How to lay a patio project pack
Laying your own patio is a fairly simple project that, depending on its size, should only take 2 or 3 days. But remember that some paving slabs are very large and heavy, so it’s best to have someone to help you with the lifting and positioning.
Plan your patio
A plan is absolutely essential when laying a patio; without one, you’ll spend a lot of time during the job working out where to fit each slab. Patio project packs include suggested layout plans that will make your job much easier.
Start by setting out the dimensions of your patio to scale then mark all the permanent fixtures on the plan that you’ll have to pave around.
If you’re planning to join your patio to the house, bear in mind that its surface must be at least 150mm (or two brick courses) below the damp proof course and, unless you’re planning to install a drainage channel, you’ll also need to allow for a gradual slope away from your property to prevent a build up of water – a 25mm drop for every 1.5m of patio.
Assemble your tools
Making sure that you have all the tools and materials that you need at the start will save you a lot of time and frustration, and avoid any emergency dashes to your nearest merchant.
Mark out the patio
Ideally, dry lay your patio first so you understand exactly how each slab will fit. Before you remove the slabs, mark out the site using a builder’s square, string and pegs.
Dig out the foundation
Dig out the area of the patio. You need to allow for the hardcore, mortar layer and slab thickness. The top of the slabs should sit just below the turf level so that you may mow over the edge. A depth of about 175-200mm will usually suffice.
Prepare the base
Sub-bases help to spread loads and aid drainage, so should always be used for anyone wanting a really strong, long-lasting patio.
Rake a 75-100mm layer of hardcore across the area of exposed soil and then compact it – you can trample it down with your boots, but consider hiring a vibrating plate compactor to give the patio a really solid base.
Once the hardcore has been smoothed across the site, use a spirit level to check that it’s flat and that the drainage slope has been maintained.
Cover the whole area with a layer of landscape fabric to stabilise the ground and discourage weed growth, and then spread 50mm of coarse sharp sand across the top.