How to Lay Block Paving

Block paving is a versatile option for a patio or driveway, allowing a variety of colours and shapes, while adding kerb appeal and a striking appearance without compromising on longevity.

Bradstone Woburn Rumbled Block Paving in Graphite

Add a little character. Bradstone Woburn Rumbled Graphite and its weathered, rustic appearance is an option with antique charm

Preparation – before you start paving

  • First things first. All paving should be laid on a firm, level and well drained base. This ensures long term service and stability – put in the foundation work now and you'll have well-kept paving for years to come.
  • Remove all vegetation and topsoil to an approximate depth of 200mm-250mm across the paving area.
  • Mark out this area with pegs or retaining boards to the required height of the finished surface levels. Make sure you allow a fall of 1:80 away from any buildings and walls for surface drainage.
  • The finished paving surface level should also be at least 150mm (two brick courses) below the level of any damp proof course.
  • After excavation, rake the area level to ensure an even depth and compact the ground using a plate compactor.

Setting up edge restraints

Setting up edge restraints

Getting started

  • Next, you'll need to set up edge restraints. This fits a solid border around the perimeter of your block paving using block kerbs or concrete edging.
  • Your restraints should be bedded into 100mm of concrete, to the required level
  • Leave with a 45-degree haunch up the side of at least half the block or kerb height to prevent the blocks and the foundational sand from moving.
  • Underground drainage, drainage gratings or recessed manhole covers should be installed at this stage if required. Make sure you're familiar with any technical information on your drainage product of choice.
  • Back fill the area with 150mm of MoT/crusher run, compacted to 100mm.
  • Onto this, apply a layer of slightly damp sharp sand to the depth of 50mm, and compact with a plate compactor. Sharp sand is more free draining than building sand and is less like to being washed out.
  • Next, apply a second layer of sharp sand to a depth of 20mm.
  • Use the string lines, screeding rails and straight edge, to level this second layer of sharp sand to the correct falls.


Compacting the sub-base

Compacting the sub-base



Laying the Block Paving

Laying a random stretcher bond pattern

Laying – Let's get paving

Start off on the right foot. Laying of concrete block paving should always begin from the bottom of any slope, preferably from a right angle or straight edge. This is important to bear in mind for a block paving driveway, but equally important in a garden. For a diverse set of colours, it's best to work from several packs at once. This is absolutely vital when using a mixed size product such as the Woburn Rumbled range.

Paving the blocks

  • Place the blocks on top of the laying course, ensuring they are around 4-5mm above the desired finished level.
  • Once you've laid all your full blocks, use a mechanical block splitter to cut down extra blocks for infill pieces or at the retaining edges as needed.
  • Pieces of concrete block paving smaller than one third of a full block are will compromise your paving. They're best avoided.
  • Once completed, sweep the area and compact with two or three passes of the plate compactor.

Herringbone Pattern

Laying a 45-degree herringbone pattern


Almost finished. Now to finish jointing before you've got a block paving driveway or garden masterpiece. For best results, it's preferable to complete this in dry weather.

  • Apply kiln dried sand to the block paved area.
  • Brush into the joints using a soft brush, ensuring the joints are fully filled.
  • Use the plate compactor on the paved area again, pushing the sand into the joints.
  • Check for any gaps in the jointing and fill where necessary, compacting again afterwards.
  • The sand in the joints may need to be topped up for the first few months after the job is completed, but otherwise – you're finished.

Block paving can seem daunting but with a little bit of care and planning, it's can be done simply.

We want your landscaping project to be perfect. For advice, assistance, or inspiration, Simply Paving is here to support you at every stage. Give us a call on 0800 032 6306. We would love to hear from you.

Please note the above guidance is applicable to domestic driveways for car traffic only.

Kiln Dried Sand

Applying the kiln dried sand