Skip to Content

Our $400 Sandpit Side Yard Project: A DIY Adventure

Sharing is caring!

Hey there, DIY friends! Welcome to our latest project: turning our sandpit side yard into an awesome sand-free space on a tight budget of $400. We’ve got big dreams and limited cash, but that’s not stopping us! Let’s go!

The plan is to create a paver walkway filled in with stone. We also have some leftover artificial turf from a previous project that we’ll implement off to the side. The goal is to stay under $400 and create a sturdy and functional area for this high traffic area.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Laying a Paver and Rock Walkway

Watch the video tutorial on Instagram.

Materials Needed:

  • Pavers
  • Crushed Aggregate
  • Landscape fabric
  • Edging (optional)
  • PVC pipe
  • Straight edge
  • Rubber mallet
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Broom
  • Plate compactor or tamper
  • Work gloves
  • Safety goggles


Plan and Design

  • Measure the area where you want to lay the walkway.
  • Mark the path using stakes and string to outline the desired shape and size.
  • Calculate the number of pavers and amount of crushed aggregate you’ll need. If you’re unsure how to calculate this, take your measurements to a local landscaping yard and they’ll help you determine how much you’ll need.

Prepare the Site

  • Remove any existing grass, plants, or debris from the marked area.
  • Determine how far to dig down, ensuring the area is even. For us, we wanted to keep the pavers level with the existing concrete slab by the garage door.

Lay the Base

  • Compact the soil using a plate compactor or tamper.
  • Lay down landscape fabric to prevent weed growth.

Add Gravel

  • Pour a 3-4 inch layer of gravel over the landscape fabric.
  • Spread the gravel evenly with a rake.
  • Compact the gravel using the plate compactor or tamper.

Screed (Level) the Aggregate

  • Place two pieces of PVC, buried slightly.
  • Use a straight board to screed (level) the sand. Shimmy the board back and forth to fill in any low areas. Add or remove aggregate as needed.
  • Spray the area lightly with a garden hose and compact with a plate compactor or tamper.

Lay the Pavers

  • Start at one end of the walkway and begin laying the pavers in the desired pattern.
  • Place each paver gently, ensuring it’s level with the adjacent pavers. Use a level or straight board the length of 3 pavers plus their spacing to help ensure pavers are perfectly in line.
  • Tap each paver lightly with a rubber mallet to set.

Fill the Gaps

  • Once all pavers are in place, spread fine gravel or stones over the walkway. The smaller the stone, the easier it is to walk on. For example, larger Mexican beach pebbles would not be ideal for a pathway.
  • Sweep/rake the gravel or rock into the gaps between the pavers.
  • Continue until all gaps are filled.

Compact the Walkway

  • Use the tamper to compact the stone and ensure they are set firmly in place.
  • Add more rock or gravel to fill any remaining gaps after compacting and sweep again.

Add Mulch Glue (Optional)

  • To keep gravel and stone in place, consider adding mulch glue.
  • Add glue concentrate to a garden pump sprayer with water and spray over rocks. Repeat 2-3 times waiting one hour in between. (Watch this tutorial.)


  • Always wear gloves and safety goggles when working with heavy materials.
  • Ensure proper drainage by sloping the walkway slightly away from any buildings.
  • Take your time to ensure each paver is level and securely placed.

This step-by-step guide should help you successfully lay a beautiful and durable paver and rock walkway.

Darenda Leffel

Tuesday 18th of June 2024

Looks great! What size are your pavers and where did you purchase them?

Tuesday 18th of June 2024

Thank you! they are 12x24 inch pavers we sourced from a local small business stone yard.