STONE slabs of irregular shape but all of even thickness are employed to lay a path of crazy paving. Such material can be bought from stone yards by the ton. The superficial area covered by a given weight of stone will depend on the thickness and nature of the stone, which varies in specific gravity according to its type. A thickness- of 2 in. is usual. Buy the stone near at hand if possible, as carriage from a distance adds a good deal to the cost.
The first job is to set out the paths, if they do not already exist. Cut a couple of boards, the exact width of the path to be prepared, for use as gauges. Drive in several stout stakes at each side of the proposed pathway, spacing them about six feet apart. The true line of the path is indicated by two strings stretched between end stakes at each side of the site. Dig out the turf and lay it aside if it is to be used elsewhere. Then dig down to an even depth of six inches all along the pathway, leaving the sides vertical. As a temporary guide, tack thin and narrow boards or battens to the side stakes; the boards may be -½ in. thick by 4 to 6in. Wide. Purchase a suitable quantity of broken brick or larg’er clinker, to serve as a foundation to the path. Similar material of finer grade will be needed for the top layer of foundation. Opposite.
Fill in the path with foundation material to a depth of about 2 in. from the bottom of the excavation. Run the garden roller over it a few times to make it firm, or tamp it solid with a rammer. Follow with a thinner layer of finer grade material, and roll that also. Drainage will be improved if the surface is given a slight camber, so that it is higher at the middle than at the sides. A board can be lined out with pencil to a suitable curve, and then sawn or spoke-shaved away until its lower surface gives the desired camber. When the fine stuff is laid, stroke it down lengthwise with a cambered board to shape the surface before rolling. See also GARDEN PATHS.
Paving Laid on Sand
Spread a bed of sand for about a yard at one end of the site. Try one or two pieces of crazy paving on it, so as to judge the depth of sand to be laid down. Then carry on with the rest. Dump heaps of sand at suitable positions alongside the pathway. Also sort out the stone roughly, and dump loads at appropriate places along the edge of the path. Much time may be taken in needless journeys unless this part of the job is systematized. It is best to begin to lay the stone at the margins, and to work them up to the middle of the width. Fill in the path with large pieces of stone as far as possible, particularly when laying in sand. If a large piece has to be cut or broken, use a heavy hammer (club hammer) and a bricklayer’s bolster, or a large cold chisel. Strike with the chisel along the required line on top of the slab; then turn the stone over and work from that side also; this will weaken the stone along the desired line of breakage.
Laying in Cement Mortar
A mixture of about four parts sand to one part Portland cement is suitable. After excavation of the pathway, proceed with the two layers of rubble or clinker as before described. Roll and ram the top layer after getting it to the proper camber. Mix up a quantity of cement and sand dry on a board, or on a cement floor near by. Mix the stuff twice in the dry state, using a shovel and rake. Then sprinkle it with a watering-can having a rose top and mix thoroughly by shovel. Avoid making the mixture too wet. Sprinkle the pathway with water at the place where work is to begin.
Lay a thin bed of mortar, and proceed with the setting of the stone; a distance of½ in. between the edges of the slabs is usual, but the joints may be left a little wider if they are to be pointed later.
When ceasing work for the day, leave’ the slabs irregular at the finishing point, in a zigzag line across the path. If the joints are to be filled in with cement, this can be done with a bricklayer’s trowel as the stones are laid. Assuming the joints are to be pointed, perhaps in a coloured or a white cement, rake out the joints an hour or two after laying, but avoid using the path for the time being. Then a day later, the joints can be filled with the pointing material and levelled off flush.
A club hammer can be used to level the slabs, and bed them down into the sand or the cement immediately after laying. Often a light blow with the end of the handle will do what is needed. After laying, the stones must not rock; should there be any sign of this, lift the slab and remove a little of the bedding material where needed, or add a little more. When paving has been laid on sand, sweep over the section of work completed with a stiff broom, to fill the cracks with surplus sand; do not brush too heavily. Similarly, after laying paving in mortar, and filling the joints with ordinary mortar, brush over with an old broom, sprinkling a little water from the can if necessary. This will grout the slabs. (Grouting consists of filling a more or less fluid cement mixture into crevices).
Mortar should be filled in at the sides of the path, and well packed down with the edge of the trowel. Later, the boards can be removed if desired; in any event they will rot in time, but since they are put down only as guides during the filling in of the foundation, this will not matter. It is essential, however, that a good side edge should be formed with cemen mortar, independently of the guide boards. After the latter have been taken up, ordinary soil should be filled into the holes left by boards and stakes. Ram in the earth.