reader with gecko paver molds
Shown: Joan Nye displays the rubber molds that she used to cast the interlocking gecko pavers out of pigmented concrete
Q: For the walkway that leads to my front door, I'm making concrete pavers in the shape of M.C. Escher's geckos. How can I make the walk-way edges look good? And how do I estimate how many pavers I'll need?
Joan Nye, Albuquerque, N.Mex.

A: Roger Cook replies: I'm impressed! Those pavers look great.

Let's take care of your last question first. Just mark a 1-foot square on the ground and see how many gecko pavers it takes to cover it. Then multiply that number by the square feet of your walkway. This will give you a ballpark estimate, at best, because your pavers have such an irregular shape. You should cast some extra ones so that you don't run short, and having a few leftovers will be helpful in case you have to replace a few someday.

You'll need some kind of edging to hold the pavers in place. Install that first—at least 3 to 4 feet apart—and lay full-size geckos between the edging on a packed-sand setting base. You could then scribe and cut pieces to fit tight to the edging, but with all the interlocking heads, tails, and legs it will be slow, dusty, difficult work.

The easier and, I think, better-looking approach would be to fill the irregular space between the edging and the pavers with decorative stones, crushed glass, or low-growing plants. If you add stone or glass, pick a contrasting color that makes the geckos stand out. If you want plants, a good choice would be creeping thyme, which flowers, can take some foot traffic, and tolerates dryness.

To set pavers in the borderless lawn area, lay them on the prepared base, then carefully remove the base around the edges and replace it with topsoil. Be careful not to undermine the gecko legs, because they'll break if not fully supported. (See how to install pavers)
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