Paver Installation Process

AIM engineers and installers are trained in all hardscape installation and follow a series of planning, preparation, setting and finishing procedures with all residential and commercial projects. Below is a brief overview of the installation process.

Planning and Preparation:

Always start with a good diagram of the area being paved, making notes on existing fences, houses or buildings and structures or other paved areas. This helps in determining the amount of supplies and stone count. We mark off the appropriate area, planning for slope and drainage direction in order to finalize the final composite diagram prior to excavation and installation of the pavers.


Prior to excavation, we mark off the final diagramed area. The excavation step includes the removal of soil of approximately 4-6 inches depth. Where pools are concerned, the depth may be lower. Excavation is according to the marked off area following the final installation diagram.

Base Installation:

In order to prepare the excavated surface, we need to compact the base prior to filling it with crushed stone, sand or aggregate. After filling the base with the crushed stone layer, we wet and compact the surfaces lightly with a plate compactor in order to make a flat surface for the pavers.  Each layer of gravel starts out at 4” thick and is packed lightly before the next layer is applied. This ensures a solid footing and maintains a level line of slope.

Edge Restraints:

Edge restraints provide the skeletal structure and exterior edge of the diagrammed plans. These installations will keep the pavers from spreading or moving and provide stability for the entire structure.

Paver Installation:

Depending upon the selection of stone or pattern, the fist pavers will be installed at a single corner and work outwards in order to keep joints and rows fixed and maintain proper alignment. Pavers normally have a 1/8-1/4 inch space initially to provide some flexibility during installation. Also, depending upon the overall design and diagram, pavers may need to be cut to create the proper edge or pattern and to match up with the edge restraints.

Final Setting and Finishing:

Remove all debris from the paver surface before applying masonry sand into the joints. We will tamp down the pavers using a plate compactor to solidify the final paver surface and to fill the joints properly. Finally, we will clear the surface again of all remaining sand and/or debris as the sand continues to settle and compact.

Typical Cross Section

The typical paver or retaining wall installation incorporates a series of proven processes detailed in the following cross-section diagrams. To find out more about both paver and retaining wall details, please review the following from AIM Construction.

Typical Paver Installation Details:

Step 1 - Excavate unsuitable, unstable or unconsolidated sub-grade material. Compact the area to the optimum moisture density as per the engineers of record (EOR) requirements. Backfill, level the open graded aggregates as per the EOR’s structural and hydraulic design.

Step 2 - Place bedding course of hard and angular material conforming to the grading requirements of ASTM No. 8 or No. 9 to a uniform minimum depth
of 1 1/2" - 2". (38mm-50mm) screened to the grade and profile required.

Step 3 - Install pave stones with joints approximately of 1/4" (7mm).

Step 4 - Where required, cut pave stones with an approved cutting device to fit accurately, neatly and without damaged edges.

Step 5 - Tamp pave stones with a plate compactor, uniformly level, true to grade and free of movement.

Step 6 - Spread a thin layer of hard angular material conforming to the grading requirements of ASTM No. 8 or No. 9 aggregate over entire paving area.

Step 7 - Make one more pass with plate compactor to nest the aggregate and fill joints to the top.

Step 8 - Sweep and remove surplus joint material.

Typical Non-reinforced Retaining Wall Diagram Details:

Depending on wall block, site conditions and or local building codes, engineering may be required.

Step 1 - Site Preparation: Stake out project. Place a string line level on each string line and adjust to where all lines are level. For small landscape walls (3 courses or less) it is required the first course to be at least partially buried. For tall walls (4 to 8 courses) the first course should be fully buried at a minimum.

Step 2 - Excavation: All walls require excavation for a prepared base material that extends a minimum of six (6) inches in front and back of the wall. For small walls, dig this trench a minimum half the height of the wall unit deep. For tall walls, dig your trench to a minimum depth of a full wall unit height. Compact bottom of trench with a compactor or hand tamper.

Step 3 - Base Preparation: For small wall base preparation, an option would be to place a mixture of dry sand and Portland cement (one shovel of Portland to four shovels of sand). Place the sand-cement mixture a minimum of four (4) inches at the bottom of the trench. For tall walls granular base at a minimum four (4) inch placement. Compact the material with a compactor or hand tamper.

Step 4 - Leveling: For all walls, use a maximum of one-half inch of coarse sand to level the top profile of the base material. When placing wall units, level the surface of all wall units in both directions with a level. Replace the string-line where the top of your wall course and check for horizontal level prior to each course installation.

Step 5 - Laying Stones: Always begin at the lowest point of the wall. Level each unit in both directions with a level. Once the base course is complete, continue assembling additional courses by positioning the units in a running bond pattern relative to the course beneath, taking care not to align joints vertically. Securely engage the unit to the lower units. Install a granular no fines material as a drainage zone a minimum of four (4) to six (6) inches thickness directly behind the wall. Backfill and compact material behind the wall in a four (4) inch to a maximum six (6) inch layer. Compact materials with a compactor or hand tamper. A perforated plastic pipe may be required behind wall.

Step 6 - Cutting Stones: When building your wall, you may need partial stones to finish coursing. Place the to-be cut unit at its finished position in the wall. Mark the cut line. To split a stone, use safety glasses, a hammer and a chisel. Place the unit on a hard surface. Position the chisel at the cut mark and proceed to hammer the chisel scoring the cut line. Score the unit on all sides. Once the perimeter score is complete, strike the chisel on the score line until it breaks.

ACME Brick