Mark McCullough takes us on a house call to help a homeowner extend her front walkway to her driveway. After Mark sources some matching materials, the two work together to branch off the existing walkway, creating an additional path leading to the driveway. They lay cobblestones, spread pea gravel, and lay large bluestone pavers to complete the look.
Steps for Installing a Pea Stone Walkway
Step 1: Lay Out the Walkway and Remove the Topsoil
Choose the location and layout for the walkway. Use landscape marking paint to draw the rough layout and shape for the walkway on the grass. Once the layout is all set, remove the topsoil between the painted lines with a shovel, pick axe, and other digging tools, hauling the dirt away with the wheelbarrow.
Note: You’ll likely have to dig 5 or 6 inches deep to remove all of the topsoil.
Step 2: Compact the Soil and Install Mason’s Strings
Use the plate compactor to compact the soil. This will take several passes, but the soil should be as firm as possible before moving to the next step. Once the soil is compact, drive a stake into each corner of the walkway.
Stretch mason’s string down the length of the walkway on each side. Pull the string tight and adjust the height to be consistent at all four corners.
Step 3: Embed Cobblestones in Concrete
Mix cement and water in the wheelbarrow until it reaches an oatmeal-like consistency. Lay a thick bed of concrete under each cobblestone, tapping the stones down with a rubber mallet until they reach a consistent height relative to the string.
It’s less important that these stones are level because they are a consistent height following the yard’s slope.
Step 4: Lay Landscape Fabric
Lay landscape fabric down the length of the walkway, between the cobblestones. Make sure to overlap seams by around 6 to 12 inches to ensure no gaps arise if the fabric adjusts and moves. A few loose handfuls of the base stone placed on top of the fabric should hold it in place.
Step 5: Install the Base Gravel
Once the fabric is down, cover it with the base. Pour it out in piles and spread it around with a rake until the entire walkway is covered in about two inches of gravel. Compact the gravel down with the plate compactor. Spraying a bit of water while compacting should help.
Step 6: Install the Pavers
With the help of a friend, carefully lift the pavers and place them into the walkway, on top of the base gravel. Adjust the design as necessary until all the pavers are in place as desired. Tap them down with the rubber mallet and add or subtract stone as necessary until they stop rocking or wobbling.
7: Fill Around the Pavers with Pea Stone
With the pavers in their final positions, fill in around them with the pea stone. Overfill the pea gravel slightly. Use the hand tamp to pack the stones down tightly and lock everything into place.
Mark extends a pea stone walkway to make a connection between an existing walkway and
To get started, Mark uses landscape string and stakes to outline the desired width of the walkway. This ensures the walkway is square from the house. After digging down about 4 inches with shovels, lay down landscaping fabric.
Landscape fabric is setting a nice bed for the pea stone gravel and is a sustainable way to keep weeds away. Once the walkway is prepped, dig a trench bed to lay the cobblestone. The trench should be 2-3 inches wider than the intended border. (cobblestone around 9”x5”). Instead of doing a complete dry lay, Mark opts to use a small amount of mortar to give the cobblestone some reinforcement.
- Landscape paint
- Landscape stakes
- Mason’s string
- Cement mix
- Landscape fabric
- Gravel base
- Bluestone pavers
- Pea gravel
You may rent a plate compactor from Home Depot to save time.