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By APC Admin |

Paving a pathway or driveway not only adds to the beauty of your home but also increases your property's worth. There are several techniques you can use to pave your pathway. Even better, it only takes a weekend to create a quality, long-lasting pavement provided you follow the right steps.

In addition to the low costs of setting up, paved areas create value by providing pathways, parking space, and even reliable home drainage systems. Pavements add to the overall beauty of any property, especially when made to resemble the original design of a house.

DIY paving is your best bet to decrease lawn maintenance, especially in frequently accessed areas like clotheslines, sheds, or even barbecue spots. A pavement will create a strong underfoot that will protect your lawn from the wear and tear associated with frequent usage.

If you are contemplating paving your driveway or creating a pathway in your backyard, then you are in the right place. We’re about to cover everything you need to know about paving on the sand, while also providing tips on what to avoid in a bid to create a lasting and efficient paved area.

For step by step guide, please refer to our Paving Guide.

Why Use Sand?

Despite being among the cheapest materials for DIY paving, sand plays an integral role in ensuring that your pavement remains firm and intact for a long time. Sand is used in the bedding and filling processes of pavement creation.

Once you have evenly spread crushed stone or gravel on the area to be paved, you should proceed to spread a measured layer of bedding sand. Bedding sand provides a surface for laying the pavers. It also helps in holding joint sand in place and preventing it from gradual disappearing.

Using sand as a bedding surface and as a filler material has several benefits. First, filler sand fills in the spaces between pavers, thus making the pavement more compact and less likely to loosen up over time. Sand is also cheap to acquire and relatively easy to use, making it appropriate for DIY paving.

Even better, base sand helps provide a flat and highly permeable surface for placing the pavers. This prevents slopping over time and ensures that the pavement remains intact after repeated use or even during heavy rains.

What You'll Need

Luckily, DIY paving does not require the use of industrial tools and materials. However, some must-have tools for successful paving include shovels, rubber mallet, chisel, broom, angle grinder, wheelbarrow, string line, straight edge, measuring tape, hammer, gloves, dust mask and safety glasses.

You will also need cement, paving sand, a spirit level, pavers, and a wooden border. You can easily access these tools and materials at your local hardware at pocket-friendly prices.


The Best Sand for Pavers

While sand use is pivotal during paving, you must be extra careful about the type of sand you intend to use for both bedding and joint filling.

For bedding sand, a similar texture to the stone base material is preferred. Additionally, the sand granules should have sharp edges for interlocking with pavers and should also vary in size. Using different sized granules allows for the creation of a stronger and flatter sand bed.

Filling sands, too, require sharp edges for optimum functionality. The most preferred sand is beach sand which has small but multiple sized granules that bind together pavers and prevent slipping as well as unwanted paver movements.

Paver Options


Depending on your needs and planned budget, there are several options of pavers you can select. Below are some of the more popular options.

Commercial Pavers

Commercial pavers are ideal for high-traffic places. These pavers are made from robust and break-resistant material designed to handle high-pressure levels. They utilize an interlocking design and are available in different finishes. Although commercial pavers are mostly used in public areas with high traffic, you can use the pavers for your driveway or other frequently used areas in your home.

Large Format Pavers

Large format pavers offer convenience as they can be used for both indoor and outdoor purposes. Impressively, they come in various textures, finishes, sizes, styles, and colours, which guarantees a perfect fit regardless of your preferred method. Examples of large format pavers include Bradstone cobble, Bluestone marble, Black granite, and Centurystone among other options.

Clay Pavers

If you are looking for low maintenance, durable and slip-resistant pavers, then you should look no further than clay pavers. Pavers made from clay provide a unique heritage look to your property. It’s appropriate for high traffic areas and can be used for walkways, driveways, patios, pool areas, and even garden pathways.

Classic Concrete Pavers

Known for their durability, strength, and toughness, concrete pavers come in different styles and are appropriate for home use. Examples of concrete pavers include cobblestone, cheap pavers, budget paver, and brick pavers, among many other options. They are suitable for driveways, pathways, and even commercial spaces due to their durability.

Exposed Aggregate Pavements

Exposed aggregate pavements add both beauty and convenience to home or commercial pavements. The rough surfaces enhance overall traction allowing for increased durability and toughness. Exposed pavements are appropriate for driveways and pathways and can add to a home's beauty when unique materials are used.

