How to Lay Cobbles

Written by contributing writer
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Cobblestone walkways add a remarkable degree of aesthetic value to a landscape setting and are a popular building material. Rock cobblestones are the most common and are small chunks of stone that are placed side by side to form a stone path. The spaces between the cobbles are filled with sand or other sediment that compacts well to hold the stones in place. Another benefit to using cobbles apart from their appearance is that they shift with the earth and do not crack like cement or asphalt. The spaces between the cobbles allow for them to shift.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Shovel
  • Sand
  • Hand compactor tool
  • Cobbles
  • Broom
  • Garden hose
  • Faucet

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  1. 1

    Use a shovel to remove a layer of dirt from the area where the cobbles are going to be installed. The layer of dirt removed should be approximately three inches deeper than the average height of the cobbles. Make the bottom of the hole fairly even. You want a firm compacted base to lay the cobbles on, so avoid digging too deep and having to add fill dirt to get the soil level correct. If the dirt is too hard to dig up, water it down with a garden hose and allow it to soak for a day.

  2. 2

    Spread a three-inch deep layer of sand evenly over the entire bottom of the excavated dirt area. Use the compacting tool to pound the sand firm so you have a fairly level layer of compacted sand. Use a garden hose to water down the sand and allow it to drain for 10 minutes. Use the compactor to pound the sand bottom firmly once more. The more compacted the base, the less the cobbles will shift after they are set in place.

  3. 3

    Lay the cobbles in place on top of the sand foundation. Set the cobbles side by side leaving approximately a ½ space a space between all sides of all the cobbles. The space between cobbles will vary depending their shapes. In general, try to keep the distance between cobbles no larger than a ½ inch and no smaller than a ¼ inch. Lay cobbles in place until the entire area to be paved is covered.

  4. 4

    Spread the sand into the spaces between the cobbles. Sprinkle the sand generously over the cobbles and use the broom to gently brush the sand into the cracks and crevices. Proceed slowly on this step so you do not displace the cobbles as you put down the sand. The cobbles will shift and slide until the spaces between all the cobbles are filled with compacted sand.

  5. 5

    Spray water over the cobbles and wash the remaining sand into the cracks and crevices between the stones. Scatter more sand if necessary and work into place with the broom to make sure the cracks and crevices are filled to the top the cobbles. Spray down cobbles once more to remove loose sand and allow to set for a day without walking on the cobbles.

Tips and warnings

  • Use fine grained sand to ensure that it compacts well to hold the cobbles in place.

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