Improve access to the house with a budget-friendly path you can lay in a day using pavers.
Garden paths are often functional concrete surfaces that are laid to protect the lawn from heavy foot traffic, and to direct visitors to an entrance point.
A stepping stone path doubles as a landscape feature and is both affordable and easy to lay DIY, as it can be installed in straight or curved lines with ease in just a weekend.
Stepping stones can be made from a variety of materials, including timber, concrete, clay and stone.
They are a simple solution to provide access in areas that are constantly wet or muddy underfoot, or in a lawn showing signs of wear.
For this project, the original white crushed gravel pathway was removed. The ground was then prepared using a plate compactor to create a solid foundation for the pavers.
A stepping stone path with crushed rock surround was installed across the front and down one side of the house. Large format concrete pavers from the Adbri masonry range were used to form the path.
These 400 x 400 x 40mm concrete pavers are available to buy through Bunnings special orders. They are available in a variety of colours and have a non-slip surface.
The pavers can be used as individual stepping stones or butted together to create a paved surface area for courtyards, patios or paths.
Setting the stride width
Lay a few pavers spaced about 100 to 200mm apart then walk across to check stride spacing. Each step should land in the centre of each paver.
If necessary, adjust the distance between the pavers to suit your stride.
Aim for an average distance between pavers and avoid spacing them too far apart as it could make walking uncomfortable.
Measure the distance from centre to centre to establish stride width.
Lay the pavers
Prepare the foundations for the pathway then lay the pavers on a 40mm thick mortar base mixture of wet sand and cement.
Position the pavers to a set stringline to ensure that the rows of stepping stones are perfectly aligned.
On this job, 50 pavers were laid with a double row across the front and a single row branching into three rows down one side of the property.
TIP Plate compactors can be hired for about $45 for half a day.
Walk along the centre of the pathway and, with each step, have a helper mark the centre of each footprint with paint to establish the optimum paver spacing. TIP The stride of an average adult is 500 to 600mm from centre to centre
Stretch a taut stringline for each row of pavers along the laying line across the front. Set the stringline at a height of 80mm above ground level, securing with pegs at both ends. Repeat down the side, setting a perpendicular line to the front pavers.
Combine four parts fine beach sand with one part cement, adding water and a few drops of a plasticiser such as Bycol. Mix the mortar to a creamy consistency. Use a bricklaying trowel to spread a 400 x 400 x 40mm bed of mortar at each paver location.
Hold the paver on both sides and lift into position, aligning the top edge of the pavers with the set stringline. Use a tape to check the measurement between the pavers is uniform. TIP Use a house brick as a spacer to set a gap of 110mm.
Gently twist each paver, applying downward pressure until the top of the paver is level with the stringline height. Position a 600mm spirit level across the top of the paver in both directions and tap it down with a rubber mallet until it’s level.
Allow the mortar to cure for 24 hours then barrow in crushed rock or pebbles. Use a rake and square-nosed shovel to spread the rock, tamping with the back of the rake for a finished height 10mm below the top of the pavers.