta.
12. Mixing different-sized pavers can create a lovely effect in smaller areas, like this dining courtyard. However, there’s no room for guesswork – you need to draw out the exact dimensions of the area and carefully calculate each piece before you buy.
Here are the five basic steps to laying your own paving. For this project, we used timber edging (45 x 70mm H4-treated pine) but you can install a concrete haunch after the paving is laid (see Edging, page 104), if you prefer.Gather your supplies
- BroomHERE’S HOW
STEP 1 Using H4-treated pine, outline shape of area to be paved. Screw together and secure with hardwood pegs around outside. Excavate to appropriate depth. To calculate depth, measure thickness of paver and add 25mm of sand and 65mm of base material (that is 75mm, less 10mm once compacted), if using.
STEP 2 Spread base material (if using) to a depth of about 75mm and compact. A manual tamper (pictured here) can be used for compacting small areas but, if you’re paving a large space, you can hire a plate compactor to help make the job easier.
STEP 3 Once the base is fully compacted, spread a layer of sand on top, to a depth of about 25mm. Rake to level and use a timber screed to smooth surface. A notched board (pictured here) makes a handy screed for a small area of paving, where a single piece can span from 1 side to the other.
STEP 4 Start in 1 corner or along 1 edge and lay pavers, working your way forward so you only step on pavers, not levelled sand. As you place each paver down, gently tap with a rubber mallet for minor adjustments. Continue until area is fully paved.
STEP 5 To fill the cracks, spread a light layer of sharp sand over surface and use a broom to sweep it into gaps. Move broom back and forth until all joints are filled, then sweep off excess.
Create a straight or curved pathway by setting large-format square pavers into a bed of gravel.Gather your supplies
- Plate compactor or manual tamperHere’s How
STEP 1 Excavate soil, allowing for depth of compacted road base (65mm), sand (25mm) and paver thickness.
STEP 2 Spread road base. Use back of rake to level.
STEP 3 Compact road base with plate compactor, available from equipment hire outlets. If you’re paving a small area, you can use a manual tamper.
STEP 4 Spread sand and level with back of a rake.
STEP 5 Use screed to level.
STEP 6 Lay pavers in pairs, ensuring each pair is joined in centre. Space each pair about 10-15cm apart.
STEP 7 Spread decorative gravel to fill spaces between and around pavers. Use a rake to level.How to lay paving