Common Mistakes When Paving on Sand


Mistake 1: Failure to Plan for Gradual Movement

Factors like temperature, moisture, and even seasons play a huge part in determining the ground’s behaviour. When paving, you will need to allow enough room for expansion due to

ground movement, which is affected by pressure and gradual expansion. Be sure to plan adequately by measuring construction, expansion, and contraction joints.

Mistake 2: Wrong Use of Mortar Additives

If you plan to use large format pavers, then it is advisable to be extra watchful of your use of mortar additives. Mortar additives play the role of improving workability, elasticity, and adhesion. If the right additives are used, then you can manage a high-quality finish while also avoiding the risk of pavers de-bonding. However, failure to use mortar additives can lead to uneven and unappealing pavement installation.

Mistake 3: Storing the Pavers on Sand or on Site

Engineered pavers such as natural stone are highly susceptible to staining, more so when incorrectly stored during the installation process. If you fail to store pavers on dry surfaces, then the pavers will discolour quickly, which affects their overall duration and ability to remain firm on the sand bed.

Mistake 4: Incorrect Mixing Method and Mortar Ratio

To achieve the desired outcomes in your DIY paving project, you will need to find the perfect mortar ratio. Always avoid adding water to a mixture of cement and sand. Instead, consider adding cement and sand to water. You also need to check on the measurements of the plasticizer. Be sure to measure your mixtures to avoid time and resource wastage.

Mistake 5: Failure to Acid Wash

As you might be aware, pavements stained with mortar are far less attractive than neatly done and finished pavements. Acid washing is highly recommended if your desire is to have an easy to maintain pavement. Failure to acid wash will leave your pavement looking untidy, and sadly increases the chances of rapid degradation over time.  

How to Avoid Common Mistakes

1.    Follow the Intended Construction Plan

Mistake: Not observing the specific plan of construction

When installing a pavement, it is vital to have a plan that shows the structural profile of the proposed pavement. A good plan should have relevant markings that indicate the preferred intervals of the three types of joints. A well-planned strategy helps in ensuring that joint placement is done correctly.

2.   Run Joints Both Longitudinally and Transversely

Mistake: Failure to run joints in both ways

To succeed in your DIY paving project, you will need to place joints both transversely and longitudinally. Additionally, the joints must be strategically placed at the correct intervals. The proposed pavement pattern and the size of the pavers can be utilized to determine the perfect joint placement while also satisfying the minimal construction requirements.

3.    Inspect the Soil

Mistake: Laying pavers on wrong soil type

Not all sand can be used as a bed for pavers. Sand with sharp edges and a similar texture to the pavers is always preferred. Using other types of soil might compromise on drainage as they might hold water and create a convenient environment for plants, algae, and weed growth.

4.    Compacting the Sand Bedding

Mistake: Failure to make bedding sand compact

 You should proceed to spread and screed sand across the desired pavement area. Using a screeding board and screed rail will help you level the area. Use the spirit level to ensure that the sand is level with the screeding rails. Since bedding sand is critical in providing support to pavers, it needs to be compact. Failing to compact the pavers or sand can cause the pavers to move or jostle at a later time.

5.    Design the Pavement Drainage

Mistake: Poor drainage system

Unfortunately, most people tend to forget the importance of proper drainage systems when it comes to DIY paving. A sound drainage system will help keep your filler sand well in place and allow for the proper flow of water.  

6.    Installing Pavers Incorrectly

Mistake: Not keeping the edges together

For a successful final product, the paving materials should not be able to shift. This is done by allowing small spaces for sand filling and edge restraining. The edge barriers should be installed using well-mixed concrete to prevent the creation of unnecessary spacing, which can weaken the pavement.

7.    Let it Settle

Mistake: Putting the new pavement into use before allowing it to settle

Using the pavement before the cement has dried up will only affect its ability to withstand pressure in the future. You should allow enough time for the cement and sand mixture to dry, and for the edges to hold the pavers in place after drying.

Here's to your Paving your Success

As you can see, paving on sand is one of the easiest and cost-friendly methods to install highly attractive pavement areas at home or even in a commercial space. All you have to do is pay attention to the tiniest of details like maintaining proper mixture ratios, using the right sand, proper measurements, and sticking to the plan.

Once you are done laying down the pavers and adding the joint sand, be sure to allow enough time for the sand and material to settle. By observing these and the other instructions listed throughout this guide, you will be well placed to succeed in your DIY paving project. 

Can’t decide which paver to choose? Contact us at 1 800 191 131 and we’ll be happy to help!