Landscape Construction: 4 Red Flags Your Pavers Were Installed Poorly

It’s a property manager’s worst nightmare: You thought you hired a competent contractor for your paving job, but...

Right after he was done, it looked gorgeous! After a few weeks or months, however, you get a sinking feeling when you look at the job. Pavers look crooked or out of place. The surface is no longer level. It looks terrible, and could even be dangerous, trip-hazard in the making.

What happened? Can it be fixed? And how can you be sure it won’t happen again?

4 Common Flaws In Landscape Paver Installation

Heaving pavers are a sign your landscape pavers were installed poorly.

Unfortunately, when pavers are improperly installed the results can be disastrous — and maybe even get you sued. Here are some of the common signs that your job was installed poorly:

Puddling, Settling, Low Spots

Sunken areas indicate that the base is not holding up as well as it should. Most commonly, it happens when a contractor is either inexperienced or is rushing the job, and doesn’t spend the time to compact the base well enough to hold up under expected traffic loads.

It can also happen when improper materials are used in the base. Specifically, when the base materials contain too high a percentage of fines or stone dust, it compromises the structure and can lead to settling.

Borders Falling Apart

The edges of paved areas require special treatment, because they don’t have units supporting them on all sides. Any pressure put on them or on surrounding units tends to push them off the edge.

To correct this tendency, paver edges should be equipped with edge restraints — a detail which a surprising number of inexperienced contractors neglect to implement. Edges can also suffer from poor compaction of the base. A competent contractor will compact far enough beyond the footprint of the project to ensure proper compaction under the edges.

Uneven, Heaving Pavers

Pavers that shift out of place can be caused be a number of things. One very common cause is a base that is not deep enough. A contractor can save a lot on materials by skimping the base, but it will compromise the structure of the pavement.

Too much sand in the base can also cause pavers to shift or heave. Finally, if  pavers not properly swept in and/or compacted after installation they can more easily shift out of place.

Sloppy Appearance

There are jobs where the bricks are just plain laid wrong. The patterns look uneven, or there are large gaps between pavers. This happens most often with inexperienced workers, but rushing a job can also bring careless results.

What To Do About Flaws In Your Commercial Paving Job

Broken or heaving pavers are safety hazards for pedestrians.

No matter what the cause, issues like these should be addressed immediately if they occur on your commercial property. Not only does the poor appearance reflect badly on your business, but uneven, sunken, broken or heaving pavers are safety hazards for pedestrians and put you at risk for litigation.

Some of these issues are easily fixed. For instance, missing edge restraints can typically be installed without ripping up the entire job. However, if the base was not done properly you are probably looking at pulling up all the existing pavers, correcting the base by compacting and/or re-excavating, and re-installing the pavers. Such a project may end up costing you more than the original job.

If you are working with a reputable commercial landscape contractor in Macon or Dublin, and the project is still under warranty, they should take care of the issue for you quickly. If not, you may need to find someone else to fix it.

Hire Right The First Time

The best way to avoid a poorly installed landscape paver project is to choose your commercial landscape contractor carefully.

The best way to avoid these problems is to choose your contractor carefully. (Seven keys to hiring the best landscaping company in Macon and Dublin.) Here are a few things to look for to ensure you’re hiring someone who will install pavers correctly:


Qualified installers take their profession seriously and invest in training their staff to work right. Look for a company who has certified paver installers on staff.


Liability insurance typically won’t reimburse you for shoddy work, but it will cover the cost of any damage in the event that a contractor damages your property. A reputable contractor will also carry workman’s compensation insurance to cover any injury to his own crew members.


A contractor’s bond is similar to insurance. The contractor pays a premium to a surety company, which then protects you should the job not meet professional standards.

Impressive Portfolio

Visit the contractor’s website or ask him to send you pictures of projects he’s done that are similar to yours. If possible, go visit some of these sites in person so you can see how well the job has held up.


A good installer will stand by their work in writing.  

Also, watch out for low bids. No one wants to pay more than they have to, but a super-low bid is a red flag that the contractor is likely to cut corners on time, materials, or legal expenses. As we explored above, cutting corners often leads to project failure.

Have A Landscape Paver Project Not Holding Up As Expected?

If you can’t work it out with your installer, consider calling us. At T. Lake, we have helped dozens of others through similar situations. We understand beauty and safety are equally important throughout your commercial property. The pavers on your site should not only look great, but provide sure-footing for your tenants and visitors.

We are proud to have been full service commercial landscape contractor for dozens of companies in the Macon, GA area since 1992.

To find out how we can help you maintain your high safety and appearance standards for your commercial property, contact us online or call us at 478-750-7733 to have one of our paver installation specialists assess your situation.
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Images: Walking, Uneven sidewalk

Topics: Landscape Design