THE GROUND FLOOR

Written by sidlook. Posted in Handmade

MATERIALS
  • Plastic edging material, stones, or recycled concrete
  • Gravel
  • 5 to 7 irregularly shaped bluestone pavers
  • 2 (10-inch) rebar stakes (optional)
  • Scotch moss (Sagina subulata)
TOOLS & OTHER SUPPLIES
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Fixed metal rake
  • Tamper
  • Small trowel
  • Rubber mallet
INSTRUCTIONS

1. Prepare base. Use a shovel to dig out your pathway or patio; the correct depth depends on your climate. In regions that routinely receive hard freezes, prepare a base at least 4 to 6 inches deep to accommodate soil shifting. In milder regions, excavating a base 2 to 3 inches deep is sufficient.

2. Set edging. Create a boundary to keep gravel from shifting from your pathway into neighboring planting beds. Install rolled plastic edging material according to package instructions. Or, set rocks or chunks of recycled concrete at the perimeter of your prepared pathway or patio.

3. Lay gravel. Haul gravel by wheelbarrow, dumping roughly consistent mounds throughout the space to evenly distribute the material. Rake gravel smooth and tamp firmly, locking the rough edges into an even, stable surface .

Shovel, haul, and dump gravel.

Shovel, haul, and dump gravel.

Rake and tamp gravel

Rake and tamp gravel.

4. Determine composition. Select an area of your gravel pathway or patio to highlight and accent with bluestone pavers. Set pavers on the gravel surface, trying out different arrangements until you come up with a pleasing pattern. The crazy quilt design pictured on page 42 measures just 18 x 36 inches.

5. Set bluestone pavers. Excavate gravel with a small trowel setting each stone in place and leaving a narrow channel between each paver. Bluestone pavers vary in thickness, requiring you to adjust how deep you dig the gravel to end up with an even top surface. Try setting one small stone vertically for a linear accent (as seen in photo, right).

Laying out pavers

Laying out pavers.

6. Finish. Fill in gaps between set pavers with gravel, then thump each stone with a rubber mallet to set them securely. Because gravel shifts over time, you may need to hold pavers in place if your finished composition is not on a completely level surface. To do so, drive two 10-inch rebar stakes into the ground on the downhill edge. A quick spray from the hose cleans the stones and settles the dust. Plant quickly establishing Scotch moss in the gravel to soften hard edges and link the finished pathway with adjacent plantings.

TRY THIS

  • Place pavers to mark the entry to your property or to highlight a spot where two paths cross.
  • Substitute recycled chunks of broken concrete—sometimes referred to as “urbanite”—for bluestone pavers. Many salvage yards and recycling centers offer this material absolutely free for the hauling.

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