Adding a paving stone patio to the garden provides a place for outdoor entertaining, quiet moments with a cup of tea, and a playground for active children. Available in a wide variety of colours, shapes, and sizes, paving stones add not only outdoor living space, but increase the value of a home. Before planning a patio and purchasing materials, contact the local council and the water and power authorities to ensure that they permit paving stone patios in the community.
Plan the patio
Whilst a patio can be located anywhere in the garden, most homeowners prefer it conveniently near a door, where it is easy to access from the home. Mark the patio area with landscape paint, a garden hose, or timber. Before excavating the site, place the garden furniture, such as the patio table and chairs or benches, into the patio space to ensure that it is large enough for the family's needs.
Prepare the site
Measure the space carefully and then calculate the number of pavers needed. Multiply the width by the length of the patio, and then multiply that number by the number of pavers per square metre to find the amount needed for the build. Round the numbers up by 10 to 20 per cent to allow for breakage and the cutting of paving stones to fit odd corners.
Put on boots, long trousers, gloves, and safety glasses before beginning to install the base materials and paving stones. Wear a dust mask when tamping the gravel and working with sand. Use caution when shovelling, raking sand and gravel, and moving paving stones to protect backs and knees from injury.
Dig it up
Remove grass, vegetation, and dirt to a depth equal to the height of the paving stones, 25 mm of sand, and 100 mm to 150 mm of gravel. Rake the soil so that it is smooth. After placing a long board on the soil, lay a spirit level on the board. The excavation should slope slightly away from the house at a rate of 12 mm per 3 metres.
Install a surround
Place pressure-treated timber along each side of the excavation. Pound stakes into the ground to support the timber along the outside edge. Screw the stakes to the sides of the timber to hold it securely in place during the base and paving stone installation.
Add the base
Install 100 mm to 150 mm of crushed gravel in the excavation, raking it smooth. Sprinkle the gravel lightly with water and then compact it using a hand or plate compactor. Check the slope with the spirit level, add more gravel, and tamp again if necessary. Add 25 mm of sharp sand over the gravel. Use a long board to screed the sand. Draw the board across the top of the sand to smooth it and lightly tamp it.
Install the paving
Begin in one corner, placing each paving stone in place along the edges of the supporting timber. Use one-half paving stone to stagger the rows when installing a stretcher pattern or use whole pavers for a basket weave or checkerboard pattern. Tap each paving stone into the sand with a rubber mallet, using the spirit level to ensure that the patio remains at the correct slope. While some homeowners place the paving stones tightly together, others prefer a 2 mm to 4 mm space between the pavers.
Finish with sand
Pour some sand onto the centre of the newly laid patio. Sweep the sand into all of the cracks and crevices, filling the spaces between the paving stones. Sprinkle the patio with water, and then add more sand as needed to finish filling the spaces. A mixture of four parts sand to one part cement may be swept into the cracks instead of plain sand and then dampened and allowed to thoroughly dry, thus tying the paving stones together into a solid surface.
Add a walk
Install a sturdy paver or stepping stone walk from the new patio to the garage or around the house using the same procedures as building the patio. Walks should be at least 1 metre wide to accommodate couples strolling about the garden and mobility-impaired users.
How to buy materials to lay paving on eBay
Locate and purchase a variety of building materials and tools using the convenient search bar found on eBay. While paving stones are heavy, a local seller may have the perfect new or used materials for a patio or walk. Use keywords, such as "paver", "rubber mallet", or "spirit level", to find building materials and tools. While building a paving stone patio requires a significant amount of sweat equity, when the job is finished and your family and friends gather in the garden, you can point to it proudly.