How to lay paving slabs for your patio

Laying paving slabs by yourself

Laying paving slabs by yourself is easy, isn’t it? You just dig a little, buy a bit of mortar and stick down your paving slabs. That’s all there is to it, right?

If only it were that simple. In reality, you need to painstakingly prepare your sub-base, mix your mortar with the right materials and work with very precise paver placements – all to ensure your patio lasts a lifetime.

But don’t worry, that’s where Simply Paving come in. In our handy how-to guide, we walk you through the process of patio installation so you can shave off a few ££s on a professional’s help.

Let’s get started.

Prepare your paving site

Preparing a patio are for paving slabs

While you may be itching to get started on your dream patio, you don’t want to neglect the most important part: laying your foundation. We’re talking about measuring, digging and tamping a perfect landscaping area, which will act as a pristine canvas for your paving project.

Find the full breakdown of how to prepare your paving site, below.

What you need to prepare your site for laying pavers:

  • Measuring-tape
  • Wooden pegs
  • Shovel
  • Spirit-level
  • Garden rake
  • Garden roller/tamper
  • MOT Type 1 sub base

How to prepare your site for laying pavers:

  1. Start by measuring your intended paving area and mark it out clearly with wooden pegs.
  2. Then remove all vegetation, roots and topsoil in the marked-out area, digging to a depth of at least 200mm.
  3. To ensure your paving drains effectively, you need to set your gradient at a 1 in 80 fall using your spirit-level as reference. This fall allows surface water to run-off into drainage points.
  4. Rake the surface level and then compact the whole area with the garden roller/tamper. Use the spirit-level to ensure the area is even.
  5. Finally, fill the area with 150mm of MOT Type 1, then compact it down to 100mm – you’ll need the remaining 100mm of depth to lay your pavers.
  6. Et voila, your site is ready to install pavers.

Laying your slabs

Checking levels on paving slabs

Groundwork sorted, it’s time to turn your attention to the pavers.

The method below is suitable for many types of paving slabs, so whether you’re laying concrete slabs or natural stone, our guide has you covered. However, bear in mind that if you are laying porcelain paving slabs you will need a slightly different installation method.

What you need to lay your paving slabs:

  • Sharp sand
  • Cement
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Pointing trowel
  • Your paving slabs of choice
  • Rubber mallet
  • Spirit-level
  • Jointing compound
  • Hard-bristled brush
  • Tarpaulin (optional)

 

How to lay your paving slabs:

  1. First, you need to mix a fresh bed of mortar for each individual paver. (That way, the mortar won’t dry before you can lay your entire patio.) You can do this simply by mixing four parts sharp sand to one part cement in a wheelbarrow, as per our mixing mortar guide.
  2. Using the trowel, lay the mortar mix onto the sub-base (enough for one paver), and carefully slot your first flag into place. Take care not to stain the surface of your paver with mortar mix as it is very difficult to remove.
  3. Secure the paver to the mortar bed by gently tapping it down with a rubber mallet. Before moving onto the next paver, check that the surface is even with a spirit-level.
  4. Measure out the gap between your pavers – this could be anything from 5mm to 15mm, so you will need to consult the product recommendations.
  5. Repeat steps 1 to 4, until all pavers are securely in place. (If you need to cut any of your pavers down to size, review our how to cut paving slabs guide.)
  6. Now leave your pavers to dry for 24-48 hours (cover with the tarpaulin, if you’re worried about rain).
  7. When the time is up, fill the gaps between your pavers with the jointing compound. This binds your pavers together. Brush away any excess compound with the hard-bristled brush and that’s all there is to it.

Eager to put your new-found paving know-how to the test? Start your paving project today by browsing our full range of paving slabs. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our experts on 0800 032 6306 or start a live chat.