laying paving slabs

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Wonder if any of you good folk could give me a bit of advice?
i've moved into a house and have a little patio area with 500*500 paving slabs. The problem is they are all over the place, peaks and troffs all over. i've lifted acouple and whoever lay them had used sharp sand with aggregate in it onto soil. There is no hard core just the sharp sand and stones, which is about 60mm depth in parts. I want to lift the lot and start again, but not to sure how to lay them properly. Can i lay 30mm of ballast on soil and whack it then 15mm sharp sand and on top of that a 15mm mortar, or am i off the mark? Any advice would be much appreciated

ps. do you think i should hire a proper wacker plate or hit ballast with a spade or something?

cheers...
 
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