Many homeowners often consider a patio just as a small space in the garden which is covered with bricks or stones rather than flower beds or grass. However, it should deserve to be much more than that. From a child’s playground to an area for barbecues during the summer, a patio would serve many daily activities. Fortunately, it is not so complicated to construct this unit in your garden. Keep reading our guide to learn more about how to lay a patio for beginners.
Things you will need
The exact equipment you need will depend on the type of patio that you want to lay. In general, here are some necessary tools you should prepare:
- Rubber mallet
- Measuring tape
- Spirit level
Once you have prepared all necessary tools, here are three steps to follow:
Just like other DIY projects, it is essential to plan everything carefully beforehand. Laying a patio is a significant task, and even a minor mistake would cost you a lot of money for adjustments. Here are three questions to answer before you start building:
What is the patio used for?
The first thing you need to think about is how you’ll use the patio. Is it going to be a cosy, small space for you to relax or an area for family gatherings? Do you want to organise barbecues or dinner parties with a lot of guests? Answering this question will help you to figure out the exact size of the patio.
Where is the patio situated?
Most patios are often laid next to the house because this is a convenient area which makes it easier to go and come with drinks or foods from the kitchen. Also, it can save you and your guests from walking across muddy and wet grass.
However, you can lay your patio elsewhere to meet specific needs. For example, if you want to have a large place to socialise with guests, then it’s better to choose a spacious area in the garden or back yard.
Privacy is also the main factor to consider as you might want to keep your neighbours or walkers from overlooking. A good compromise idea is to lay a patio next to your house and build smaller ones around the garden.
What materials do you want to use?
In addition to choosing the shape and size of the patio, the decision over the materials plays an important part in the final look and quality. Here are a few popular options to consider:
a) Paving stones
This is the most popular and inexpensive option for a patio. They are available in a variety of patterns and colours, making it easier to mix and match. It is simple to lay down these units because they typically come with the same thickness. Thus, these are perfect choices for those beginners who’ve never done this task before.
Bricks used to be a popular option due to its fantastic look. However, they are typically porous and retain moisture, which makes them crack during the winter. This means that you have to spend a significant amount of money to replace or maintain them regularly.
This is probably the least exciting material, but it can be actually spruced up with stamped patterns dyed with colouring agents to create a more natural appearance. If you choose this option, be aware of maintenance problems. You need to reapply the coating every 2 years to keep its colour.
d) Natural stone
Natural stone is the best material to create a completely natural look. Though it can be more expensive, this material typically lasts longer and also makes your patio looks beautiful.
The next step is to prepare the materials and the site for your task. In this guide, we’ll show you with paving stones because they are by far the most common option for beginners.
Prepare the working site
Start with marking out the intended area for the patio with strings and pegs. After that, dig the site to a rough depth of 15 centimetres. Make sure to remove former paving or any plants.
Next, check to site with a level to make sure it is completely flat. If you notice any softer spot, it’s better to add more soil to make it as complicated as the other areas. The next step is to lay some hardcore with a depth of around 5 to 7 centimetres.
Prepare the paving stones
The planned shape and size of the patio will determine how much you need to prepare the stones. If these units need to be cut, then you can perform this task easily with a disc grinder. A better option is to have it done by a professional for better results.
If you have completed all of the planning and preparing tasks properly, then it is quite simple to lay your patio.
Making the mortar mix
The first step is to create a mortar mix which helps secure the stones in place. It typically consists of 1 part of cement and 5 parts of building sand. You need to add water and stir to make a doughy mixture. If you are building a large patio, it’s better to hire a cement mixer. For a smaller surface, a wheelbarrow is enough.
Laying the paving stones
Lay down the mortar of around 5 centimetres in depth before placing the patio stones on its top. Start from the corner and use a rubber mallet to tap down the slabs firmly. Keep in mind to leave 1 centimetre between each unit.
After laying all paving stones, it’s time to create the edge. This process is quite similar to laying the stones, but they should be set up close without any gap.
After edging, you should clean down the edges and slabs to make sure all mortar spills are removed before they get hardened. Next, use a trowel to fill in those gaps between the paving stones with the mortar mix. If you spill any mortar on the stones, use a damp sponge to brush it off.
Lastly, leave the patio for 1 day until the mortar gets hardened, and now you can enjoy your new patio.
What this short clip to learn more about the whole process: