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How to Install Walkway Tiles Outdoors

Aurora LaJambre

Outdoor tiles add style and structure to a walkway or patio. Cut from stone or molded from concrete, they form a long-lasting, weather-resistant surface. Tiles are available in different sizes and colors so you can customize a pattern to suit your landscape. Installing tiles yourself is not complex, and the results will last years. Prepare to carry heavy materials and to dig and lay a solid foundation.

A tiled walkway adds contrast to mulch and plants.
  1. Measure out the width of the intended walkway with a tape measure and determine the course of the walkway. If you want to avoid cutting tiles, plan the course to have straight or angled edges. Lay out ropes along the borders, spaced 4 feet apart for a main walkway and 30 to 36 inches for a secondary one.

  2. Unearth soil and grass from the area until it is 8 inches deep. Use a shovel to make the dirt bottom flat and compact the subsoil with a hand tamping tool.

  3. Pour 3/4 inch of crushed gravel over the soil and rake it evenly. Tamp it down and fill the base to make a 4-inch layer. Continue tamping the gravel until it cannot shift under your feet. The gravel base allows water to drain under the site while preventing tiles from sinking.

  4. Rake coarse grained sand over the crushed gravel. Use sand with sharp particles to form a 2-inch-thick sand bed. The particles pack down and provide traction for the tiles.

  5. Set the first row of walkway tiles on an end of the walkway according to your planned design. Do not press the tiles into the sand. Set them flush against each other leaving the minimal gap possible between pavers. Continue setting tiles until the walkway is complete. Place a 5-foot-long wooden board across each section and walk on it, applying even pressure to level the tiles.

  6. Sweep dry, fine sand over the walkway with a broom to fill the gaps and pad tiles from each other.