Did you have a tough time shoveling your walkway this winter? Perhaps the bricks or pavers were uneven and you rattled your bones and bruised your muscles banging your shovel over and over against the uneven edges sticking up from frost heaves. Or maybe your walkway was encased in solid ice – the result of poor drainage and standing water that froze hard and stayed that way for weeks. Both of these common problems can be easily avoided with a properly installed walkway.
Most do-it-yourselfers make the mistake of not adequately preparing the ground upon which they’re going to build their walkway. They might scrape away some of the grass growing in the pathway, do a quick leveling with a shovel and then start putting down bricks of pavers, or building a quick form and pouring concrete. These approaches are doomed to eventual failure as poorly draining water seeps underneath the hard surface, eroding the base or forming frost heaves in the winter so that in a relatively short period of time, the walkway begins to buckle and heave.
Instead, a trench 8-10 inches deep should have been dug first for a brick or paver walkway. The depth along the length of the path chosen for the walkway may vary in depth because the surface of the ground is uneven, but you want to make sure that the base is even and level. It’s easy to check this using a common carpenter’s level or a fancier laser level.