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Building a Garden Patio

As winter turns to spring many of us start to think about out outside living spaces? Building a patio in your garden will create a great focal point and entertaining area for your garden that once built should be easy to maintain but you’ll need some sweat & effort to get the job done!


Decide where you want your patio to be and mark out it’s position using the wooden pegs and strings. It is easier to make the size of the patio such that you don’t have to cut any of the paving slabs. Dig the area out to a depth of 150 mm if in the garden but if it is to be up against the house you’ll need to go at down at least 150 mm below the level of the damp proof course (DPC).

When you’ve dug out the appropriate area lay a 100 mm layer of the hardcore using the wooden pegs as a depth marker to get the layer even across the entire patio area. If the patio is against your house you will need to make sure its is angled slightly, falling away from the house so that rainwater runs away from the building. Use the wooden pegs and your spirit level to guide you. Next firm & compact the hardcore using a board that you can jump up and down on or better or a vibrating or whacker plate.

Then lay all your slabs down on the to check you’re happy with the arrangement and that they fit the excavated space - better to do this now that now than when you have motor mixed. Start from one edge at the house or a wall or fence. When you are happy take up the slabs again and set aside.

Mix up your mortar using a ratio of 5 parts building sand to 1 part cement; or even better use ready made mortar mix which you can have delivered to you reasonably cheaply and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Create a mortar bed of mortar of 80 mm deep and then lay the slabs on it leaving a 10 mm gap between each slab for grouting. Firmly tap down the slabs with a lump hammer check with a spirit level as you go to ensure they are level or maintaining the pre determined fall away from the house. Let the mortar set for at least 24 hours or even better a few days.

Finally fill the spaces between the slabs with a mix of 3 parts building sand to 1 part cement  using a pointing trowel to get a neat finish. If you accidentally get any of the mortar on the slabs clean it off now before it goes off. Leave the mortar to dry for a few more days and you are done!