Why did this paver walk fail? The value of edge restraint

failed edge paver walk

I was walking into a meeting at a hotel last week when I saw what my path looked like. Here’s a hint: your paver walk should NEVER look like a half-unzipped Members Only jacket. How did this happen? Improper edge restraint. To explain, let’s step back and look at how a paver walkway should be installed.


Keeping it quick and dirty, you excavate to undisturbed soil and build back up with a base of compacted 21A (3/4″ minus gravel). As in the sketch I did, you extend the base past the edge of where the walk will go. You then use a paver edge restraint spiked into the compacted base. Two things caused the walkway in the photo to fail: they clearly did not extend the base far enough, and they did not use proper edge restraint. It’s a shame because otherwise it’s not a bad looking walkway.

If you’re looking for help planning your landscape project and you want to be sure that the crews know what needs done, contact us for a consultation. We’d love to help your front walk look gorgeous – and not like a zipper.



    July 1, 2013 REPLY

    I think the walk in the pic has more to do with extending the base than lack of restraints, although that could be an issue too. Setting the edge on soil will always lead to movement, no matter what kind of restraint you use.

    The quality of the restraints can come into play too. Some of the cheaper restraints will bend or warp based on temp or age. Which eventually will lead to the edge stones migrating away.

    Personally, and I know EP Henry will say otherwise, I’ve has the most success mortaring the edge stones directly to the compacted base. You just have to be careful to have a substantial amount (not wafer thin) of mortar, with a thick enough base to resist moving due to frost or moisture heaves.

    August 25, 2013 REPLY

    just a thought here but shouldnt there be a spacer on the curb for movement? and when were those bushes planted…

    August 26, 2013 REPLY

    charles, are you referring to some sort of expansion material, like what you’d use between a concrete pour and a wall? Probably wouldn’t hurt, but… looks like the unrestrained back edge took care of that!

    No clue on the age of the install, I just have a breakfast meeting there every week.

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