The Q&A Archives: setting paving stones

Question: I have a very small yard that is uneven. I wanted to put in paving stones leaving a border around the edges for gardening. Could you send me information about preparing the ground and installing the concrete? I will be planting the borders with perennials that are drought resistant. Any suggestions?

Answer: The first step will be to determine the path for your paving stones. Once you've staked it out, rake the area as level as possible, lowering high spots and filling in low spots. When the area is reasonably level, spread 3-4" of builders sand over the entire pathway area. Then set your paving stones on the sand, wiggling them slightly to set them into the sand. Evenly spaced, and butted up to rigid border material, your stones won't need concrete to hold them in place. Once they're all set in place, dump more sand over the tops of the stones and sweep it into all the cracks and crevices between the stones. Water the pathway down to settle the sand and your paving stones will be ready to walk on.

Some drought resistant perennials to plant along the border include
Achillea (A. filipendulina; A. millefolium; A. ptarmica; A. tomentosa)
Alchemilla mollis
Anaphalis (A. margaritacea; A. triplinervis )
Asphodeline lutea
Baptisia autralis
Carlina acaulis
Catananche caerulea
Centaurea cineraria
Centranthus ruber
Cerastium tomentosum
Crambe cordifolia
Crepis incana
Cynara cardunculus
Dianthus (border carnations; pinks)
Geranium (G. endressii ; G. macrorrhizum; G. x oxonianum; G. x riversleaianum; G. sanguineum)
Gypsophila paniculata
Linum perenne
Liriope (L. muscari ; L. spicata)
Marrubium vulgare
Melissa officinalis
Nepeta (N. x faassenii; N. nervosa; 'Six Hills Giant')
Oenothera (O. fruticosa; O. macrocarpa AGM)
Oreganum (O. laevigatum; O. vulgare)
Papaver orientale
Phuopsis stylosa
Sedum (S. spectabile ; S. spurium; S. telephium)
Stachys byzantina
Symphytum (S. ibericum; 'Hidcote Blue')
Tanacetum parthenium

Best wishes with your new pathway!

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