How to Lay Paving Slabs and Sand

Updated February 21, 2017

Paving slabs can be used to create a patio, sidewalk or driveway. These building stones come in a variety of materials, colours, sizes and shapes. They can be placed horizontally for a flat surface or placed vertically as decorative edging. Determine a budget before choosing the pavers, as you will need additional materials, such as sand, to lay them. Review all directions before beginning construction to ensure that you completely understand the process.

Measure each side of the patio and mark each corner with a stake. Tie a string to the first corner stake. Pull the string tightly to the second corner stake and wrap around the stake twice. Pull the string to the third corner stake and wrap around the stake twice. Continue this process until the string is pulled back to the first corner stake. This process can be used to create any shape of patio.

Dig out the ground inside the area inside the string.. The depth of the trench is determined by the thickness of the bricks. Add 4 inches (the depth of the underlying material) to the height of the chosen bricks to determine the depth needed for the trench. This process is used for any paving project, including sidewalk and driveway. Place a level on top of a flat 2-by-4 inch board and pull the board over the trench to verify that the area is level along its entire surface.

Lay redwood planks vertically along the edge of the trench. Insert a stake into the ground every 6 to 8 inches along the outside of each plank, to hold it in place. Lay the level on each plank of redwood as it is placed to verify it is level.

Spread a layer of gravel approximately 3 inches deep in the trench area and tamp it firm. Spread a layer of coarse sand over the gravel that is approximately ½-inch thick. Level the sand across the patio area using the level and board process previously used to level the dirt.

Lay the first line of paving slabs from one side to the other with a 1/8-inch space between each slab around all sides. Verify that each slab is level as it is laid down and that the slabs are level with each other. Tap each slab gently with the rubber mallet to set in place. Continue to lay paving slabs until the structure is complete.

Use a brickset to cut the partial paving slabs to the desired size. Lay cut slabs last and gently tamp with the rubber mallet.

Spread loose sand over the paving slabs and sweep it into the crevices between them. Sweep sand across the slabs until all joints have been filled with sand.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Wooden stakes
  • String
  • Shovel
  • 2-by-4 inch board, 3 feet long
  • Level
  • 1-by-6 inch redwood lumber
  • Stakes
  • Hammer
  • Gravel
  • Tamper
  • Sand
  • Pavers
  • Rubber mallet
  • Brick set
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About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Dawn Marcotte has been writing for more than 10 years. Her recent writing has turned to nonfiction and includes articles on home and garden, education, crafts and automotive subjects. She currently has several eBooks published and available online. Marcotte has a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of Iowa.