This project. THIS project!!! Did not result in a divorce. Hallelujah. By far the longest and hardest laborious job we’ve ever taken on. But when we got a quote for the paver path we wanted to do, it was insane! And that was even from the guy who was supposedly the cheapest around. So what did we do?!!? We went and bought a wet saw (a fantastic one from Harbor Freight…was very budget friendly and did everything we wanted it to do…..<<check it out here>>).
When I suggested we do it ourselves, my husband just looked at me with fear….the kind of look that says “honey…..do you really think that’s a good idea????”. LOL. Because we are wired completely different. No joke!!! He doesn’t really pay that much attention to minute details where I do and I know he was thinking he’d rather pay someone else to screw it up than him screw it up. I’m a bit of a stickler to details. I can’t help it…..it’s just the way that God made me :). But I just knew we could figure out a system and get it done.
Can I just tell you how brutal it was to dig all of this with a flat head shovel? I finally got to the point where I had my husband ask our neighbor to ride over with his backhoe and he literally had it dug and leveled within 30 minutes. MAN heavy equipment amazes me!!!!! Now on to the pavers……
I locked arms with this amazing lady at General Shale up in Memphis when we were building our house that was absolutely amazing. She is the golden unicorn for any kind of brick or paver question. <<Katie Yokie…..you rock!!!!>> Our house brick is shown on the floor and all the paver options on the wall. I loved the top left but thought it might be too much white since most of the house is white. So we decided on the bottom left for a little bit of a contrast…but not too much.
Hello paver delivery guy! Worth every bit of that $50 fee. When building our house, we tore the transmission out of our SUV by hauling flooring. Not this time!!! And he was even nice enough to drop a palette every 15 feet so we wouldn’t have to haul them around as much. So nice!!
Want to know how to effectively measure out a 3″ paver base and make sure it’s right? Lay down a 3″ diameter PVC pipe and just lay the base material until it hits the top of it. Pretty simple. Move the pipe down the walk and keep going. Pretty high tech, huh?? We try to get things done the easiest way around here ;). We compacted the paver base with a plate compactor that we rented from Home Depot that was awesome and had it all done in about 45 minutes!!!! Then we followed that by about an inch of sand before laying the pavers down.
And here we go……..
We managed to get a system down that in the end we were pretty proud of. The straight shots were simple, but the bends were a bit tricky. So I numbered each brick that needed to be cut, marked the cut, handed it to my husband and he ran the saw and made each cut and handed it back to me for placement. It was a bit tedious but it worked with no arguments. Praise the Lord!!!!
We chose not to take on the extra challenge of using mortar, but rather chose to fill in the cracks with Polymeric Sand (also called Paver Set) from Lowe’s —> check it out here. You sweep it in the cracks, spray it down with water and it hardens to lock the pavers in place. Super simple and looks very nice. Very happy and proud of the end result!
Sweeping in the polymeric sand (paver set):
And ta-da!!!!! The end result……SO proud of ourselves!!!! Now our guests don’t have to wear mud boots to come visit 🙂
Want to take on a paver path project of your own?
Here is a step by step go by and list of materials and tools you will need:
- Mark out your paver path location in the grass (I used a bright orange marking paint to mark it and extended that by an extra 6″ on each side so I wouldn’t be working in too tight of conditions).
- Dig out the path to the required depth (taking into account the paver base material thickness…..we used 3″ of paver base material, 1″ sand, and the paver was 3″) with a flathead shovel OR find you a super nice neighbor with a backhoe to come dig it for you in about 30 minutes.
- Lay down the 3″ of paver base material (we used a fine crushed limestone) and compact with a vibratory compactor (we rented a 20″ Vibratory Plate Compactor from Home Depot that worked like a charm and was worth every penny). Keep in mind that you never want to compact more than 4″ of material at a time or else it will only compact the top 4″ and will leave the remaining material on the bottom to settle and cause issues down the road. You can also sprinkle your paver base material with water to help the compaction process and minimize dust flying up during compacting.
- Lay the sand over the compacted paver base material. DO NOT COMPACT the sand. This is a common mistake. When you lay the pavers down you will hand tamp them into the sand and the loose sand will be forced up between the pavers to set and secure them.
- Begin laying the pavers, making all necessary cuts with the wet saw (this is the one we used that worked great) for placement. I used a mallet to tamp the pavers into the sand.
- This is optional, but we used an anchored paver edging system (check it out HERE) from Home Depot that anchors into the ground to hold the pavers exactly where you want them so they don’t shift. We might not have needed them since we had soil compacted on both sides of the path, but it kept me happy knowing they would never be able to shift or move from their location.
- We chose to use Polymeric Sand rather than mortar on our path and we have never regretted not using mortar. And it was so much easier to work with! Pour the polymeric sand all over the pavers and brush it all into the cracks with a shop broom.
- Using a water hose, sprinkle the paver path down (don’t drench it…..just sprinkle enough to get the path completely wet so the polymeric sand will set). The water causes the polymeric sand to harden and lock the pavers in place.
- Sit and marvel at your finished project and enjoy your amazing new paver path!!!!