How to Lay Block Sidewalks


Block sidewalks not only increase the value and curb appeal of your home, but they also provide a long-lasting surface for foot traffic, wheelchairs and transporting equipment. Installing a sidewalk with paving blocks is hard work, but you can do it yourself over a weekend with basic skills and tools. Cut from stones, bricks, concrete and other materials, paving blocks range in size to suit any design you want to create.

Things You'll Need

  • Ropes (2)
  • Shovel
  • Tamping tool
  • Aggregate
  • Rake
  • Wood or steel edge restraints
  • Grit sand
  • Board
  • Stone dust or fine sand
  • Broom
  • Mark the spot in your landscape where you want to install the sidewalk and lay two ropes parallel along the course. Decide on the shape of the path and how wide it will be. Place the ropes at least 4 feet 4 inches apart for a 4 foot wide sidewalk with 4 inches for edging.

  • Dig the grass and dirt from the site with a shovel to clear an expanse that is 12 inches deep and level. Make straight, vertical cuts through the ground along the perimeter to ensure the walls of the foundation are straight. Stabilize the bottom by pounding a tamping tool over the surface.

  • Pour two 4-inch thick layers of aggregate fill into the expanse. Rake it evenly over the top and tamp down the rocks. When packed together, tamped aggregate forms a strong base to support the heavy paving blocks.

  • Line the inside borders of the expanse with wood or steel edge restraints. Secure them down with a hammer and 12 inch spikes.

  • Cover the aggregate with 1 inch of grit sand and rake until smooth.

  • Lay the paving blocks in your pattern directly on the fine sand. Adjust each block in the sand until it doesn’t wobble, then place the next block flush against it. After laying each row or section, put a board over the blocks and walk on the board to level the blocks with one another.

  • Sweep stone dust or fine sand over the surface with a broom and press it down between the blocks. Friction provided by the joints prevents the blocks from shifting.

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