If you have a cobblestone walkway near your home, it may begin to break down with age. You may notice that some of the stones are loose in their settings or that the settings around the stones have become cracked, full of weeds or are generally looking worn and unattractive. You could simply pull up the whole cobblestone walkway and begin again, but another alternative is to perform some basic repairs that can help the cobblestones to look as good as they used to. This is not a very difficult job, and so long as you have a little bit of spare time, you can easily fit this repair into your other projects.
Step 1 - Remove any Loose Cobblestones
Begin with the basics of your cobblestone walkway, and start by removing any obviously loose cobblestones. These should be easy enough to extract, as they have stopped being held by the sand fixture. To get rid of cobblestones which are slightly loose, but not enough to release easily, you should use a chisel to scrape away the stone. Tap it on the free end with a mallet if you are having trouble releasing it.
Once you have removed all of the cobblestones, give them a wash under your tap. Any cracked or broken stones should be replaced, but stones which are good can easily be returned to your cobblestone walkway.
Step 2 - Remove any Weeds
Next, do a light spot of weeding. Weeds can dig under the sand, forcing their roots into the soil below. This will loosen the sand, making the walkway less stable. The next big rainstorm will wash away any sand which has been loosened in this way, and you have a deteriorating walkway. You could try using a weeder to dig out large weeds, or nettles, but basic grasses can be pulled out. Make sure to dispose of the weeds where they will not cause problems.
Step 3 - Replace the Stone
After you have dug out all the sand that you need to repair the walkway, you should sweep over the ground, removing any loose sand that remains. Then, you can add a layer of gravel to the holes where your cobblestones will be, and place the stones back into their holes. Tap the stones firmly into position using your mallet.
Step 4 - Replace the Sand
You can then add the sand back to your walkway. Fill in the edges around the stones with a fine sand, and then spray water lightly over the surface of the path. This should cause the sand to form a thick layer, which acts rather like cement. Leave the stones and sand to dry, and return to check the path in a week or so. You should be able to see the walkway has improved, and that the stones are no longer loose.