Patio paving can be used for a number of areas around your home. Apart from the most obvious use, you can install patio pavers on garden paths, driveways, around pools and even steps in your garden or backyard. They are available in a range of shapes, sizes and colors, and you can also use recycled versions.
This type of paving is ideal for DIY because not only is it very easy to install patio pavers, but here is no need for mortar or cement if you use the dry method. The bricks are also small, so and cutting is minimal, unlike the larger paving slabs that make such a mess when you cut them.
Let’s first have a look at the types of patio paving available and then discuss installation.
Stone Patio Pavers
These are natural paving bricks and are available in a range of natural colors and finishes. You can buy them with a rough top finish to help avoid slipping in wet conditions, snow or ice. The colors are natural from a slate grey to a pinkish shade, and are fashioned from many different types of natural rock including granite, marble, bluestone and limestone. They are relatively expensive but they also look it!
Clay Patio Paving
Clay pavers are made from high-temperature fired clay bricks that can be colored to natural reds, browns and yellows. Because they are fashioned from clay, they are much easier to shape than natural stone bricks. The most popular have the reddish brown appearance of normal building bricks.
Concrete can be shaped and set to any form and dyed to practically any desired color. They are therefore available in a wide variety of shapes, including hexagonal and other shapes that can be interlocked together to cover large areas. If the color of your patio paving is important to you, then concrete bricks will give you what you need. Concrete is popular where contrasting color effects are desired around pools and on pathways.
Recycled tires, plastics and rubber can be used to manufacture composite patio paving stones with a much lower carbon footprint than the above alternatives. They are about a third lighter than their concrete, stone and clay equivalents. They are also are laid using a plastic underlay grid structure – again saving on plastic landfill.
How to Install Patio Pavers
There are several ways to install patio pavers. They can be cemented in or laid on top of a bed of sand and gravel. If you are not keen on mixing mortar, then the gravel and sand method is equally good. The latter is useful if you want to change your paving sometime in the future, or if a brick comes loose. They are easy to remove and replace, while cemented bricks can cause problems.
- Mark out the area: you can use chalk, a spray or even just a garden hose to mark out the area to be paved. Make sure you are not covering any utility piping or cabling – if this is unavoidable then use the sand and gravel method so the bricks can easily be removed for access.
- Dig down about 6 inches, level the surface and cover with a layer of polythene or other covering to prevent weed growth.
- Fill with about 4 inches of gravel and flatten it down – use a heavy roller or some other means of compacting the gravel. Compaction is essential for a good result. Then add an inch of sand and compact once more. Then level the whole area.
- Lay the bricks as close to each other as possible – make sure the area is edged with bricks set in mortar, a small wall or with metal strips. This is to prevent any lateral movement that could loosen the whole area.
- Sprinkle the whole area with fine sand then brush it over the bricks and into the spaces between them. Spray over with water to settle the sand into the spaces. Some use stone dust or a mix of sand and cement, although the bricks should be stable without needing the cement. You can add more sand to fill in any obvious spaces.
There are other ways to install patio pavers as explained earlier, but the above is the easiest if you are doing it yourself. Patio paving not only looks good, but adds perceived value to your home. Paving a pool surround in this way, or even a garden path, is an excellent way to stage your home when you are trying to sell it. You should recover the cost with a higher offer price