With the summer season well under way, there has never been a better time to start planning and constructing a brand new patio design for your garden. This can be easily achieved once your flex your imagination and use some simple and effective DIY techniques.
Laying down and maintaining patios is just one of the many technical DIY tasks that can be handled by the Handy Squad. With our Handyman in London service, you will receive a qualified tradesmen with the required expertise to make your dream patio a reality.
Planning the layout
You firstly need to understand the overall layout of the garden in its current state. It’s vitally important to make a drawing on graph paper to clearly indicate where any trees, shrubs, walls and fixtures are situated.
This is a simple but important step, since this drawing will enable you to make accurate estimations on how much material you will need for specific areas of your garden.
You must also consider where any patio furniture is going to be positioned and determine whether they could end up being obstructive during the process.
The Handy Squad will be able to provide a handyman to assemble patio furniture with ease, which means you will be able to pick and choose any style to suit the layout of your new patio.
We can also provide assistance with flat pack garden furniture assembly, to help you install general garden furniture such as benches, hammocks, deck chairs, sun loungers and gazebos.
Types of paving
There is a multitude of different paving styles currently on the market which means any patio design can be constructed. The premium option has always been the flagstone which offers a pastoral and rustic tone for your garden.
When choosing your preferred style, you will need to plan for any features you may wish to add in the future. Whether you decide to add a built-in barbeque, pond or planter, you will need to have the required space to ensure there is no upheaval as they are being installed.
A simple way to implement this whilst keeping your garden looking clean would be removing large slabs in certain areas and filling them with the appropriate amount of shingle.
It is also common for chairs and tables to be present within gardens, which will need regular wooden garden furniture treatment in order to blend with your new patio design.
Setting out the patio
You will need to mark out the exact layout of your site with pegs and string. When you are pushing any pegs into the ground, you will need to make sure that their tops are positioned at the proposed finishing level.
The patio’s level at the house wall should be at least 150mm below the damp proof course. This is typically seen as an extra wide line of mortar within the brickwork. However, in older houses, you may still see the slate initially used.
Unless you follow this procedure, there is a strong possibility that any walls on your house will start to get damp. This could also prove to be detrimental to any garden furniture you have positioned nearby. If you discover any damaged furniture that needs to be cleansed, you will need to use the Handy Squad’s jet washing garden furniture service.
Choosing your drainage
You will need to create a small slope for your patio to sit away from the house so that rain water does not pool onto it. In most circumstances this will be 1:40, however larger designs will need a cross fall of 1:80 to enhance the water run-off.
It’s important to consider the fall between the pegs being used so you can then place an appropriately sized offcut of wood on top. When you have levelled out the batten between pegs, the offcut will then account for the necessary fall.
Once you have measured down from the top of the pegs, you will be able to calculate the amount of soil needed to be removed. There needs to be enough room to account for the thickness of any slabs as well as any layers of the base. It’s always beneficial to tie string lines to each of the pegs to help assist the process.
Dig out for the base
You will firstly need to dig out any topsoil and save it for other areas of the garden. The depth in which you dig down below will be dependant on the size of your patio.
For light usage, the slabs can be placed onto a compacted 50mm bed of sand. If you want more stability, it is recommended that a 50mm semi-dry mix of sand and cement is used.
Foundation of the patio
For any areas of heavy use, you will need to have a compacted 75mm layer of hardcore placed below the sand and cement mixture. This particular substance is broken down brick and rubble, which needs to be laid over the ground and then compacted to guarantee a firm and stable base.
Once you have multiplied the patio area by the thickness of hardcore needed, you will then be able to calculate the required volume.
It is recommended that you hire a plate vibrator for the preparation stages to ensure you achieve a firm and solid base. Once the base has been prepared, you will then be able to lay the flagstones into one of the corners.
Laying down the slabs
In the case of light use, you will need to trowel five reasonably sized dabs of mortar onto the base area and then place down the first slab. Then tap the surface of the slab using a rubber mallet or the end of a club hammer and then check the spirit levels in both directions.
For heavy use, the slabs will need to be laid down on a consistent bed of 50mm tick mortar. This will ensure that the slab is supported correctly and therefore less likely to break.
It is also possible to lay down paving directly onto the sand, providing you have carefully levelled to fully support the slabs. You firstly need to place battens down at intervals in the sand, making sure the tops are at an appropriate level. Then use a straight edge to level out the sand between them by marking it along the battens.
Continue the process across the main area of your patio, making sure you regularly check the level. It is advised that you firstly work across the house wall, then down one side using string as a guide to ensure you are working diagonally.
It is quite common after a few years for the cement between each slab to crack and come out of place. This means regrouting paving stones is of paramount importance, since it will help get them back to their original state and prevent the growth of weeds.
Cutting the paving stones
It is preferable to leave out the slabs that need to be cut until the bulk area has been laid. You can then fill in any gaps with cut slabs, using a grinder of bolster chisel to make scores around each slab.
You must take the necessary health and safety precautions when you undertake any cutting work. It its vitally important that you wear safety goggles, work gloves and ear defenders.
Once you have scored, you will need to raise the smallest section on a thin batten and then tap the main area of the slab. This will need to be done along the cut line with the use of a bolster hammer.
It is vitally important to oversee regular maintenance of your patio in order for it to remain radiant. We have an unrivalled London Jet Washing service available at the Handy Squad, which means we can provide both a jet washing paving stones service as well as a jet washing stone steps service.