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Design a decorative side path

If your garden is anything like mine, at the far end of my house the side path is used as a dumping ground. Here's how to lay a decorative gravel and paved path that looks good and enhances your outdoor area. The gravel and pave path is easy enough to lay in a day and you will find everything you need for this project (excluding turf) at your local Builders Warehouse.

 

Wood screws
Wood pegs
2 of 20 x 100 x 2.4 metre pine planks, treated*
Gravel
Plaster sand
Cement
Concrete pavers (600 x 600mm)
Pebbles
Turf or artificial lawn
TOOLS:
Club hammer
Rubber mallet
Drill/Driver + assorted bits
Builder's line or string line
Spirit level
Plate compactor (day hire)
Wheelbarrow
Spade
Steel rake
Trowel

*If pine planks are not treated, apply creosote before installation

Preparation

Clean out the area, remove any existing grass or gravel and level out the area as much as possible.

1. Use a spade to mark the line of your path (the one shown here is 1 metre wide). Dig out to a depth that allows for the height of the pavers you will be using, plus a 60mm-thick layer of gravel. Use a club hammer to knock in a wood peg at each end of the length, then run builder's line between each peg.

2. Hammer in additional wood pegs along string line, spaced at about 800mm apart.

3. Screw pine planks to the individual wood pegs, ensuring that the pegs are sitting inside path and the timber forms an outer dividing edge.

4. Use a rake to spread a level layer of gravel to a depth of about 80mm over the area to be paved.

5. Using the plate compactor, compact the gravel to 60mm deep. It will take a couple of runs over the gravel to compact evenly.

6. In a wheelbarrow, add 1 part cement to 4 parts plaster sand and dry mix with a spade. Slowly add water until mixture is stiff. Use a trowel to spread a bed of mortar for the first paver to sit on. Place the paver on top of the mortar and use spirit level to check that it is sitting at same level as pine edging. To adjust the height remove or add mortar as required. Tap gently with a rubber mallet to ensure the paver is firmly bedded into the mortar. Repeat this for each paver along length of path.

7. Let the mortar set overnight and then fill in around pavers with river pebbles to just below treated pine edging.

8. Prepare area alongside the path for turf by laying a 50mm-thick layer of level soil. If you are laying artificial turf, make sure the area is raked level and free of stones.

9. To ensure the soil is completely level use a straightedge or a length of timber.

10. For this narrow area, we first laid a long header course of turf along the perimeter of pathway, and then filled in the remaining area with horizontally-laid strips. Use a sharp knife to trim turf as required.

11. To flatten and ensure good contact with the turf and soil, tap down using back of a spade to flatten joins. Water well and at least every 2 days for the first couple of weeks, then reduce to about 2 to 3 times a week.