Walkway and Patio Installation: Using Concrete Pavers on a Slope


Often, homeowners are faced with grade issues. While they are considering adding hardscaping to their outdoor space, they may be hesitant due to the perceived difficulty of hardscaping a steep grade. The fact is, there are several options a professional hardscaping contractor can employ to make even a hilly yard or sloping driveway a hardscaping masterpiece!

The key lies in the proper preparation of the base layer. A professional hardscaping contractor understands the local ground conditions and can design the base layer to compensate for issues like clay or sandy soil, steep grades, or other problems. They can design a hardscape that may include levels to compensate for grade or can create a base layer of aggregate and sand that can allow a flexible system of interlocking concrete pavers to remain in place even on sloped terrain.

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A professional hardscape contractor creating an interlocking paver surface, whether it’s a walkway or driveway, will consider several elements when designing and installing concrete pavers on a slope.


The natural soil condition is an important consideration when designing hardscape on a slope. If there is cut and fill of the soil, it is necessary to compact it to prepare it for the aggregate base layer. The density of soil is measured in a unit known as Proctor compaction. This is a laboratory method for determining the optimal moisture content at which a given soil type will become most dense and achieve its maximum dry density. For walkways and driveway applications soil should be compacted to a minimum 98 percent standard Proctor density. This will ensure maximum stability of the paver surface and the highest level of assurance against settlement.


If the soil conditions include clay or silty soils, geotextile is an option your hardscape contractor may employ to add stability to the install site. Using an overlap of at least 12 inches and removing wrinkles before placing the aggregate base material can ensure a stable platform for adding sand and laying pavers. The aggregate base is typically added in layers, or lifts and each lift is compacted until the desired depth of the base is achieved. Textile is generally held in place using staples to create stability as the lifts are added.


Designing proper drainage is especially crucial when hardscaping a driveway or walkway on a slope. While it is not essential, adding a drainage mat at the lowest elevation of the concrete paver surface can facilitate water removal. When designing hardscape on a slope, make sure your contractor does not use a drainage mat with plastic waffles because they have an increased risk of crushing.


Your contractor will take soil conditions, the degree of grade, weight and the amount of traffic into consideration when designing your hardscape. As a general rule, the maximum grade for a walkway is 5%, and the maximum grade for a ramp is 15%. If the walkway is to be used with a wheelchair, the maximum grade is 8%. Driveway grades can be as much as 18 – 24.5%.

The key is proper sub-base assembly. The aggregate base should be designed to be capable of supporting traffic loads as well as its own weight. Your contractor will calculate the appropriate thickness of the sub-base, base, and concrete pavers to adequately distribute vertical traffic loads depending upon the soil conditions and degree of the grade. Because of the flexibility of interlocking concrete pavers, with proper base construction, it’s possible to construct hardscape walkways or driveways even in the hilly terrain of the California Bay Area.

By working with a qualified hardscaping contractor Bay area, homeowners can enjoy hardscape walkways and driveways even on sloped terrain. If you’re considering adding hardscape to your Sonoma County home but are concerned about the feasibility of paving on a slope, give the experts at Bayside Pavers a call at 1-(866) 287-2837. We can help you design the walkway or driveway to meet your family’s unique needs. Our knowledgeable team members are ready to help you create the outdoor living space you’ve been dreaming about!

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, our location in Concord, CA at 2455 Bates Ave, Ste K, services East Bay and South Bay homeowners. Our Santa Rosa, CA location at 1619 4th Street Ste 12 can help you with your North Bay hardscaping projects.

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