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Which block paving is easier and cheaper to lay?

Choose well for successful block paving driveway installation


You can buy block paving bricks in all shapes and designs, from the basic 200x100mm paver, rounded cobbles and traditional 100x100mm granite blocks to over-sized sandstone setts.  They’ll require different foundations and some are trickier or more time-consuming to install than others.  If you are tackling an area of block paving for the first time, look at blocks that have been designed for easy installation. 

Easy to install

Marshalls Drivesys blocks have moulded bases shaped to make them extremely easy to lay and space regularly. Marshalls Drivesys~Patented Driveway System Riven are hard-wearing, contemporary stone look blocks which come in handy project packs and with exactly the right amount of ready mixed jointing compound.  You'll pay a little more for the Drivesys range but installation is labour-saving and will mean much less disruption.

Blocks designed to save installation time

Marshalls Drivesys Original Cobble  is designed especially to achieve a period character cobble look, but it's much quicker to lay than natural cobbles. It's a cost-effective, affordable cobblestone finish with lovely soft edges which works for paths, driveways, parking areas. Each square metre on the pallet comes in cobbles of varied sizes, so a pleasing irregularity is achieved with absolutely no planning or pre-selection. Installation is fast, and so easy that if the groundworks in properly in place, DIYers could install themselves.

Laying large driveway blocks also saves time and labour.  Marshalls Fairstone Magnasetts include 400 x 400mm blocks, and can work equally well as a garden patio.  Made from Indian sandstone, they come in either rich earthy sand  colours, or a beautiful silvery grey.

Driveway installation tips

Before planning your driveway paving, you might find it helpful to familiarise yourself with the basic installation process.  It’ll give you an idea as to whether you attempt DIY or engage a qualified installer.  We do recommend you call in the professional for large projects, but if you want to have a go yourself at a small extension or replacement section of your drive, or perhaps a pathway, then you’ll find this step by step guide handy.

Remember that particular driveway products can have individual technical specifications, and that you/your installer need to read these carefully.  Marshalls block paving products all come with their own very specific installation guides, as do Stonemarket driveway blocks and setts.

Tools needed to lay block paving

Already in most people’s DIY sheds: shovel / broom / rake / tape measure / spirit level / mallet /string line and pegs

To buy: straight-edged timber lengths for screed rails

To hire: cement mixer, compacting tool or Vibrating Wacker Plates, block splitter or diamond disc saw (in total this will cost you about £100 a day)

How to lay paving blocks

1. Excavate your driveway

Block Paving

Dig out the area required to at least 150mm below the damp proof course of your house, making sure you create a gradual slope so that rain water can run into your drainage system and away from the parking area.  Aim for a 1cm drop for every 60cm of paved length.






2. Create edge restraints

Marshalls Keykerb block edging for driveways

Marshalls Keykerbs in Charcoal finish this driveway perfectly!

Edge restraints provide a strong frame for the driveway blocks.  Set them in concrete mortar foundations and they’ll prevent any movement of the blocks once cars start to use the driveway.  Check that the final height of edging blocks or kerbs is the desired finished height of your block paving, using a level and string to check as you go.  Apply concrete to the outside of the edging, to about halfway up the height of the block, so it has a firm setting.


Driveway edging and kerbstones come in different heights and profiles with odd sounding descriptors like 'half-battered' and bull-nosed'.  The Marshalls Keykerb range comes in three colours,  8 profile options and two heights [125mm or 200mm].  It's a very versatile edging with radial and angled blocks to ensure your driveway is edged neatly and precisely.  The Marshalls Drivesett 4-in-1 Kerb is also one to consider. Like it says, buy this edging and you have the choice to lay it four different ways. This attractive tumbled driveway kerbing is one we particularly like. 

3. Put down a sub-base

You’ll need to put down a layer of at least 100mm of sub-base, usually MOT Type 1.  This will make sure the paving is stable enough to support the weight of cars.  Spread the material inside the edge restraints and rake to make sure it’s distributed evenly.  Firm it all down using the wacker.  Go over the whole area half a dozen times so that you get a really stable, long-lasting sub-base for your driveway.

4. Lay a sand layer

Sand helps you address any inconsistencies in levels across the driveway area.  Use sharp sand with some moisture to it and spread it evenly over the sub-base.  Give the sand the once-over with the wacker to get a smooth surface for screening.

5. Screed to level off 

Block Paving

You’ll need to level off the sand by screeding it. Insert two pieces of straight edge timber (your rails) into the sand and make the top of the rails level with the bottom of the final layer of block paving.  Run a third piece of timber along these rails and you’ll scoop up excess sand excess sand as you go.  Screeding will also allow you to check there’s the right direction of fall on the driveway base.




6. Lay your blocks

Block Paving

Start at the bottom of the slope in a corner, or against a straight edge or border. Put put each block down flush where it should go.  Use a block splitter or diamond disc saw to trim blocks to size where needed. Aim to have blocks sitting 10-15mm above the height you want, as they’ll be compacted down once you’ve finished laying.




7. Joint with sand

Sweep kiln-dried sand across the paving area, making sure you fill the joints.  Compact and then add more sand. Repeat until all the joints are fully filled. Joint filling sand does come in different colours - red, silver and gold are commonly available.  Some products are sold with specific jointing compounds designed for the job.

Marshalls, suppliers of quality block paving for driveways, have some great videos, Click here and see if this DIY job is for you!

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