How to Create a Walkway with Concrete Pavers

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON: Our first stop is upstate New York, New Hartford where Pat and Caroline Buckley built their home more than 20 years ago.  They left something out, the front walk.  Hey Caroline, how are you?  Pat?

CAROLINE BUCKLEY: Hi!

PAT BUCKLEY: Hi Ron, nice to meet you.

RON HAZELTON: What a lovely house.

CAROLINE BUCKLEY: Oh, thank you. 

RON HAZELTON: Nice maple tree here too.  So why don’t you show me what we’re going to be doing today?

PAT BUCKLEY: Well, I’d like to put a stone walkway in that would extend from the stairs here go right out to the new driveway we put in. 

RON HAZELTON: In order to make the new walk level, we’ll have to dig out a considerable amount of dirt, and build a retaining wall.  Pat plans to use 6 x 6 pressure treated lumber for this.

PAT BUCKLEY: Well what we’d like to do is use some concrete that we can actually do a mold of a, like a stone pathway going right from the deck or the stairs here right to the new black top. 

RON HAZELTON: So, concrete but looks like stone.

PAT BUCKLEY: Looks like stone.

RON HAZELTON: You know I am going to suggest we take your garden hose right here and we use this as kind of just a lay out template, it is very flexible, we can kind of adjust this however we want it, so why don’t you guys play with this a little bit, see what you like for a curve.  I want to just sort of walk this now; I want to see if it feels comfortable to me.  You know, part of it is the way it looks, and part of it is just the way it feels when you walk around it, you don’t want it too tight.

PAT BUCKLEY: I like this.

RON HAZELTON: We plan to make our walk the same width as the staircase, 45 inches.  And we’ll allow another 7 inches for the width of the retaining wall. That’ll make the total width of the area we’ll have to dig 52 inches.  Having figured this out, we lay out the position of the walk using stakes and string.  Then it’s time to dig.  Great.  Well we’ve got this outline now with stakes and strings, I think it is time to take a spade, a garden spade here and Pat, if you could just go along here and just kind of break this through the sod like this, and Caroline why don’t you go ahead and pick up the hose and the stakes. 

PAT BUCKLEY: Okay.

RON HAZELTON: We’ll remove the sod carefully because we’ll reuse it after we’re done to fill the inside curve of the walk.  How long have you had the house here?

PAT BUCKLEY: About 21 years, Ron.

RON HAZELTON: So you moved in when it was new?

CAROLINE BUCKLEY: Actually my dad built it for us, right from the.

RON HAZELTON: Really?

CAROLINE BUCKLEY: Yup, my dad built it and my brother did the mason work. 

RON HAZELTON: No kidding, so this is really a family project from the start.  You got a lot of dirt to move here, but it’s loose.  And the pick is making it loosen up even more quickly.  All right guys, we’ve done a good job at getting this flat and squaring our ends off here.  Now our next job is going to be to put in something that’ll make the bottom even flatter.  After putting down about 3 inches of sand, we’ll rake it out nice and level.  In addition to making a good stable base for the concrete, the sand will also help with drainage.  Now this is the pressure treated 6 x 6 we are going to use to create a retaining wall here.  After our sand base is level, we’ll start to assemble the retaining wall.  Because pressure treated lumber is so dense, we’ll need to drill pilot holes in order to drive the spikes that we’re using to secure the wall together.  Down there, okay, just shove it down to me.  Good.  All righty.  We’ve got our sand nice and smooth here, so Pat if you’ll hand me the form.  We’ll set this in place right here.  There we go, all right.  Now we are going to build a slight slope into the walk away from the retaining wall.  This will allow water to run off the walk toward the driveway preventing puddles from forming.  Good.  Okay, let’s mix up some concrete.  Now we are going to use a fiber reinforced concrete today, that’ll make everything a lot stronger, so you’ve cut this open on the bottom, Pat, why don’t you go ahead and dump that in there.  You had asked if we could make these a color, right?

CAROLINE BUCKLEY: Yes.

RON HAZELTON: Something that maybe would go with your steps up there.  So this is the cement color right here, Caroline if you just go ahead and pour that in this water. 

CAROLINE BUCKLEY: You want me to pour the whole thing in?

RON HAZELTON: Pour the whole thing in there, right.  Okay, Caroline, give that a little bit of a stir there.

CAROLINE BUCKLEY: Okay.

RON HAZELTON: All right, and then Pat if you’d take the water now, or the colored water, and pour that right in here, I’ll do some mixing.  Save a little bit of it, just reserve a little bit of it, just to get it, that’s good.  Now it’s mixed, now we’re just going to shovel this in, I’ll give you some right here, Pat.  Okay, just take a trial one out and just push that down in there.  Caroline here’s one for you.  Force it down in and you want to get this all the way in, into each opening, and I’ll keep shoving this here, you guys keep using enough.  Good, downward pressure first, and then just kind of smooth off the tops, there you go.  Let’s see what we’ve got here, we are going to tap the form, this is going to break this loose a little bit.  You know the idea is to lift this up as straight as possible, okay.  This will be a little tricky because we can’t get a hold of that rear corner.  As soon as you can get under there Caroline and get a grip on that.

