How to Use Paving Stones to Enhance Your Yard’s Beauty and Utility

paving stonesThere is so much more to the aesthetics of your yard than just a pruned lawn. Shrubs, ground cover, flowers, and rock gardens can enrich the beauty of your landscape. 

Paving stones are a wonderfully versatile addition to your yard, and they can serve multiple functions. Do you want an attractive walkway? A natural-looking ground level deck? Or just a simple way to water the ivy without trampling it? 

All of these are tasks which well-placed paving stones can accomplish. They offer both beauty and function to your yard. And it’s really not difficult to add them to your yard. 

Let’s take a look at some important info to get you started:

Take Measurements

Make sure you know exactly how much space you want to use for your paving stones. This rings true for any project, from a basic path to a full-blown paved deck. Get out your measuring tools and be prepared to make notes!

You need to know the length and width of the pavers you’re using, so you know how many to buy. You don’t want to purchase unnecessary materials, but you also want a bit extra to account for mistakes.

Prepare Your Yard

Even for basic stepping stones, you still need to dig up a bit of topsoil to make room. It’s fine if they’re a bit raised, but you don’t want a significant difference between the height of the stones and the height of your natural ground cover. Otherwise, you may create a trip hazard. 

You also want to consider whether you need a base. For larger projects, such as decks or broad walkways, using gravel and/or sand is recommended. Before you dig, make sure you’ve done your research to account for these extra layers. 

Add Your Base (if Necessary)

If your project calls for a base layer of sand and gravel, make sure you’ve calculated the amount you’re going to need. Your local experts can help you determine how much is needed per square foot.

Make sure you lay it as evenly as possible on prepared topsoil. (By prepared, we mean there is no longer any grass or other foliage in that area.) If your project requires layering, follow the instructions. E.G.- gravel first, then sand. 

Lay Out the Stones

If your base is ready, it’s time to add your paving stones. Again, you’ll want to double-check your measurements and your materials so that you get it right the first time. This is especially true when planning to lay material of varying shapes and sizes. 

Once they’re laid, you may want to utilize a tamper to even things out. We highly recommend doing so for larger projects. This ensures that the surface area is even, and that the base is evenly packed into your topsoil. 

Let’s take a look at a few different styles that are available:

Stepping Stones

For a basic walkway, stepping stones are your choice bet. They’re typically a bit larger than an adult footprint, and they come in a fun variety of shapes, materials, and colors. You’ll want to place then a couple of inches apart to mimick the natural stride of an adult. 

Travertine

These pavers have a marbled look, and are generally available in large squares (about 12-16”). They make for a fun material to use, as they come in a broad range of colors. Travertine pavers are great for larger projects such as decks or wide walkways. 

Concrete

These are typically about the size and shape of a standard brick. They offer more depth- and therefore more potential longevity- than a travertine paver. However, you will need to purchase more of them due to their small size, and they tend to offer limited colors. 

Brick

Bricks of any sort make a fantastic material for any building project. However, due to their relatively small size, we are once again faced with the need to purchase a large amount of them for any sizeable project. Bricks are thick and durable, and can be found in a variety of colors, which makes them a favorite for the more fastidious project designers. 

Wall Blocks

Wall blocks come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. They’re generally a bit thicker than bricks, so additional digging may be necessary to keep them even with your terrain.

Wall blocks are similar to bricks in their range of available colors. They also offer a bit more variety with size and shape. Some are rather large, and even curved, making them a fun option for creative designs. 

Conclusion

Paving stones are a fantastic addition to your yard and garden. Whether you’re looking for a path to water hard-to-reach plants, or simply want to add an attractive walkway, this is a great DIY project for any landscape enthusiast. 

Read more about great ways to beautify your yard!

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