How to Lay Large Pavers
Large pavers, or paving stones, are heavier to move and therefore more difficult to install than small pavers. However, their weight means greater resistance to movement. If you live in an area where freezing and thawing change the ground every year, a large paver may stay flatter longer.
Aside from a few minor points, the installation process is the same for large or small pavers. The time you spend moving the large stones will pay off when you see the finished project coming together faster than it would with small pavers.
Measure the area you want to pave, using small stakes to mark corners and curves on the outside perimeter.
Tie a string around each stake so you have a visual border for your project.
Prepare the ground by digging approximately 6 inches down into the soil and making sure the ground below is well compacted and won’t shift in the future. If necessary, rent a tamper to pack the soil.
Lay 3 to 4 inches of gravel on top of the compacted soil and top this with 2 inches of clean sand.
Level the sand carefully with a straight board and compact it with a hand tamper.
Lay the pavers in your desired pattern on top of the sand. If you need to cut a paver, you can use a brick saw with a diamond blade or try a chisel and hammer. The latter may be better for small cuts at the edge of a paver.
Leave approximately ¼ to ½ inch of space between each paver. If you are using irregularly shaped pavers, you can fill larger gaps with thick, small stones that won’t shift.
Dump stone dust on top of the pavers once they are in place and use a wide broom to sweep the dust into the gaps. Sweep at an angle to the cracks so you don’t gouge out the dust or sand below.
Things You Will Need
- Tape measure
- Small stakes
- Stone dust
- Wide broom
Sand is a good bed for large, heavy pavers. If you prefer, you can set the pavers in mortar. Preparing the bed for the pavers may be the least rewarding part of the task in terms of seeing progress toward your goal, but it’s one of the most important steps. A firm base will keep your pavers flat for years to come. Make sure each paver is level with the one next to it. Even a small difference in height can trip someone walking on your pavers. Concrete pavers are more regular than natural stone pavers and need less adjustment to place. To minimize weeding in the grout lines, spray white vinegar over them each spring; you’ll safely make the soil too acidic for small plants.
Wear eye protection when cutting the stones.
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- “Complete Backyard and Home Improvement Book”; Murdoch Books Pty Limited; 2007
- “The Family Handyman”; Cobblestone Path; Jeff Timm; March 2005