Thursday, March 30, 2017

Paver Replacement

About 15 years ago I pulled a ton of weeds out of the side yard at the house, and then dug out a bunch of dirt, and then added way too much sand, all so that I could put in some pavers to widen the slim path that ran along the house from out side patio to the back yard.

They actually came out ok, considering how little I researched and how poorly I prepped the site/etc.

Over the years they had settled a bit and eventually some weeds began to grow up through the spaces. We tried hard to keep ahead of the weeds, and managed to keep it a mostly weed-free, mostly/kind of level area.

But then California had a severe, several year long drought and we noticed that the pavers had begun to shift. Some of them sank quite a bit, as much as 3 inches in places. What was happening?

Well, I went out and pulled some pavers up and discovered that the ground under that very thick layer of sand I put down had gotten so dry that it cracked up and began swallowing all the sand!

So I added some dirt in some of the worst spots and tried my best to keep the area safe until I could get around to fixing it.

That time finally came early this month.

I pulled up every paver, wiped them down with gloves to remove most of the sand, dirt, weeds, and moss. Then I stacked them neatly along the cement walkway.

Next I pulled back the sand and discovered that most of the cracks in the soil had magically healed themselves. Weird.

At this point, I _could_ have removed all the sand and tried to put down some kind of underlayment, or found a way to try to prevent that "disappearing sand" issue from happening in the future.

I could have done a lot of things.

But instead I made a board the perfect height for the pavers and used a big piece of PVC pipe I had to level the sand. I actually had to add more sand to get things up to the right height.

I set aside a whole day to level the sand and install the pavers but it ended up taking just 3 hours.

The end result is about as good as it was 15 years ago. If we get another 15 years out of it we'll be happy. I know it's not the right attitude, and I really should have done it "right" but at some point I just ran out of motivation (see my post about the funk below).


  1. Good grief that was a huge job, but well done! I put down some bricks by the back steps when we first moved in, just to see if they would fit so I could re-do them properly later. Well, the original test bricks are still there. We have weeds growing up between them but at least it's not a mud spot anymore when it rains!

  2. I just checked and we're still weed free 2 weeks in! :)

    Now I just have to stay on top of it...