Laying a Path, Step-By-Step

Give your garden some direction and charm by laying a path made of bricks, stones or pavers. Don't know where to start? Don't worry. We'll walk you through path design and installation, step-by-step.

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Edging the Path

Carefully knock the guide rails and pegs away and remove the string. Use a spade to create a "vertical face" to the edge; dig down as far as the graded base on both sides of the path (image 1).

Spread a strip of graded base along each side of the path and tamp it firm with a sledge hammer (image 2). If you're using heavy edging stones, lay a foundation strip of post-hole concrete mix on top.

Position edging stones and secure them in place by tapping them gently with a rubber mallet. Set stones flush with the path, or leave them tall to stop soil from migrating onto the path (image 3). Backfill the outside edge with soil.

Adding the Finishing Touches

Brush masonry sand into the joints (it allows rain to drain away). Remove the occasional block from the edge of the path to form a planting pocket (image 1); if using carpet stones, they must be cut from the backing mat.

Use a trowel to remove sand and graded base from the planting pocket and replace it with soil. Plant a clump-forming aromatic herb, such as thyme (image 2). Water well.

Brush gravel into the joints between the blocks. If, as here, you have left a strip of soil along one side of the path to act as a soakaway, apply a topping of gravel to keep it looking neat and tidy (image 3).

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