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Project Guide

How to Build a Walkway

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Plan Your Walkway
Someone using a measuring tape to mark out a walkway on the ground.

When planning your paver walkway, consider the distance, elevation, amount of use it will receive and the overall design and look of your property. Building your walkway in sections will let you easily handle any changes in elevation.

  • Lay out the course of your walkway with two long pieces of rope.
  • Use a tape measure to check the width of your path and adjust accordingly.
  • Once you’ve got the correct dimensions, mark the entire perimeter with a shovel.

Tip: To build a walkway that lets two people walk comfortably side-by-side, make it 35 to 40 inches wide. 

Dig Out the Soil
Someone using a shovel to dig out soil to build a walkway.
  • To begin making the walkway, use a sharp spade or shovel to remove sod and rocks and dig a trench about seven inches deep.
  • Using a hand tamper, compact the soil in bottom of the trench. Make the soil surface firm and even. 
Build a Gravel Base
Someone using a landscape rake to level a bed of crushed gravel for a walkway.

Start by adding a layer of crushed gravel to make a stable base for the first section of your walkway. Remember, work in sections so you can adjust the walkway as needed.

  • Pour at least two to three inches of crushed gravel over the compacted ground.
  • Use a landscape rake to spread it out evenly.
  • Wet down the gravel with a hose and compress it firmly again with the hand tamper.
  • Add more crushed gravel as needed and tamp it down until the gravel base is slightly below grade (below ground level).
Add Paver Sand
Someone using a board to level the base of a walkway.
Lay Pavers
Someone wearing work gloves and laying pavers to build a walkway.
  • Use a nozzle on your hose to spray the sand with a fine mist of water .
  • For a simple running bond pattern, use half blocks to begin every other row. A running bond pattern staggers the joints so you can make slight adjustments, if needed, to create a nice, gentle curve. 
Put in Steps
Someone using a tamp to tamp down crushed gravel for a walkway.

As a general rule, build the steps approximately seven inches high. Install them at regular intervals to help avoid tripping.

  • When building a step, dig back into the slope about 10 inches.
  • Fill the space with crushed gravel up to the level of your base.
  • Wet the gravel and use a wall block or tamper to tamp it down firmly and smoothly.
  • Lay 10 1/2- x 7-inch wall blocks side-by-side in the trench. Let them butt up against the walkway.
  • Check the wall blocks with a level and add sand underneath them, if needed, to keep everything in line.
  • Dry-fit a second row of blocks in different sizes to stagger the joints.
  • Once you work out your pattern, go back and lay a bead of construction adhesive between the rows.
Build the Next Section
A mallet and level sitting on top of pavers being used to build a walkway.

Repeat steps three through six for the remaining sections of your paver walkway.

Lay Step Treads
Steps for a walkway in a yard.
  • When adding step treads, use the same thickness as your pavers so everything stays on an even plane.
  • Use construction adhesive to attach the step treads on top of the wall blocks.
  • Continue laying the pattern in the next section over a smooth layer of paver sand.
Cut Pavers
A woman in safety eyewear and work gloves using a concrete saw to cut pavers for a walkway.

When you're ready to cut pavers to fit into your walkway pattern, measure them and mark them where you want to cut them. Use a concrete saw or a wet saw with a blade designed to cut through pavers. Be safe, and wear safety glasses, work gloves and a dust mask when cutting pavers. 

Secure the Edges
A walkway edged with pavers beside a garden bed.
  • Once all the pavers are laid, add paver edging to keep them from shifting, or use a brick trowel to trench along the outside. 
  • If you trench alongside the outside of the pavers, fill the trench with cement to keep them from shifting over time.
  • Cover the cement with mulch or soil.
Add Polymeric Sand
A man using a push broom to sweep sand over a paver walkway.

Before adding the polmeric sand, check the weather forecast. Be sure no rain is coming for the next few days so it will have time to set.

  • Pour a liberal amount of polymeric sand onto the walkway and use a push broom to sweep it into the cracks. The sand will work as a binding agent and help hold the pavers in place.
  • Carefully blow off any excess sand with a leaf blower.
  • Spray the walkway with a fine mist of water. The water will activate the polymeric sand and bind the pavers.

Learn how to build a walkway with pavers for a useful and beautiful addition to your home. Build it in sections so you can adjust the elevation, if needed.

Dig a trench seven inches deep and tamp down the soil in the bottom. Add two or three inches of crushed gravel, rake it level, tamp it and wet it down. Add more gravel as needed and tamp until it's slightly below grade.

Add a 1/2-inch layer of paver sand. Level it and mist it with a hose. Build steps by digging into the slope about 10 inches. Fill the space with crushed gravel to the level of the base. Wet the gravel and tamp it down. Lay pavers in the trench and level them. Dry-fit a second row and stagger the joints. Once you lay out your pattern, put a bead of construction adhesive between the rows.

Edge the rows to keep them from shifting or trench along the outside of the walkway and fill the trench with cement. Add landscaping and lighting to enhance your walkway.

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