A patio in your outdoor space provides both a practical and attractive area between the inside of your home and the garden, giving you a place to relax, entertain and grow pot plants.
Tools needed: A spade, tape measure or builder's square, protective gloves, spirit level, rubber mallet, pointing trowel and a wheel barrow.
1. Spend some time planning
the size and position of the patio you want: what will you be using it for? Is
it big enough for furniture and your barbecue? Do you want it in the shade or
as a suntrap? Mark this area out in your garden and then measure to get
the correct size.
2. Dry lay your patio first; laying out the slabs on the ground to work out how it will look and whether you have enough slabs. Try different designs until you find the one you like best. Once you're happy with the design take a photo to refer to for once you start laying the slabs out properly. If your patio is next to your house, you need to ensure the water doesn't collect on the paving by building in a fall of 1 in 60, one cm of fall for every 60cm. Otherwise, guttering will have
3. The foundations are all-important to keep your patio secure. Dig down around 150mm, removing all turf and soil with a spade. Once this is done, you'll need to lay down the base: spread around 50-80mm of ballast or MOT Type 1. Get this compact by tamping it down with a piece of wood and a rubber mallet.
4. Start from the corner nearest the building and start laying from there diagonally, using the photograph you took earlier as your guide. Mix the mortar up in small amounts, enough for one slab, laying it 40mm deep and then put the slab on top and tap it down to the correct level with a rubber mallet. Then use a spirt level to ensure it's level. Once they're all laid, don't walk on the slabs for 24 hours.
5. The final job to do, a day later once the cement is dry, is to fill in the joints between each paving slab with pointing mix. Work it into each space, packing it in tight then allow to dry.
Tip: Always wear protective gloves that cover your lower arms when using wet mortar.