Before you begin
Before you jump head first into constructing a patio remember to take into consideration the features in your garden which will remain alongside your new patio. One of the best things to do is to draw yourself a plan of your garden including trees, walls, sheds and other fixtures which will need to be worked around.
Thankfully the choices in paving have changed dramatically in recent years, no longer is everyone confined to the choice of gray slabs or nothing. Take care to select paving which will blend well with your existing brickwork. Before beginning any work also check whether the area you intend to carry out work contains any services such as cables and pipes.
Laying your patio
- The first thing to do is to mark out the area for your patio using string and some pegs. Use a spirit level to make sure the strings you have placed are level.
- When you drive the pegs into the ground the top of the peg will represent the finished height of your patio.As a general guideline the finished patio should sit about a half an inch above the lawn.
- Use the pegs as a guide to measure down how far you will need to dig. Remember you will need to remove enough soil to cover the width of the slabs you have chosen and the base of sand/cement which will go under them.
- Using your pegs as a guide, dig out the soil removing any additional rocks or rubble, the depth will depend on the flags/paving you have chosen.
- All patios should be laid so that they slope away from the house to ensure that they do not flood with rain water. Usually an incline of one inch for every ten feet should suffice.
- Once you have cleared the area to your required depth spread a layer of sand inside the area where you will lay the flags.
- The sand will seat your flag stones and also assist with drainage. In order to ensure the stability of your patio it is also advisable to use a mixture of sand and cement.
- Areas which will be heavily used will benefit from what is called a hardcore layer- basically this is a mixture of broken brick and rubble which is laid over the ground and compacted.
- Now you are ready to lay your flags:
- Generously apply cement to the base of your flag and place the first slab down in place.
- Use the end of a club hammer to tap the flag into place – remember to use your spirit level to check that you are laying the flags evenly.
- Flags can also be laid directly onto sand.
- Leave a gap of between 5-10 mm between each slab you can use pieces of board or tough card to measure the spacing by wedging them between the gaps.
- Lay all your flags in the same way.
- It is almost definite that you will have to cut some slabs / flags to size – it is easier to leave these until the end.
- Angle grinders can be hired to help you to cut through the flags, once you have scored them break the flags using a the handle of your hammer.
- Finish the job by filing the gaps between flags with dry cement remembering to brush off any excess before it dries.