There’s no shortage of ways to lay paving slabs just as there’s no shortage of styles to choose – from council paving slabs to coloured and even textured styles. Choosing the paving slab is important but getting the right foundation underneath them is just as important. If you are going to use sharp sand and gravel, here’s what you need to do.
You will need the following equipment for this job:
- Tape measure & spirit level
- String line
- Rubber mallet
- Spade and rake
- Garden roller or tamper
- Plate compactor
- Screeding bar
You will also need to work out how many paving slabs you need – there are handy calculators to do this for you. Always add a few extra to cover any accidents.
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To start with, you want to create a bed in the ground around 150mm deep and get it as level as possible. This is the area that you want to cover with slabs, and you may need to adjust the depth depending on the depth of the slabs you choose.
Once the ground is level, it is advisable to add a layer of landscape fabric to prevent weed growth. Then you want to add a wooden frame to ensure everything is straight.
Adding the materials
Now you are ready to start adding materials. Start with gravel and ensure you have around 100mm layer across the whole paving area. Gravel is key to allow water to drain. Use something like a screeding tool to get the gravel as level as possible.
Now you are ready for your sharp sand. It helps with keeping everything solid and in place while still allowing water to escape. When deciding how thick to go with the sand, you want it to be the difference between the level of the gravel and the surrounding ground – less the height of your paving slabs.
Add the sand and make sure it is well packed down and levels off. Ideally, have a gentle slope to the whole area that is directed away from your home to help keep the water away from the property.
Adding the paving slabs
Now it is time for the paving slabs to make their entrance. Put the first slab into position by placing it 15mm into the sand. Keep adding each slab, making sure that you leave a gap of 10-15mm between each. As you lay the slabs, don’t kneel on them to lay the next one as you could alter the height, kneel on the sand beside them or the ground instead.
Once the paving slabs are in place, you want to grab some more sand to finish off. Fill the gaps between the slabs with sand and cover them completely. Then spray the whole area so the sand is damp and settles.
Finishing the paved area
The final step is to add some more sand to gaps, usually about a week later. By this time, the patio will have settled completely and by adding more sand and packing it in, you can be certain the slabs won’t move as they are used. You then have a new paved area ready for whatever purpose you want it for!