When you're setting down a bunch of paving stones in your backyard or in front of your home's main entrance, looking at all the fancy automatic equipment available to assist you can be very intimidating. However, as long as the paving stone area is reasonably small and you exercise a little prudence, you don't need anything complicated to do a great job, and you and your family members don't have to be pavers either. Check out these three optional, cheap, and relatively simple tools that will make any small backyard paving job much easier.
Square Dirt Tamper
Once you carve out the space you'll need in the dirt with a shovel or trowel, you'll need to level everything. Usually, it's a good idea to keep up a slight slope away from your home to head off water buildup.
Both your hands and a rough instrument like a wooden board are completely inadequate for this task. Remember, the soil needs to carry a thick layer of sand and filler material in addition to the paving stones themselves. Thus, accuracy is key.
However, you don't have to rent an electrical leveling machine if you don't want to. Instead, you can compromise by buying or renting a square dirt tamper with a wooden handle. Since you don't have to bend down to use this instrument, keeping it steady is fairly easy.
A rubber mallet is useful to you when you're laying the actual paving stones down. Once you set one of the stones down and push it firmly against the stones beside it, lightly hit each exposed edge with the mallet.
Since paving stones aren't perfectly smooth, you can't eliminate all the space between them just through force; thus, even when you have the mallet, you'll still need to fill the spaces up with sand. However, the extra effort will correct imperfect placements and ensure that the individual stones are fitted as tightly against each other as possible.
If you apply a waterproofing sealer right after you place the stones, you won't need to put down as much sand as you would otherwise. Also, in addition to the protection from water they provide, most chemical sealers also do a lot to keep pesky insects like ants away.
To make the sealant layer especially durable, apply some more of the liquid once you're done filling up the cracks with sand. Don't stop until every visible part of the sand is damp; while the sand will eventually dry, the chemicals in the sealant will remain.