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How to block pave a driveway

If you’re looking for an easy way to update your driveway, why not consider block paving? Block paving a driveway is a relatively easy and straightforward way of updating your home, and when done properly it creates a surface that is attractive, hard wearing and long-lasting. But how do you block pave a driveway? We’ve outlined the steps involved when block paving a driveway, along with some helpful tips.


How to block pave a driveway

Block paving consists of 4 different elements – a sub-base, an edge restraint, sand and the blocks for paving.

What depth does the sub base need to be?

For heaviest domestic use, a 200mm thick sub base is required. For lighter traffic, the sub base can be thinner, and for areas where no traffic passes over the top, a sub base may not be required – as long as the ground is firm and the soil is well compacted.

A sub base is generally made up of crushed stone, quarried materials or a similar material that is readily available and accessible nearby.

1. Remove the stop soil and install the sub base

Firstly remove the topsoil and any other organic materials to the required depth. Remember that the depth needs to include a sub base, around 40mm of sand, and then the blocks on top. Then compact the ground, and install the sub base if required. It is important to try to keep the subbase with crossfalls of at least 1 in 40, and longitudinal falls of 1 in 100.

2. Install edge restraints

Next, install edge restraints around the edges of the area that is being block paved. Edge restraints are typically strips of plastic, steel, aluminium of PVC that are L shaped, and help retain the shape of the edge of the ground, preventing them from falling into the cut-out section of the ground.

Alternatively, use a concrete curb, or existing walls to create edging around the perimeter of the area that is going to be paved. If necessary, use mortar against the outside of the edging restraints to keep them secure.

If you are installing the block paving against the wall, it is important to ensure the block paving sits at least 150mm below the damp proof course, and that the driveway drains away from the wall and the building.

3. Lay sand across the sub base 

The next step is to lay sand across the sub base. The sand should be relatively moist, enough that it can be shaped with your hands, but not too damp that it is wet.

Ensure the sand is laid across the sub base at a thickness of approximately 60-65mm and screed it to ensure it is level – if you do not have any screed rails, just use two pieces of straight edged timber. place the screed rails or timber into the sand, ensuring the tops are level with the top of the sand layer. Then take a piece of board, or another timber batten, and push it along the tops of the screed rails to create an even and level surface.

4. Lay the paving blocks

Now lay the blocks of your choice on top of the layer of sand, in the pattern of your choice. Start laying the paving blocks from a corner or from a straight edge, and place them directly straight down, ensuring they are laid tightly next to each other. The blocks should be around 15-20mm above the height you desire.

At the edges, blocks will be cut to size – mark the point at which it needs to be cut by laying it on top of where it will be placed, then use a block splitter. Alternatively a hammer and bolster can be used if you’re experienced in cutting blocks.

A top tip is to use blocks from several packs at once – this will minimise the effect of any colour variation across the driveway.

5. Sweep and compact

Once the laying of the driveway blocks has been completed, sweep some kiln dried sand over the paving blocks, ensuring it goes into all the joints between the blocks.

Once the sand has been swept across the whole driveway, and all the gaps and joints have been filled, the driveway needs compacting. This is typically done using a vibrating plate – try to use a rubber faced compacting plate to minimise any scuffs or marks. This plate vibrators can often be hired for use from a number of different businesses.

Once the driveway has been compacted, sweep more kiln dried sand across the driveway again. Repeat the compacting process with the vibrating plate, and continue repeating until the blocks have been fully compacted and the joints have all been filled with sand.

The driveway is now complete and ready to use.


Important considerations

It is important to note that when planning a driveway, you must allow for surface water drainage, and put in place measures to allow surface water to drain away easily.

A popular choice of drainage near driveways is channel drainage, and particularly brickslot drainage channels from ACO – these are incredibly subtle yet effective, to ensure that the drainage system does not detract from the overall appearance of the driveway.

Drainage Superstore is proud to offer an extensive range of patio and paving products and paving kits to allow you to make the perfect driveway,. Choose from a number of block paving products, or alternatively opt for natural stone paving. If you want to make a feature within your block paved driveway, we also offer a number of circle patio kits to choose from.


Unsure of which products are best for your project, or looking for more advice? Our team of experts are available Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm to offer advice and product recommendations – just call on 01752 692221 or use the live chat in the bottom right hand corner.

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