How to block pave a drive for beginners

Updated April 17, 2017

Block paving your drive can appear to be a daunting task. However, it is a very realistic one to undertake, even for a first-timer. As a beginner at block paving, you do not have to spend money on a contractor if you have access to a plate vibrator. Visit a hardware, home improvement or building supply store to gather your blocks, sand and subbase material -- which is a ground concrete or sediment used as foundation.

Measure the area of your driveway. Know this area measurement when buying your sand, blocks and subbase, as a building supply salesperson can help you determine how much of each you will need.

Mark your designated area with string or flags before digging. This keeps your place as you create the foundation for your new driveway.

Remove a few inches of topsoil using a shovel. Take the depth of your blocks, subbase and sand into consideration. Dig the topsoil so that you have at least a 2.5 cm (1 inch) downward slope across both the width and length of your drive area for drainage purposes.

Run the plate vibrator across the entire surface of your soil. Fill any soft areas of the soil with subbase material.

Lay 7.5 to 10 cm (3 to 4) inches of subbase material on top of the soil.

Place edge restraints along the soil’s length and width. Use a spade to shoulder the sides of your edge restraints that face the outside of the drive area. Spread cement along the area where the ground and bottommost exposed area of the edge restraints meet.

Lay 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) of soft concreting sand on top of the subbase material within the edge restraints. Smooth the sand with a flat surface, such as a wooden beam.

Lay blocks on top of the soft concreting sand in your desired pattern. Avoid walking on the sand in the process.

Run the plate vibrator over the blocks two or three times. This compacts the sand and pushes it between spaces in the base of your blocks.

Spread fine joint-filling sand over the blocks. Use a broom to spread the sand over the blocks evenly. This allows the sand to set between the blocks’ crevices.

Run the plate vibrator over the sand until it has settled between the blocks.


Make sure the driveway surface is approximately 15 cm (6 inches) below the height of the building's damp surface if you use one as an edge restraint. Damp surface is the darkened area of evident moisture penetration at the base of a brick building.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • String or flags (as markers)
  • Shovel
  • Plate vibrator
  • Subbase material
  • Edge restraints
  • Cement (optional)
  • Spade (optional)
  • Concreting sand
  • Wooden beam
  • Blocks
  • Fine sand
  • Broom
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Stephen A. Powell is a tenured, versatile music writer based in New York. After honing his skills at St. John's University and City College (CUNY), Powell took his writing and media development services to XXL Magazine, SiTV and One Networks among other media outlets. Powell's love of language arts and desire to help others realize their full creative potential are pervasive throughout his work.