Paths in the garden make sense. They ensure room separation and order. It is best if there are fixed paths so that you can get from A to B with dry feet. Now there are different ways to create a walkway. This can be done quite easily with bark mulch, a quick and inexpensive method that is usually not very satisfactory in the long run. Gravel is another option, properly laid out this trail will last for many years. To go barefoot in the garden, which I especially love, it is not so cheap. Also, the stones often turn green and dirty, not a really nice sight. Paving stones are a good solution, but they are usually small and more difficult to lay.

Gewehgplatten & alternatives

Pavement slabs are the means of choice for many garden owners. There is a large selection and, if you don’t have two left hands, you can move them yourself. As a rule, slabs made of concrete are used, they are the cheapest version and many are already so well made that they can hardly be distinguished from the natural stone slabs. This brings us to the other option, the natural stone slabs. Usually granite or basalt is used. Natural materials are certainly great, but firstly, the selection for many hobbyists is a question of price and, secondly, these materials are not inexhaustible.

Good preparation is recommended for laying paving slabs. The desired area is to be measured. It is best to draw a floor plan. Paths that are often used, e.g. to the front door, garage or shed, should be 1.20 m wide. For paths that are not used much, 80 cm is sufficient. Now you have the dimensions and can choose the plates.

Which plates to use

Pavement slabs are not only made of different materials and different colors and sizes, their thickness is also not uniform. You have to choose the road plates according to the load.

  • They also have to be frost-proof and of course weatherproof.
  • They should also have a good slip resistance class. You should not slide on wet pavement slabs, it can be dangerous.
  • The most common sizes are 30 x 30, 40 x 40 or 50 x 50. The thicknesses are in the range of 4.5 cm, 5 and 6 cm.
  • Concrete slabs are the classics. There are different colors, many in gray and anthracite tones, but also interesting new colors. A rough distinction is made between smooth concrete and shot-peened (coarser) surfaces. Concrete slabs impress with their simplicity and they are timeless. They don’t push themselves into the foreground, instead they set the scene for the surroundings. Compared to natural stones, they are often significantly cheaper, although there are also expensive concrete blocks. But they mostly look deceptively similar to natural materials. Concrete slabs are extremely weather-resistant. The disadvantage is that they absorb fats and oils. Once drawn into the material, the stain cannot be removed.
  • Once you have chosen the plates, you have to work out how many are needed. You then buy these. It is advisable to always take a few more. Sometimes you have miscalculated, something breaks and you should always have a few left in case one or more have to be replaced later. Natural stone slabs (granite, marble, limestone, dolomite, travertine, sandstone, Basalt, frost-resistant slate and quartzite and others) are just pure nature. They are weatherproof, resistant to oils and fats, durable and easy to clean. However, you have to pay attention to a somewhat rough surface, otherwise it will be very slippery when wet. They are so popular mainly because of their looks. They come in many colors, shapes and sizes.

What else is needed?

The plates alone are not enough. Some materials are required for the substructure. Sand is also important because it compacts everything and in the end of which the slabs lie in the bed. Many experts also recommend placing curbs so that the path has a better grip and cannot slide away. I did not take that into account here, however, as we reported about it separately.

  • Gravel, frost protection gravel or concrete recycling in grain size 0/32
  • Gravel bedding or sand
  • Fugensand

Lay paving slabs

Laying paving slabs is not difficult. However, it is quite a job, depending of course on how much path has to be laid and how much help you have. It is important to work conscientiously and in the correct order. Fast, fast is the wrong way to go here. It is better to proceed slowly, but not have to rework, that is important. Large pavement slabs of the same size are of course easier to lay than small ones or if you have to lay samples. It’s a matter of taste and price.

Substructure for pavement slabs

So that the path lasts a long time, there are no differences in height, not even after long use and so that everything remains as beautiful as it was at the beginning, a stable and frost-proof substructure is required. In order to make this possible, the path has to be excavated.

The depth is calculated from

  • the thickness of the panels (usually 5 cm)
  • a layer of sand of 5 cm
  • and a base layer of gravel
  • 20 cm for sandy soil
  • 30 to 40 cm for loam and clay soil

Once the path has been excavated to the calculated height, it is filled with crushed stone, frost protection gravel or concrete recycling in grain size 0/32. It is important to always work in a white layer and in between to compact the soil with a vibrating plate (can be borrowed). Always guide the vibrating plate lengthways and crossways. It is also important that a very slight gradient of at least 2 percent is incorporated. This is the only way to drain the pavement.

  • Use cords to determine the height difference.
  • Tension a string to the left and right of the sidewalk.
  • Calculate the final height with plates.
  • Tension one side of the cord at this height.
  • The guide line is lowered on the other side by exactly 2 cm for every one meter of travel.

The gravel bedding or sand with the appropriate grain size, about 3 to 5 cm thick, is placed on this base layer. Here, too, the plate compactor has to work again. The top layer needs to be smoothed. A uniform and smooth surface must be created.

Laying the panels

When the sub-bed is finished, you can start laying the panels. You start at one end, not the middle. It is ideal to start where there is a straight starting surface, for example on the terrace, on the door, from the property entrance and the footpath.

  • Align the first row of panels. Orientate on the cords, both in direction, width and height.
  • Using a plaster hammer with a rubber attachment, tap the paving stones lightly so that they lie firmly in the bed.
  • It is best to start the second row with half a road plate. This results in a firm bond and the stones cannot tip over when loaded.
  • Half panels can be achieved by dividing a whole, for example with an angle grinder with a cutting disc or with a cutting table. It can also be borrowed.
  • The plates should have a minimum distance of 3 mm. Sometimes you get spacers when you buy the panels.
  • This can be done row by row. Always pay attention to the cords. Once all the tiles have been laid, the jointing sand is scattered and the joints are swept with a broom. What is too much is turned away.
  • Now it has to be shaken again. This time a rubber mat is attached to the vibrator so that the plates are not damaged.
  • The area will still settle by about one centimeter.
  • Now water is allowed to run over the plates. The joint sand settles and you have to refill.
  • This is repeated until all the cracks and gaps are filled.

Alternative – unbound construction

If you only want to lay individual slabs as a path, always about one step apart, you can also do without an expensive bed. You then simply place the plates in a compacted bed of sand and press them lightly. These plates are easy to remove if you decide one day to pave the way professionally. These methods can affect lawn mowing. If the plates move after a while, the mower can make it difficult to drive over the edges.


  • It is beneficial if kerbstones are placed on the edges. On the one hand, this gives the panels support and, on the other hand, ensures that nothing grows into the joints from the outside. Lawn is very fond of that. In addition, the plates cannot slip.
  • You don’t slip on roughened surfaces as easily as on sanded ones.
  • The easiest way to transport and move the panels to the right place is with a panel lifter.

If you create your garden paths yourself with path plates, you can save a lot of money. Better to invest in good road slabs. However, it is not child’s play to design such a path. It is still possible with large plates of the same size, but with small and samples it sometimes becomes Sisyphean work. However, I think that’s so nice because not everything looks the same and super correct. But that’s a matter of taste. In any case, the sub-floor is important for the path. If the “foundation” is not right, the path cannot work. The thing about the gradient of at least 2 percent is of course quite easy on straight paths. It gets difficult when cornering. Of course I like curved paths again, why should I just do it?

So if you feel like it, you don’t have two left hands and if you don’t have it financially, you can lay paving slabs yourself. A helper and no time pressure are cheap, then it’s all right.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *