Best way to dig down a small amount to lay large pavers?

GCS

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2008
161
Going to make a short (perhaps 10 feet long) 3' wide walkway from the deck to the pool with some 12-16" wide pavers from HD or Lowes etc.

I obviously need to dig down to make a nice flat level surface but I don't need to go too far down with it. Is there a simple way to do this as I would think going at it with a shovel would be like doing surgery with a meat clever (not pretty).

Just looking for your ideas.

Thanks

Greg
 

Shane1

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 29, 2010
621
Buckeye, AZ 85326
I would rent a roto-tiller like duraleigh mentioned. Go a few inches deep, shovel out the dirt then put a layer of sand down to make a nice level compacted surface for the pavers.
 

woodyp

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 17, 2010
10,576
East Texas
If the ground isn't too hard (packed clay) and we're only talking like 3 inches or so, and if there is grass you want to save there, I would chop all the way around it with a sharp drain spade type shovel. Then just get close to parallel to ground with that same shovel and poke/slide it under the grass squares you have already chopped out. Drain spade---------the other handy man's secret weapon.
 

haybird

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
211
Ontario
If frost is an issue where you live, you will need a good base. If you don't get rid of the top soil
you will get heaving from the frost.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
haybird said:
If frost is an issue where you live, you will need a good base. If you don't get rid of the top soil
you will get heaving from the frost.
What haybird said.

You need to dig, with a shovel, down at least 8 inches, preferably a foot. Then you need to add enough processed gravel to bring that back up to about 4 inches below grade. Pack the absolute dickins out of it with a hand held compactor. I mean really pack it. Then, get some 1x4's and some stakes. Form up the walk a little bigger than the 10 x4 (you said 3 feet wide, but it would look better 4 feet wide). Make sure the forms are level side to side and put about a little fall in the 10 foot length to drain water.

Get some stone dust and level it off in the forms, about 4 inches thick. Pack it down and then screed it off with a 2x4 and pack it again. Lay the pavers on the stone dust. Get some edging and stakes to hold the walk then pack in loom (loam for you non New englanders), then seed or sod back. Thats the proper way to lay a paver walk.
 

GCS

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2008
161
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Never really thought about the tiller or sod cutter.

Greg
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
While a tiller or sod cutter will do a great job removing the grass, I really cant stress enough that to do this job properly where the walk will look good, have no heaves, etc, you really must follow the directions I gave you. You really cant just lay pavers on top of the ground with a little sand underneath. It will not last and will not look very good.
 

GCS

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2008
161
Well I actually had the pool installer use the bobcat to dig it down for me, it will need cleaning up & leveling as he only got the heavy work done. I didn't go to the extreme you gave me but I did have him go down about 6" and will fill in and level from there.