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How to lay paving slabs or a patio area professionally

1st March 2017 Print

The biggest benefit of laying your own patio or paving in general is also the most obvious: you get to save up to 80% on the costs of a pro job. And that’s especially true if you shop online for what you need and bag yourself a bargain. 

You can buy many different types of paving slabs including lock paving, Indian sandstone paving, stone paving, garden patio paving and much more from online paving experts such as EasyPave who offer free paving slabs delivery with orders over £199. Or alternatively visit your local garden centre to see what paving slabs are on offer.  

If fact, the only slight downside to the DIY approach is that you’ll need to know what you’re doing to get the job done right. Simply throw the stones in place and it won’t be long before you encounter problems. By contrast, follow a few tips from the pros and you’ve every chance of coming out with a pro-quality result for your efforts.  

Preparing Your Paving Slabs

First of all, you’ll need to make sure that your chosen paving slabs are sufficiently prepped and readied for the job. It’s highly likely that there will be some residual dirt or condensation on or between the stones in their respective packages, so it’s a good idea to get rid of this before getting started. Likewise, you might also want to take this opportunity to inspect the stones for any signs of damage, in order to have them replaced before you reach a critical juncture later. With many stone slabs, you may encounter natural variations in thickness too. When prepping your stones therefore, think strategically about how and where you will position your stones for the most uniform finish possible. 

Planning & Site Preparation

Coming up with a scale plan on paper or using computer software before getting started can be very helpful. It’s far easier to work from a plan in your hands than a plan in your head. Armed with your plan, mark out the area where the stones are to be installed and remove all surface soil and vegetation to a depth of around 20cm. While doing so, be sure to leave a gap around the edges between any other structures (including your home) for drainage. 

Once you have finished digging, you’ll need a rake to even out the soil, using a spirit level or other measuring device to keep things reasonably level. After this, a garden roller or equivalent tool should be used to flatten and harden the surface. To support the stones, you will need to add the required crushed stone or sand in an even layer on the surface. Make sure to build it to a depth or around 8cm and be meticulous in terms of gaps and imperfections. 

Laying the Paving Slabs

Choose the most efficient area in which to start - usually one of the corners. Start out by laying the full or larger paving slabs, moving onto smaller stones and those you cut yourself later on. Before laying each stone, mix up the mortar you’ll need using 1 part cement and 3 parts building sand. It should be moist, but not so runny that it doesn’t stick to your stones. Use a trowel to spread mortar on the stone, lay it carefully in place and use a rubber mallet or equivalent tool to adjust the stone into the exact position you require. 

Repeat the same process with each of your stones, using a spirit level along the way to measure for any discrepancies. You might also choose to use spacers, if you’d like the gaps between your stones to be uniform. 

Finishing Up

Last up, once everything has set in place and the slabs are safe to walk on, mix up a 2:1 ratio of building sand to cement to create a thicker mixture than before. Use this around the edges and in between your stones to complete your patio. 

Check out the video below for a visual guide on the key points: