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A person adding sand to a sand base between pavers

Overview

With the right tools, paving a pathway is a relatively easy D.I.Y. job. This guide tells what to do before you start paving, how to keep the pavers level, and how to keep them stable in place.

Steps

1Prepare the pathway

Preparing the pathway before you start paving is important, the key is having a solid foundation to lay the pavers on. For the foundation, lay a 50mm bed of level, crushed rock on the pathway. Run and secure a border along both sides of where you want the pathway to be. The border will make sure that your brick paving remains firmly in place as you lay it. 

Pavers stacked up on either side of a curved pathway with crushed rock base and edging

2Mix the sand and cement

Before making the mixture that the pavers will be laid on, put on your dust mask and gloves. To make the mixture, pour three bags of paving sand on to the foundation of crushed rock and thoroughly mix in a handful of cement.
A person emptying a bag of paving sand on to a foundation of crushed rock

3Make a straight edge

A straight edge will make sure that your sand and cement mix is level for the pavers to be laid on. To make the straight edge, cut a piece of timber so that it's the same width as the pathway. Determine how high you want the sand and cement mixture to be and hold the piece of timber at that height. Then use a pencil to mark it at the end. Measure off the same height at the other end of the piece of timber. Hammer nails in at the same height at both ends of the timber. 

A person holding a length of timber with levels marked on it across the sand base of a pathway

4Screed the sand and cement mix

Sit the nails on the ends of the straight edge on top of the wooden border and, starting at the beginning of your path, pull it towards you. This screeding, makes the sand and cement mixture level so that you can start laying the pavers. You may need to repeat this to ensure the mixture is flat.

A person screeding the sand base of a pathway with a length of timber

5Lay the pavers

After your mixture is level, you can start to lay the pavers. With this project the pavers are being laid in a simple offset pattern called stretcher bond. This is where the joints are offset by exactly half the width of the paver. Lay two rows of pavers in this pattern.

A person running a line of pink string over newly laid pavers

6Run a string line

After laying two rows of pavers, tie a string line around an unused paver and put it one side of the wooden border. Pull the string line across the path and tie it around another paver. Put this paver directly opposite the other paver and pull the string line tight. This will let you see if the pavers are level. If a paver is lower than the string line, remove it and put some more sand and cement mixture underneath it. Tap it in place with the rubber mallet. If a paver is too high, remove it and scrape away the sand and tap it in place with the mallet. Or just try tapping it down with the mallet.

A person running a line of pink string over newly laid pavers

7Mix more sand and cement

Mix more sand and cement onto the crushed rock foundation. Screed it using your straight edge, to make it level. If there is some sand mixture close to the pavers that you can't screed, make it level using your hand. Continue laying more pavers on top of the screeded mixture. If there are a few pavers that are tight to fit, use the rubber mallet to tap them into place. After laying the next rows of pavers, check they are level using the string line. Adjust the height of the pavers to make sure they're all level. 

A person spreading sand by hand on the base of a pathway

8Lay more rows of pavers

Mix more sand and cement on the crushed rock foundation. Screed so that it's level. Lay more rows of pavers and use the string line to check that they're level as well. Repeat this process until you have finished paving your pathway.

A person removing some sand by hand in front of newly laid pavers

9Set your pavers in place

It's important to make sure that your pavers are set in place. To do this, thoroughly mix a bag of sand and a quarter of a bag of white cement in a wheelbarrow. Spread this mixture over the pathway with a shovel. Use a broom to sweep it into the cracks between the pavers. Using a hose, lightly spray the path, which will help the mixture to harden. Repeat this process until all of the cracks between the pavers are filled. Let this mixture harden before walking on the pathway.
A finished curved pathway with pale yellow pavers

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.