How to lay paving stones in gravel

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How to lay paving stones in gravel
Gravel makes an attractive base for paving slabs. (Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images)

Laying paving stones or concrete pavers in gravel creates a pleasing effect and is ideal for areas with a lot of rain or wind. Use gravel when laying stones in random patterns or in arrangements with spaces between the stones.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Crushed rocks
  • Gravel
  • Garden rake
  • Paving stones
  • Sand
  • Shovel
  • 60 by 120 cm (2 by 4 feet) board
  • Spirit level
  • Mallet

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  1. 1

    Remove all turf and topsoil to the depth of the stone plus 3.75 cm (1 1/2 inches).

  2. 2

    Build a retaining border to keep the gravel from migrating into flowerbeds or your lawn. It can be made of weather-treated wood, brick or plastic edging.

  3. 3

    Lay a shallow layer -- about 2.5 cm (1 inch) -- of sand. Spread it with a rake.

  4. 4

    Level the sand with board by dragging the board's edge across the sand and frequently tamping it down.

  5. 5

    Arrange the stones in a suitable pattern, keeping the smaller ones towards the centre and the larger ones at the perimeter.

  6. 6

    Tap each stone as you go with a mallet buffered by a block of wood. You want to make sure each stone is set evenly and isn't going to wobble.

  7. 7

    Use a board and a spirit level as you go, making sure the stones are level.

  8. 8

    Pour gravel in small piles along the drive or path and sweep it between the stones with a broom.

  9. 9

    Sweep sand -- matching the colour of the gravel -- over the top of the surface and water thoroughly.

Tips and warnings

  • Because of their shape, you may need to build up the spaces below some of the stones with sand as you're setting them. Don't use other stones, as these will eventually break off and the stone above will sink.
  • Consider hiring a plate vibrator. Go over the entire area to press the stones into place and ensure that they're level.
  • If you plan to park cars on the paved area, lay a 10 cm (4 inch) sub-base of crushed rock below the sand to add stability.

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