Sidewalks can be a beautiful addition to any site and will enhance the appearance of your home. A good sidewalk provides a safe path for foot traffic but at the same time adds a decorative element to your property. Sidewalks need not always be to your front door but can connect gardens, patios, outbuildings or any other often used path of travel. Sidewalks can also be constructed of dozens of different types of materials ranging from stone, brick pavers, wood chips, concrete, stone screenings, wood, gravel or most any idea you can come up with that will provide a firm footing. Pavers come in many shapes,sizes and colors. Patterns are almost endless.
Using a paper pad, ruler and pencil, sketch out on paper what you would like your sidewalk to look like. It’s easy to change it on paper. Try several different layouts.
Move the lines around a little if your are curving the walk. Your first idea may not have been the best one. OK, now that you have an idea you like on paper, go get your garden hose. You don’t need water, just the hose. Using the hose, layout the sidewalk as closely as possible to what you have drawn. Place the hose on both sides of the proposed walk. NOW you can see what you actually drew on our layout sheet.
NOW is the time to move the hose around to obtain the best layout. Keep moving it until you are finally happy with the result. Using a can of upside down marker paint, carefully paint the line while lifting the hose so you don’t get paint all over the hose itself. Layout is done, put the hose away.
Have you decided what type of material you want to use for your sidewalk? Visit your local supply store to actually touch and feel the different products available. Look around your neighborhood to see if any other homes have a sidewalk you really like. Measure your layout area of the sidewalk to get the square footage of material you will need. Width times length gives you the square footage. Example:
3′ wide by 24 feet long = 72 square feet. You will find that pavers, brick, etc. are sold by each piece but the salesperson can tell you how many it takes to make a square foot. If it takes 4 brick pavers to make a square foot then multiply 4 times 72 square feet and you will need 288 pieces plus a small amount for waste. Most stores will allow you to return unused pieces but ask first. If you buy them on sale, you may not be able to return your leftovers. Your pavers will require a material such as stone dust or screenings as a sub-base. You need to measure the width, times the length times the depth of the excavated sidewalk (usually at least 4″ plus the thickness of the paver). With this number, divide it by 27 and that is the cubic yardage of material you will need. Using the same numbers you would have 3′ x 24′ x.3′ or 21.6 cubic feet divided by 27 =.8 cubic yards. You will have to buy at least 1 full yard and you will need it as compaction, settlement and spillage will require that amount of material. If your using a brick or stone paver, order them now. Make sure the supplier will deliver and off load for you unless you have a truck or station wagon and a strong back.
Pavers are quite heavy and require a good deal of effort to unload and restack. You don’t want to drop or toss them into a pile as they can break and chip. While you are at the store, you will also want to purchase sidewalk edging material. If your sidewalk is curved, there are plastic products available made just for that purpose. They are easy to shape to your layout and come with ground stakes to hold it in place. It will hold your pavers in place and keep your grass out of the walk as well. It is required on both sides of the walk and any “open” edge. If your sidewalk has all square edges and corners you may elect to use pressure treated or redwood 1 x 4 as an edging. In any case, the edging must be exactly 3′ apart when installed to assure uniformity to the eye and for installation of the pavers.