Whether you’re a world class handyman or a newcomer to the world of DIY, laying your own garden patio is a realistic and achievable project. Putting in a new patio can transform the look of your home and garden, even allowing for a bit of al fresco dining when the weather is right.
All in all, if you plan the project well and work efficiently, laying your own patio could only take you a few days, so this should only take you a couple of weekends or a small segment of your holiday. Get everything prepared in advance and follow this basic guide and you’ll have a whole new patio in no time.
Draw Up Plans
Don’t enter into the project without drawing plans first or you’ll end up with spacing issues and a messy result. Using graph paper, make a detailed plan that’s drawn completely to scale. Measure all of the dimensions carefully and make sure that you account for any fixtures that will get in the way of your paving so that you can work around them.
Make and Fill Your Foundation
The area that you want to make into your patio will need to be nicely even, so dig for about 10cm with a shovel to create your foundation. Once it’s even, fill the hole with your sub-base material (that can be stone or broken brick) and smooth over to complete your base. If you’re filling a large area for a more impressive patio you can use a vibrating plate compactor to smooth the foundation.
Start the actual laying process in a corner of the space. Mix up mortar and put around five lobs down in a five point dice shape within the slab. Moisten the back side of the slab and lower it down slowly on to the mortar. You can then secure the slab into position with a club hammer and a piece of timber, before filling out any gaps in the slab with extra mortar.
Continue doing this in the same way until you have a full row. Put a spacer of about 5mm between each slab to make sure that they look neat and orderly, and check that they are level as you carry on.
Use Dry Mortar
After you’ve put all of the slabs down and have checked that they are level, leave for 24 hours to allow the mortar to dry. The next day, go back to fill the gaps up with dry mortar.
You can easily make your own dry mortar mix by using one part cement and three parts sharp sand. Once you’ve removed your spacers, brush the dry mortar mix into all of the joints and push down with a trowel. Then brush more mortar over again and repeat until the joints are fully secure.
Once all of the joints are secure, brush away any extra mortar and give the slabs a good scrub with a wet sponge and clean water. This will get rid of any traces of cement and leave your patio looking polished and professional- no one will suspect it’s a DIY job.
Maintain Your Patio
Protect your project by taking good care of your patio in the years after you’ve finished. Check regularly for damaged or loose slabs and replace if necessary, and clean stains away immediately with specialist cleaning supplies to prevent ugly damage.