Paving stones are perfect for beautifying your yard. But if you're planning to DIY your sidewalk or patio, you want to avoid mistakes that could cost you time and money down the road. With just a little careful planning and preparation, you can have the yard of your dreams. Here are some simple rules to follow when laying your paving stones.
A common mistake many homeowners make when planning a patio or walkway is underestimating how big the space should be. Then once they get the table and grill in place, they've run out of room to move about. Similarly, they may think that that the standard three feet is plenty wide enough for that sidewalk, but once it's finished, they wish they'd gone with four or five feet. It's worth the investment to go a little bigger and purchase more stones than you think you'll need, just in case.
Store the Stones
Whether you're using natural or manufactured stones, you need to be aware that storing them incorrectly could cause staining. For instance, if they're stacked in your yard in such a way that parts of the surfaces are exposed to the elements while other sections are hidden, discoloration could occur.
Be sure to keep them stored either inside a shed or garage or keep them covered with a weatherproof tarp. They should be kept dry and out of the sun until you are ready to lay them down.
Prepare the Base
Whatever you decide to use as a base—whether sand, crushed stone, or compacted soil—you'll need to tamp it down it in stages. If you wait until all the layers have been added, your compacter will only work on the top layers.
And if you use sand as the top-most layer, which is highly recommended, don't tamp it down at all. Let it remain loose so that it can navigate between the paving stones and help set them in place.
Lay the Stones
The first rule here is don't expect perfection. Lines and edges are rarely perfectly straight, and that's okay. However, you do want it to look as straight and neat as you possibly can so you don't have to go back and shuffle things around.
Since you'll need to leave a little space between the stones and the foundation wall, using a string line that comes off the edge of the wall can help. Also, be sure to leave some space between the stones for the sand to fill in.
Lastly, don't forget the edge restraints. Without those, your paving stones will move during heavy traffic and extreme weather conditions. Edge restraints can be made of plastic, stone, wood, or metal. To learn more, visit a website like http://www.tmlandscapedesign.com.