With the promise of spring in the air, it is time to prepare your garden for warmer days. If you dream of sitting outside, sipping a cool drink and enjoying the summer months, you may want to get a patio. Patios are low maintenance, relatively easy to lay and will provide you with a perfect area to dine, relax and socialise in the sun. Check out our simple steps for laying the perfect patio.
Setting the area
When it comes to home projects, planning really does make perfect. Thinking ahead is crucial for a great, level patio. Carefully lay out the area of your patio using pegs and string lines. Take into account the size and shape of your slabs – this will help you to keep clean lines and minimise the need to cut them.
Use a spade to mark the boundary for your patio – once you have done this, you can dispense with the string lines. The foundations required will depend on the patio’s use; a driveway or multi-purpose patio which will bear the weight of vehicles will require more substantial foundations than one which will only be occupied by garden furniture and people. If you are planning on laying a multi-purpose patio or driveway, it is strongly recommended that you consult an approved patio installer to ensure that the patio is suitable for bearing heavy weights. Dig to a depth that will accommodate hardcore and your patio slabs.
Line your excavated area with treated timber cut to the same depth as your excavations. Check to ensure they are square and adjust so that the patio slopes away from the house for drainage.
If you are creating a patio that won’t be driven on, you can lay the slabs directly onto a compacted subsoil level. If the soil has been recently disturbed, use a layer of hardcore. From here, slabs can be laid onto a dry sand layer, or onto mortar.
Secure your edging with pegs at one metre intervals along the outside of the edging. Distribute hardcore evenly. Use a plate compactor (these can be hired from hardware stores) to compact the hardcore.
Planning the layout
Starting from a corner, dry lay your slabs; don’t be afraid to rework the design if needed.
Once you have planned your design, lay a mortar base for your first slabs. Carefully lay additional slabs; spacers and a spirit level will help you to achieve even spacing. If a slab isn’t even, adjust the mortar.
Once your patio is laid, make sure that it is not walked on for at least 24 hours. If necessary, cover with tarpaulin to protect from rain and frost. Once it is set, press mortar in the joints, clearing any excess away as you go.
DIY projects are a great way to improve your home on a budget. However, DIY mistakes can be costly. If you would like help adding a new lease of life to your garden, why not get in touch with one of our trusted patio experts?