How to lay a patio 10

The sun has poked its head out from behind the clouds and the cold frosts are gone. It’s time to start thinking about laying that patio. You might be tidying up the garden of your new home, or it’s been a project you’ve been planning for a while. Either way there’s no time like now to begin drawing out, selecting materials and building a new patio in your outdoors space. 

A good bit of imagination, some good hard work and anyone can build a patio using the right DIY methods. At once effective and simple, our guide will have that tired bit of your back yard looking great with a brand-new patio. 

If you’re looking at the project, but you’re not too sure, advice is on hand. Contact us using the form below and we’ll connect you with an expert landscape gardener or handyman who can get the job done for you. You may feel like you’re biting off more than you can chew with a project this size. You might know how to lay a patio but need some help to get the project going. Get in touch for a solution to your patio problem. 


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Making plans for your patio

It’s a essential that you measure your garden and make a plan on paper. Take into account things that you want to keep in your garden. It may be the case that you want to keep a feature wall, a plant or a shrub. You might want to move some of your plants. Good planning, showing exactly where you want to build your patio is important. 

Once you’ve made your initial drawings, you will need to accurately work out how much construction materials you require to get the job done. Doing this will not only remove some of the stress once you get to the builder’s yard but will help immensely in working out the overall costs of the project. It might not be cost effective for you to build right away. A few more months of saving may be needed to bring the project to life. 

You might already have patio furniture or are thinking about buying some to finish off your new patio. It is essential you consider where the furniture will go once construction is complete. This will help plan where the patio will go. If you already have patio furniture, it may need to be moved or stored during the patio build. 

There is a lot of planning. If you decide you need someone to complete the work for you, use our contact form to get in touch with a professional handyman who can get the work done for you. We have every sort of expert tradesman. We have builders, plumbers, joiners and general repairmen. We can get most jobs around your home or garden done with minimum disruption. We have the right expert who knows how to lay a patio for you. 

We also have handymen who can help assemble new garden furniture, or flatpack furniture for you home or garden. From sheds to garages, slabs to grass lawns, chips to block paving, we can get it done. 


Different styles of paving

There are a bamboozling range of different paving available for your patio project. As well a learning how to build a patio, you will need to select the right style for you. It is essential you study the costs of different materials to find the right ones to suit your budget. Our guide will show you how to lay a patio on sand, or how to lay a patio without cement. You might want simple slabbing, block paving or even costly flagstone paving. Modern or traditional, follow our work steps and you’ll get the job completed well. 


You might want to add some additional features to your patio project. It might be an idea to plan space for possible future projects like a lawn, a greenhouse, shed or even your own goldfish pond. Even if it’s a stone pizza oven or barbecue, you will need to take account of the space you will need, and where the feature will go. If you already have these items, do they need to be moved or stored? These are considerations you will need to make. 


Preparation is key to completing the project. You may know how to lay a patio on sand but getting the ground prepared is essential. You may need to lift existing slabbing or turf. You might need to break up slabs or concrete. The new build may require new skills like learning how to lay a patio without cement. Either way, you’ll need to make decisions on how to remove unwanted material or structures from your existing space. 


While you’re selecting materials and making plans, think about picking up some new wood stain or exterior varnish to give a facelift to any existing garden furniture to show off your new patio at it’s very best.


Marking out the patio

It is essential to mark the layout of your new patio with string and pegs. Getting the height right is an important step too. Make sure the pegs and string mark out the right height. You may need extra material to backfill the space to get to the desired level. 

Your house will have a damp proofing course. This will be a wide area of cement of concrete within the brickwork of your home. Older buildings might have a slate layer. Your patio needs to be constructed below this level. Ensure that the patio is a minimum of 150mm lower than the damp proofing level. 

Making sure your patio is at this level will ensure that you avoid problems with dampness in your house. The way water runs off or is drained from your patio may affect furniture you have on it, or the state of your slabbing. If your patio needs cleaning, contact us using the contact form and we will send a handyman round to get all your garden cleaning work done with no fuss. Even if it’s simply jet washing the paving once done – no job is too small. 


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Getting Drainage Right

While you want your patio to look completely flat to the naked eye, is should be pitched on a slightly sloping away from your home. It is one thing to know how to lay a patio on sand but having it at the right angle will make the difference. Patios are commonly pitched at 1:40, but some larger patios will require a minimum slope of 1:80 to ensure efficient water drainage. 

Measure the correct pitch when you are pegging out the project. This will act as a guide to laying the patio correctly with water running away from your home. A completely flat, or wrongly pitched patio could be a disaster. You could end up with flooding, or worse, a damp home. 

Once pegged out correctly, place a wooden batten on the pegs to mark out the area and the correct angle. Adjust as necessary. 

When the pitch of the patio is measured properly and at the correct angle, you will be able to see the volume of material you need to remove or backfill to prepare the ground properly. The ground should be prepared low enough to take into account the amount of sand and the depth of the slabbing you will lay. As well as having lines marking the final height, you should use lines to mark this initial depth.


Digging out the area

You should dig through the topsoil, reserving it to flatten out parts of the build below the desired height. Once dug out, flatten the entire area as much as possible in preparation for the sand layer. 

If you are reading this to learn how to lay a patio on sand, you should take note that a 50mm layer is the minimum depth of sand for light slabbing. For heavier slabbing or stone, we strongly recommend you use a 50mm damp cement and sand mix. 


Lay the patio foundation

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If your patio will receive heavy use during its lifecycle you will require at least 75mm of hardcore beneath the cement and sand mix. This finely crushed stone and brick layer should be laid a compacted thoroughly to ensure a solid and stable foundation. 

Measure the volumes of the required sand, cement and hardcore prior to ordering material. You can usually buy this by the ton or half ton from a building supplier. 

You may need to hire some specialist tools to get the foundation flat and compact. An electrical or petrol vibrating compactor is best to achieve a solid and stable base. If laid properly, your patio will remain properly in place for may years to come. 


How to lay a patio without cement.

You should begin laying your slabs from one of the corners. If you plan to use your patio for light use, you should place down the first slab on to the sand layer. It is essential that the corner slab is firmly in place, so you might want to cement it. This step is optional. Us a builder’s hammer and spirit level to make sure it is at the correct angle in every direction. 

Heavily used patios require the slabs to be laid on a minimum of thickly mixed cement. This provides for correct support, minimising slab breakage r sinking over time. 

If you have carefully prepared the ground, you should be able to lay a light use patio on sand. Place several battens down at spaces on the sand, ensuring they are at the right pitch and level. Mark out the edges making sure they are straight. 

As you lay each slab, make sure it is at the correct angle and level, removing or placing material as required. It is a good idea to lay the initial slabs parallel to the wall of the house. You should then continue along a side making sure you are working to the correct depth and angle. 

As time goes on, some slabs may move slightly. These may need relaying or cementing in place to return them to their original position. This will also help minimise the occurrence of weeds or invading plants. 


Cutting the slabbing

Lay the slabs which will not need to be cut first. It is useful to leave slab cutting to last. This minimises waste as you may get 2 or more pieces from a single slab if you cut carefully. You may wish to borrow or hire a heavy grinder for this job. Otherwise score the slabs well and cut using a bolster chisel. 

If you are cutting using a chisel, the slab will need to be raised slightly at one side. Score the slab well with the chisel and tap the slab with a bolster hammer. The slab should break to the desired size. 

Once you are finished, you might want to tidy up the rest of your garden. You have learned how to lay a patio. Indeed, you may have learned how to lay a patio on sand or how to lay a patio without cement. Regardless of how you completed the job, well done. 

One Reply to “How to lay a patio”

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