How to Level Gravel & Sand for Pavers?


Once the area has been dug out for a patio or walkway, and the borders have been installed, you will need to fill the area with a foundation of gravel and sand. In order for the pavers to be installed correctly, the gravel and sand layers must be level. You can create a level surface using a hand tamper and by going over the surface with a board. It is important that the pavers rest evenly on the surface, as uneven pavers can create a hazardous walking surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Gravel
  • Bow rake
  • Water
  • Tamper
  • Sand
  • 2-by-4-inch board, with a length the same as the gravel and sand foundation's width
  • Fill the first 2 inches of the dug-out area with approximately 2 inches of gravel. Using the bow rake, distribute the gravel evenly over the surface.

  • Wet the gravel slightly with water. Compact the gravel by striking it evenly over the entire surface with a tamper. Fill in another 2 inches of the area with gravel. Wet it slightly and compact it.

  • Fill in the remaining dug-out area with sand. Leveling the sand is best done with a helper, who holds one end of the board on one side of the area while you hold the other, then drag the board over the sand to create a level surface.

  • Compact the sand by striking it evenly with a tamper in an up-and-down motion until the entire surface has been compacted and footprints do not leave an impression in the sand.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use an automatic plate compactor to compact the gravel and sand on large landscaping projects.
  • Wear work gloves when preparing gravel and sand for landscaping pavers.

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