There is nothing more fundamental to your garden landscape, than having a comfortable space to relax and entertain family and friends. A patio is the perfect addition and you can customise your patio with paving flags available in many stones, colours, sizes, to suit your style. It is important to consider the shape and size of the area you will be paving. It will affect the size of paving flags you use, the amount of materials you need, your budget, and most importantly the look of your garden.
Paving flags can not only make your patio and garden more appealing but can also save you money. It may cost a little more upfront, but you will save money over time as this requires little maintenance. It also reduces the area of your lawn making it easier to maintain.
Follow our 6 simple steps on how to lay a garden patio;
Step 1 – Outline Your Patio
Firstly, create a checklist and make sure you have all the tools and materials required. Then use a garden hose or string to outline the shape and size of your patio.
Pop into your local Homevalue store where you can pick up any of the above tools or materials - Find Your Local Store
Step 2 – Prepare The Site
Dig a depth of 15cm across the marked area. Then lay the sub base which is the hardcore and use a rake to even it all out. Compact and level the hardcore using a lump hammer or tamper. This will stop the stones moving around while you lay the paving flags and make the base stable.
Step 3 - Level The Patio
Place garden pegs into the ground and make sure the patio flags are at the same height. This is to mark the level surface of the patio. Position several over the patio area and use a spirit level to make sure they are even.
Step 4 – Concrete Mix
Prepare a concrete mix of three parts sand and one part cement and add water. You can use a wheelbarrow or large bucket. You will need to make enough concrete to make an even 4cm layer in the patio bed.
Step 5 – Lay The Paving Flags or Patio Slabs
Before you start laying patio slabs, you need to dampen them, so they do not dry out the concrete quickly. Then, lay your first patio slab onto the concrete mix and gently tap with a lump hammer or press down with your hands. Ideally it wants to sit 1-2cm in the mortar. Use the spirit level to ensure the flags are level with the pegs you had placed in the ground earlier. Repeat this process and leave a 1cm gap between each paving flag, until your patio is covered.
Step 6 - Finishing Touches
Once you have set your patio slabs, spray the whole area with water and leave it to set for at least 24 hours. Then with a trowel, fill the gaps with concrete mix and make sure to remove any residue before it hardens and stains the paving.
If the patio is next to the house, include a slight gradient away from the house when laying the patio slabs, so that rainwater simply runs off into an area where it can be soaked up.
Paving flags can be very heavy. If you are laying flags 600 x 600mm or larger, you must have someone to help you lift and lay them.
Cement, either wet or dry, can cause skin irritation, so always ensure you wash with soap and water if it comes into contact with your skin.
Wear safety goggles, gloves and a dust mask when mixing mortar to avoid cement coming into contact with your skin or eyes, or being inhaled.