Pave A Pathway

  • Pave A Pathway, AFTER
  • Pave A Pathway, BEFORE

Take a weekend to extend a paved area using recycled bricks and improve access to the clothesline. 

Aussies love their lawns but in most backyards there are areas where a hard surface is needed underfoot for a barbecue or to provide access to the clothesline or shed.

To save the lawn from wear and tear plus prevent muddy spots without pouring a concrete path, DIY paving is the budget-friendly solution.

In this backyard a paved area near the house was extended to create a path to the clothesline. 

A simple paving job like this uses hand tools for excavating, laying and grouting, and can be done in a weekend by just one person. 

If you use recycled house bricks, as here, the only costs are for paving and beach sand, and mortar. 

Pavers come in clay and concrete, from house-brick size to 400mm square stone or concrete slabs.

The bricks were laid on a bed of paving sand in a traditional basket weave pattern, with a single row of end-on-end bricks laid as a stretcher border course for the paving. 

TIP For sloping sites, high-traffic areas or where subsoil is loose, add a 100mm layer of compacted roadbase.

Order the supplies

It pays in both time and money to get your material estimates right. 

PAVING SAND is available in bulk from landscape suppliers or buy it bagged. To calculate the amount multiply the length x width x depth of the area.

BEACH SAND can be used to make a sand and cement mortar mix, and to grout finished paving.

SAND AND CEMENT premixed mortars come in 20kg bags and just need water.

BRICKS AND PAVERS are measured by surface area. A standard brick is about 230 x 110mm, giving you about 40 bricks per square metre when used largest face up. Add an extra 5% for cuts and breakages.

Cutting bricks 

For a path it’s usually necessary to cut a number of bricks to fit. 

You can cut them dry using an angle grinder with a segmented diamond blade but if you’re not experienced with this tool, use a simple brickie’s bolster. 

Mark the cut line on the brick face and position it on a firm but not hard surface, like a lawn.

Position the bolster on the marked line and strike a sharp blow with a lump hammer. The brick should break cleanly. 

TIP For big jobs, hire a wet-bladed brick saw, for about $100 a day.

Step 1. Excavate the area

Mark the path using set-out paint, ensuring the width is consistent. Use
a spade to cut a line through the turf outside the marked lines then across the width of the path to make it easier to lift the turf. Remove the turf from the marked area using the spade

Step 2. Set the stringline

Remove the soil to 30mm below the base of existing paving. Roughly level with a landscape rake then use
a brick to check the depth. Hammer in pegs at the path corners, setting out a stringline at the height of the finished paving to outline the path.

Step 3. Add the paving sand

Use a wheelbarrow to pour paving sand into the area, levelling with the rake as you go. Fill to 10mm higher than the existing paving sand, as it will compact slightly as you pave.
Use a straightedge to compact the sand and screed the surface level.

Step 4. Lay the bricks

Starting from a corner at the head of the path, lay the bricks in a basket weave pattern with a stretcher course border. Firmly tamp down each brick using a rubber mallet to match the stringline, keeping the bricks flush and with 3mm gaps in between.

Step 5. Add the border

Dig a 30mm deep trench then use a steel trowel to spread mortar in 1m sections. Position the bricks end to end and tamp down with the mallet. To haunch the edges, spread the mortar halfway up the border sides, sloping away at 45°. Let it set for 48 hours

Step 6. Grout the paving

Spread beach sand over the paving, using a broom to get it into all the gaps. Brush off excess sand then spray with water to settle the grout. Let the sand dry and pavers settle then repeat. Fill the unpaved border around the clothesline base with pebbles.

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