Paver/block section around a driveway

Looking for a bit of stone landscape consulting. I would like to rebuild a short border of belgian block or other paver-type at the roadside corners of my driveway.

Years ago I put in a couple of 6’ - '8 rows of Belgian block in a sand base at the rounded corners of my driveway where it meets the street. I didn’t take the time to do it “right”, so over the years one side has settled a few inches below road top and the stones are completely covered with road sand & crabgrass/weeds.

Were I to take a day to redo this, by digging them up,

  • what aggregate/underlayment material(s) would be a good option to put under the stones?
  • how far down should I put the base down (it’s not like a walkway where it has to go down past the frost line to avoid buckling)?
  • would it be worth putting polymeric sand between the stones?

Other recs? Forget the belgian block and put a flat paverstone down?

FC

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Sounds to me like the soil under everything was not fully compacted before adding the blocks. Did you perhaps put them in right after the driveway was poured? If so, the fill might not have been fully compacted.

I’d pull up the blocks and remove any sand base that is right below them. Once you are down to the soil, try compacting that a bit more to see if there’s any room for more compaction. If necessary, add some more soil to bring that up to level.

The finished product would have the pavers on top, between 1 and 2 inches of sand under that, then the compacted soil. So you’ll have to do a bit of measuring to find the right level for the soil. I put a weed blocking cloth between the soil and the sand. It seems to have helped for my small project.

With the soil at level, put the weed cloth down (optional), then add sand and finally the blocks. I used a level to keep the tops of my bricks at the desired level. I carefully adjusted the sand a bit as needed to keep my bricks at level. One problem with Belgian blocks is their potential unevenness. You may need to tap them down into the sand just a bit to get the sand to conform to the bottom of the block. I would not rush this step. Take your time and don’t be afraid to pick a block up to check the sand underneath, making sure it has adjusted itself to fit around the block.

I was able to get away without edging, as I was cutting into my lawn to add the brick area. So I carefully cut the lawn away leaving just a couple of inches around the bricked area. When done with the bricks, I backfilled the area with some of the soil I had to remove and packed it in pretty tightly. That seems to have been good enough to keep the bricks in place for the last 3 years or so. I also put this in a level area, with no slopes to contend with. I suspect most of the time you’ll need some kind of edging to keep things in place.

–Peter

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Just finished our paver driveway. Building codes probably vary widely by location and soil type, but where I am, for driveways the city calls for a base of 6" of compacted limestone gravel, then sand, then pavers. The limestone gravel, once wet down and compacted, feels solid almost like concrete when you walk across it.

Here, in Northern Calif, my paver guy dug down 18" for the driveways, maybe 10 or 12 for the walkways… On adobe clay, laid groundcloth over the chases, then what we call road base, a mix of coarse & fine gravels, compacted, then sand, and finally the pavers…

Roadbase, yes, like concrete once compacted, wet down…

But adobe moves a lot, so a couple spots I need to pull, settle a few pavers… He whacked all the roots, but maybe missed a deeper one… It’s been several years now, no real complaints…

Guys, keep in mind that he’s not actually doing a driveway or a road. It’s a decorative border. Personally, I’d top up the soil under the sunken portion, tap it down pretty good, then an inch or two of sand under the pavers and call it good. Yes, it might need to be done again in a decade or so. But it’s decorative, not structural.

–Peter

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Championship form, Peter - thank you very much.

Yes, if not a relatively heavy trailer on one driveway and I park the F150 on the other, maybe no need for the deep road base, but the ground cloth is top prevent the road base from being gobbled up by the adobe… It was a fun project, good contractor, the dry0cut the pavers, so a lot of dust at times, but they broke up and dug down all by hand, wasn’t worthy of a Bobcat he said, it makes to big a mess! I had him also rest-port our font porch overhang that the build had just fastened to the 3" slabs of concrete, they settled, let the roof sag, messing up the gutter drainage… So a deep stemwall footing solved that…

More than I could have handled… Several pallets of pavers out front for a while, I have about a pallet of leftovers in the side yard, just in case any are needed…

Excellent info, thanks… I might go for a layer of limestone gravel too given the abuse that end of the driveway gets from plows, salt, snow & rain runoff, trash trucks.