A Back Bustin’ Paver Job

Pavers laid from control lines

Some years ago I did a complete make-over on an Urbana home, adding a large addition (sunroom, bedroom and bathroom) and a deck in the back yard. It did not surprise me when my client asked me to replace his decaying concrete driveway with pavers. He reasoned that pavers would give his house added value and street appeal.

Entry Walkway

Entry walkway

The decision to proceed was made after careful thought and a thorough review of products. Though excited at the prospect, I was uncomfortably aware that communication cables, gas and power lines lay in the dig area. Further complicating the matter were trees in the front and side yards. My client not only wanted a new driveway but additional parking spaces in the side yard.

And…uh…would I mind laying a stone pathway around his wife’s flower beds in the back yard?

Pavers come in various types. At the low end are concrete pavers with a useful life of about 25 yrs. They cost about $3 per square foot. Freezing and thawing cycles eventually cause them to fail. Clay pavers ($5/sf) are long lasting, have good color retention, and a higher tensile strength. At the high cost end are color-lock pavers selling for $13/sf.

removing tree root

The “root” of the problem

Pavers laid from control lines

Pavers laid from control lines

In areas where there is vehicle traffic, I laid an 8” bed of compacted roadpack (gravel) followed by a 1” layer of compacted sand. In the side yard I laid 4” and 1” layers respectively. Excavation proceeded slowly and sometimes by hand. We hauled away 40 tons of dirt and many tons of roadpack and sand were distributed and tamped into place.

Summer’s heat and high humidity were unrelenting as my son and I toiled long hours each day to keep the project moving along. Cutting and laying pavers is artistic work. One needs to pay attention to maintaining right angles!

A paver driveway is more expensive than the conventional concrete drive, but it looks much better and should last much longer. Decorative borders add a special touch. You can drive by and view this project at 2206 S. Race Street, Urbana.

Mak Driveway: Complete!

The finished product!

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