Pathways & Paving Materials
There is a large variety of materials to choose from to create a pathway. Whether you’d like to build something simple or stunning, the first step is to consider how you’ll use your garden’s newest feature. Do you want to run a wheelbarrow straight from the shed to your plots? Do you envision a trail meandering through a flower garden? Do you crave an aesthetic expression?
Look among these materials and see which one fits your needs. If you see a material that you like, click on it to visit our product section to calculate how much you’ll need.
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This is good material for those who want a permanent surface, one that won’t track soil into the house. We batch concrete when you need it. To create concrete pathway, follow these few simple steps:
Concrete Installation & Finishing
- Lay out the area for the concrete slab.
- Determine the total depth of the base rock foundation and the thickness of the concrete slab. Recommendation for patios and walkways is 4" of compacted Class 2 Base Rock and a 4" concrete slab. Driveways or areas that will support vehicular traffic a depth of 8" of compacted Class 2 Base Rock and a 6" concrete slab.
- Excavate the area where you will place the concrete. Compact base rock to recommended depth.
- Using lumber and wood stakes, form a frame for your slab over the compacted base rock.
- The strength of the concrete you will need for your project will depend on how much weight the slab will have to support. A walkway or patio can be poured with a standard five sack mix with ¾" aggregate. This mix generally yields a 2500 P.S.I. which is adequate for a walkway or patio. If you are pouring a city sidewalk be sure to check with your building department for the required specifications. For driveways a parking areas consider using a six sack mix with ¾" aggregate. This mix generally yields a 3000 P.S.I. You are now ready to pour the concrete.
- Pour the wet concrete in to the forms. When the forms are full it is time to start the finishing process. For this step you’ll need "screed" which is a piece of 2x4 lumber that is longer than the width of the forms. This will be used to help level the concrete inside the forms.
- Using the 2x4 screed, level the concrete inside the forms. Using a back and forth, push pull motion level the concrete with the top of the form. It should be level with the top of the forms.
- Using a circular motion with a wood hand tool called a "float", push the rock into the concrete under the surface while allowing the mixture of sand and cement to come to the surface.
- A film of water will begin to collect on the surface of the concrete slab. Once the film of water disappears you can start the final finishing process.
- The two most popular surfaces finishes are a “smooth trowel finish and a “broom finish. For a smooth trowel finish, use a steel trowel and work the top surface using a semi circular motion. Keeping the leading or front edge of the trowel slightly raised move the trowel back and forth.
- Try to keep any edge marks off the surface. Let the concrete get a little harder and repeat the process. This time using a lighter touch to achieve a smooth finish.
- For a broom finish uses a 18" – 24"soft haired broom Place the broom on the edges of the form opposite you and with a light touch gently drag the broom across the surface in one motion (never a back and forth motion). This will texture the surface of the concrete, and provide a more slip resistant surface.
- Use a special trowel called an edger to give the edges a finished look and to create an expansion joint for control cracking.
- Other finish options are:
- Exposed Aggregate finish: pebbles imbedded in the concrete that show on the surface
- Salt Finish: a coarse Rock Salt troweled into in the surface of the wet concrete creating a "pock marked" look once the rock salt dissolves.
- Stamped Concrete: specially designed neoprene mats are pressed in to the surface of the finished concrete to simulate a brick, flagstone, or cobblestone surface.
A good weekend project for do-it-yourselfer homeowner, a flagstone pathway can satisfy your need for creative expression. These natural stones come in a variety of sizes and colors. Let your imagination be your guide as you consider patterns and mosaics. Select your hues, arrange your pattern and set the flagstone on a sand base or mortared over a concrete base. Click here to begin.
Follow these steps to install Irregular Flagstone:
- Sand Set Preparation:
- Choose the type of flagstone you would like to use. Use a stone that is a minimum of 1 ¼" thick.
- Mark out area to be paved by the irregular shaped flagstone.
- Excavate the area to a depth that allows for:
- 4" of compacted base rock
- 1 ½" of coarse sand
- the thickness of the flagstone.
- Compact the base rock by hand tamping or vibrating with a vibra plate.
- Install a border in which the flagstone will be laid.
- Spread the coarse sand to a uniform thickness.
Laying the stone:
Prior to laying the stone, it is helpful to lay out several pieces on the ground near the area to be done. Align pieces that fit together the best- if adjustment is needed you can trim the stone for a closer joint. Pieces that are large may need to be broken or cut into smaller pieces, if this occurs those pieces should fit well together. Try to lay out the stone so you have joints anywhere from ½" to 1" wide. Avoid using tiny or small pieces at intersecting areas.
- Place the first piece in the desired location. Note that if this location is at a 90 degree corner or along a straight edge you will have to cut the stone to fit those edges.
- Place the stone on the sand.
- Use a firm and wiggling motion to set the piece in the sand.
- Take a straight edge (2x4 or 1x4) and make sure the stone is at the same height as the edging.
- Lay the next piece next to the first piece positioning it so it properly fits the contours of the edge it is going up against.
- Slide the straight edge on the new piece and also on the first piece to make sure they are the same level.
- Continue this process until all the stone has been laid.
Filling in the joints
You have a few options here. We’ll go over ground cover, sand and decorative path fines.
- Place planting soil in between the stones in the joints.
- Select a ground cover at your local nursery.
- Plant the ground cover in the planting soil.
- Sweep off the extra soil and dampen the joints.
Sand or decorative path fines:
- Spread them out on the flagstone, then sweep it into the joints.
- Clean off the excess dampen the joints.
- If you tamp the joints for a tighter fit, you will probably need to add more sand or fines and repeat.
- Give the area a final sweeping and your flagstone area is finished.
Mortar set preparation
- Mark out the area to be paved with irregular flagstone.
- Excavate the area to a depth that will allow for 4" of compacted base rock.
- Pour a concrete pad with a minimum of 3" of concrete.
- Level the concrete so that it’s level with the forms that frame the concrete.
- Use a wooden float to press the coarse aggregate (rock) under the surface. This requires using an arc-shaped back and forth motion. This will push the rock under the surface and bring the sand and cement to the surface. Since you are laying stone over the concrete you won’t have to do any further finishing to the surface.
- Allow the concrete to dry from 24-48 hours before laying the stone. In cooler, damp weather you should wait at least 72 hours.
- Lay out the pieces of stone next to the area where they will be set.
- Align the pieces so that you maximize the use of the stone and minimize waste. Points to consider when aligning pieces:
- Along edges you will need to contour the stone to the shape of the edges.
- Along square edges you will need straight edges.
- Where the concrete is not square cut the stone to match the varying edge.
- The joints between the stone should be ½ “ – 1" wide.
- Have a bucket with clean water and sponge available to wipe mortar off stones.
- Apply only enough mortar over a workable area so as to avoid allowing
- the mortar to dry out before setting the flagstone. Trowel enough mortar over the area you plan to set your flagstone. Use enough mortar so that there are no gaps or voids under the flagstone. Use a rubber mallet to tamp the stone to the desired level.
- Once the stone is laid, use a pointed brick trowel or a square end margin trowel up excess mortar.
- Fill the grout bag- a tool similar to a cookie decorator bag- with mortar.
- Squeeze the mortar into the joints.
- Strike the mortar joint even with the surface level of the flagstone. Color can be added to the mortar to match or compliment the stone. Just remember that each batch requires the same amount of mortar, color, water, and mixing technique.
- To give the joints a more furnished look, let the mortar dry a little. Then gently go over the joints with a sponge or brush.
- Let rest undisturbed for a few days to allow the joints to thoroughly dry.
- Clean the stone to remove construction dirt, or mortar.
From desert sunset hues of Arizona Flagstone Pavers, to the icy grays and blues of Connecticut Bluestone Pavers, at Lyngso you can choose among a rich array of colors, textures and patterns. The layman should content himself with the pleasures of material selection, however, as installing pavers requires the precision and skill of a contractor.
A pathway made from naturally colored stones needs very little preparation. Most pathway pebbles or gravel range from ¼ to ¾ inches. Use the calculator function in this website to calculate how much material you will need and then select the size. Click here to begin selecting.
How to install a Pebble Path:
Begin by selecting the pebble or gravel you want for your path. In general a size of ¾” or smaller will provide the best walking surface. Do you want a rounded pebble or a crushed, angular pebble? A rounded pebble more likely to move under traffic. An angular pebble will tend to stay traffic.
Define the size of the pathway. If the ground is firm, level the surface. If the ground is unstable, excavate to a depth of 5” and compact 3” of base rock. Next install a border using either wood or plastic form materials. A fabric weed barrier will help to discourage weed growth. Finally, spread 2”-3”of the pebble or gravel of your choice into your forms.