CAROLINE BUCKLEY: Okay.

RON HAZELTON: Yeah, there we go.  Okay?  And there is our first set of stones, not bad, eh? 

PAT BUCKLEY: Looks good. 

RON HAZELTON: In order to add an interesting texture to the tops of the stones, we’ll dab the wet concrete with a damp sponge.  We’ll also use our fingers to shape the edges of the stones to a slight bevel.  Well let’s do the second one, okay?  Pat, grab the form and we want to rotate this 90 degrees so that we stagger the pattern, there you go and that interlocks just like that.  Using the concrete form, we work our way down the inside of the walk.  Okay guys.  There are a couple of ways to deal with curves and turns in the walk like we have right here.  One is to use a small form like this, the other is to pour individual stones say on a piece of plywood and then actually cut them to the shape you need and lay them in place.  After the inside is finished, we repeat the procedure for the driveway side.  Okay, there we go.  In order to fill the odd spaces in the turns, I cut the form into a smaller shape.  In other cases, we hand shape the wet concrete into stones after pouring it into place.  Whew, almost finished.  Just a couple more things to do.  In a little while when this is hard, but still damp, I’d like to put a concrete cure and seal on here.  You can put it on with a garden sprayer or even brush it.  That’ll make the surface a lot tougher.  And then tomorrow, put some more sand on here and then brush in to the cracks in between and then brush out the excess.  I think this turned out great, I really do.  I really, really like this.  You know, for me what it does is it connects the steps here to the driveway.  It’s so friendly, it’s like come on in, pay us a visit, you know.

CAROLINE BUCKLEY: Yup, we like it, we like it a lot.

PAT BUCKLEY: Thank you Ron.

RON HAZELTON: Congratulations.

CAROLINE BUCKLEY: Thank you.

Lead the Way to Your Front Door from Driveway to Stairs with an Attractive Colored Concrete Paver Walkway

Dress up the front of your house by replacing the worn grass that leads to your door with a Do-It-Yourself colored concrete paver walkway that curves from driveway to stairway.  Excavate the dirt, build a small retaining wall of heavy landscape timbers, and then most your own concrete paver walkway on a bed of leveled sand.

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Layout the Position of the Concrete Paver Walkway
Step 1

Layout the Position of the Concrete Paver Walkway

Mark the desired curve and position of the concrete paver walkway using stakes and string. Design it based on appearance and ease of use in walking from the steps to the driveway.

Excavate the Base for the Concrete Paver Walkway
Step 2

Excavate the Base for the Concrete Paver Walkway

Dig up the sod carefully, because you may reuse it on completion of your concrete paver walkway. Loosen the earth with a mattock and shovel it into a container for relocation -- otherwise, you will end up moving it twice.

Make a Level Sand Base for the Concrete Paver Walkway
Step 3

Make a Level Sand Base for the Concrete Paver Walkway

Line the bottom of the concrete paver walkway foundation with 3 inches of sand and rake it level as a stable base for the concrete pavers. The sand will also promote drainage and avoid water standing on the walkway.

Assemble the Retaining wall beside the Concrete Paver Walkway
Step 4

Assemble the Retaining wall beside the Concrete Paver Walkway

Build a retaining wall of 6 by 6 treated landscaping timbers beside the concrete paver walkway. Angle the ends so they fit neatly end-to-end to make turns. Pre-drill pilot holes for landscaping spikes driven to stabilize the timbers.

Form the Stones in the Concrete Paver Walkway
Step 5

Form the Stones in the Concrete Paver Walkway

Use a purchased form for shaping the stones in the concrete paver walkway. Set them at a slightly downward angle towards the driveway so that water will run off in that direction to promote draining and prevent puddling.

Mix Fiber-reinforced Mortar for Stones in the Concrete Paver Walkway
Step 6

Mix Fiber-reinforced Mortar for Stones in the Concrete Paver Walkway

Use fiber-reinforced mortar to make stronger pavers for the concrete paver walkway. Add cement color if desired, pouring it into the water and stirring to mix before adding it to the dry concrete mix. Mix with a hoe.

Fill the Stone Form for the Concrete Paver Walkway
Step 7

Fill the Stone Form for the Concrete Paver Walkway

Shovel the wet mortar into the stone forms openings. Push it into the shapes with a flat mortar trowel. Tap the form and then lift it straight up to avoid disturbing the shapes. Smooth as necessary with a damp sponge and bevel the edges with your fingers.

Rotate the Form for Each New Concrete Paver Walkway Stone
Step 8

Rotate the Form for Each New Concrete Paver Walkway Stone

Rotate the form 90 degrees (a quarter turn) for each new concrete paver walkway stone to stagger the pattern from the adjacent stone. Use the smaller form provided or pour and cut individual stones to turn corners and fill holes.

Finishing the Concrete Paver Walkway
Step 9

Finishing the Concrete Paver Walkway

Apply concrete cure and seal while the concrete paver walkway stones are hard but still damp. The following day, when the concrete is dry, brush sand or other stabilizing joint filler between the stones to stabilize them.