Our Cobblestone Sidewalk

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A while back I mentioned that we met with a landscape designer to create a plan to add dimension to our front yard.  Our yard flat to us and we weren't sure exactly how much or little to do.  Front yards can easily have too much going on and I tend to choose the "less is more" approach.  This was the best picture I could find of our front yard and it really didn't look quite like this when we started this project.  The door is now black.  The trees are gone.  The shutters have been replaced with ones that are the right scale.

In our meeting we came up with a plan to deepen the foundation beds and extend them on each end.  We love green and white gardens and wanted to add in more texture and white.  I'll share all of this in a post next week.  For now I want to talk about the sidewalk.

It's hard to see it, but there is a slate footpath that runs from the main sidewalk over to the driveway.  It's been this way since we moved in 20 years and it is how we enter our house.  We tossed around several ideas.  One was to edge a pathway with cobblestone and fill it in with pea gravel.  I had visions of gravel in the house and tossed around the yard over time - so scratch that!  We finally decided to go with a cobblestone sidewalk.

Thankfully, we have a friend who is a rock star in the world of cobblestone who helped us make final selections for our new sidewalk.  We chose Countryside Allegheny antique by Oldcastle and could not be happier!

We searched online for how-tos on laying sidewalks, but ultimately decided just to jump in and start.
Supplies we used:

paver base
paver sand
edging guard
polymeric sand
and pavers of course
square shovel
edging shovel

The first thing I did was dig each side of the path with an edging shovel to create the lines we were working with. Then Mr. dug and dug and dug until the path was flat enough to lay the pavers.  It was helpful to tie a string to two stakes and place one at the beginning and end of the sidewalk to correct any major highs/lows.

Next we added a layer of paver base (the gray stuff), then a layer of paver sand (the lighter stuff).  Mr. would use the tamper to pack the base as I installed the path.

My goal was two fold.  I wanted to make sure the new sidewalk was flush with the existing sidewalk and driveway (to avoid stubbed toes) and I wanted the cobbles to "square up" at each transition rather than having those awkward wedge pieces.
There's really no easy way or shortcut to take.  It is a process let me tell you.  Each piece was individually placed.  We went with a running pattern which gave me a little wiggle room for the curving path.  Also, the style of cobble we chose is more forgiving that the flatter option in case things aren't perfectly even underneath.

The teenager even got in on the action!  You can also see the edging guards running down the side.  They are added (and secured with a spike) once the pavers are in place.  This locks everything in and won't be seen once the grass grows and the pine straw is back in place.

Next is when the magic happens.  The polymeric sand!  This stuff is amazing ya'll!  Once the pavers were installed and the edging was locked in, we poured this sand on and began sweeping it into the cracks.

We used a smaller hand broom for detail work.  Two bags of sand was exactly enough, but we were a little worried that we wouldn't have enough.

Once the sand was spread we locked it in place by watering the path.  The sand acts as a holding agent once wet.

Stay tuned for the whole front yard sha-bang next week.


  1. I LOVE YOUR HOUSE. The sidewalk looks amazing. Adds such character and charm to an already charming home. Can't wait to see the rest.

  2. This looks great! sorry if I missed it but how did you remove the old sidewalk? What was harder, removal or installation? Thank you for sharing.

    1. Well, the old sidewalk was individual pieces of slate that weren't secured by concrete. They had grass separating them so we pried them up with a shovel and moved them to the backyard. Saving them for a firepit. :)

  3. I just showed this to my husband and after he said how much he liked the idea of cobblestones, he wanted to know where you were BECAUSE we're in Savannah, GA and he wanted to make sure that it was a realistic plan for our location! ;) Thank you for being so "close" to us!

    1. We are in Greensboro, NC - so not too far away. I hope you get to do this. The work was so worth it!

  4. Wow, Rene! It looks amazing. I'm sure it's changed how your front yard looks...and I liked how it looked before :)

    1. Thank you Alissa! It's nice to have something pretty to walk on after all these years.

  5. This looks awesome! I love your home.

  6. It was charming before! Now it's REALLY charming! love it!
    Lynda @ Gates of Crystal

  7. WOW! Love your new sidewalk. Looks great!


  8. Your home is lovely. The cobblestones are fabulous!

  9. Your walk came out beautifully Rene! It reminds me of Nantucket's cobblestone streets, so classic and has such a nice visual texture. Your house has an insane amount of curb appeal. I bet it is the prettiest house on the block!

    1. We fell in love with cobblestone in Italy and had to have it. Thank you Lisa!

  10. Wow, this is spectacular! The perfect addition to the front of your house...I love it! xo Nancy

  11. Your house is so cute! The walkway looks great. I just painted my brick ranch about a month ago, and my door is a very similar color to yours! Love it on your house!

  12. I love your house...especially the windows!


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