So, I know that there is a right way to build a path. You dig down in the soil and put down gravel and sand before you put down your pavers. However, that doesn’t work in my garden for two reasons. First – I have a lot of tree roots and digging down that much might damage them. Second – gravel and sand cost money and I’m very cheap.
So, when I installed my two garden paths I decided to do it my own way and see what happened. One is brick, the other is stone. For the stone one I just laid the stones out in a pleasing pattern, then dug under each one with a spade to level it. I threw some mulch and dirt down to sooth out the edges. Occasionally I have to reset a stone, and I’m sure I’ll have to reset a bunch in the spring. Still, the total cost was $0. (The stones would have been expensive but they came with the house.)
With the brick walkway, I did the same thing for the the first couple rows. I dug out the area, put down the bricks, and then threw a little dirt back on top to fill in the cracks. Then, I decided I wanted to lengthen the path, but I didn’t want to do all that digging. So I just set the bricks on the ground, and brought the dirt level up on either side of the path to kinda lock them in. I also threw a little dirt on top and swept it into the cracks. So far I’ve had no problems. It may not look perfect, but it’s a completely functional path. Used bricks are really easy to get a hold of. The total cost to me was $0. Free really appeals to my cheap side.
So, if you want a path and you have no money, you don’t have to do it the “right” way. It’s true that I’ll probably have to fix some of the bricks come spring, but I’m ok with that.