Paving the garden...

9 Jan 2004
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United Kingdom
I will be paving the garden this summer, I was wondering if anyone would like to point out any preparatory measures that I may need to think about before I start laying paving. I will be paving the garden as it becomes very muddy after rain due to the very poor drainage, and our dogs bring half the garden back inside with them. lol.
Thinking about the foundation what should I use? just sand? I will also be using those grill top drains down one side of the garden and level the paving so that the water runs down towards the drain.
Thanks advance.

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I used the site that Mason mentioned when i did some paving. Its very comprehensive.

Theres basically two methods, after laying foundations, dry and wet. With dry the sand and cement is mixed dry and laid and flattened to the correct depth, allowing for the correct fall etc. Dampness from the earth and atmosphere sets this over a few days depending on conditions. The advantage of this is that it can be walked on, carefully, immediately.

Wet- the sand and cement is mixed with water, either as a full bed or five dabs. Theres some controversy in the patio world about the use of five dabs or a full bed! I think the website advocates full bed but I know professionals who do use 5 dabs. It can be easier to level the slab with 5 dabs, and i'd probably recommend if you're a beginner.

Wickes and probably other places do a preformed plastic mixing tray- this is really useful for wet mixing. Remember to wash it clean though between each use. Otheriwse you can mix in a barrow.

Remember to work towards your exit.

Although not exactly what you asked for I learned the following things through trial and error and thought they might be useful: (You may already have considered all these things but..)

A few weeks before treat tough weeds with glyphosate based weed killer - this kills the root and the greenery- some weeds can push through even inches of foundation.

check round various suppliers for prices, garden centres tend to be a lot more expensive than builders merchants. Check the depth of the slab- cheaper, thinner ones can more prone to breakage, but can be used for light traffic with sufficient foundations.

Its a cheaper option to use paving with gaps and fill these with gravel. I did this and left about 5cm gaps between pavers, this is also useful if you don't want to cut the slabs to fit- you can plan the gravel spacings so no cutting is necessary. However, if your dogs are diggers you may wish to avoid this as they could kick up the gravel around the garden! I found this method easier because you don't need to be quite as accurate when you're levelling them. YOu can also plant in the gravel if you leave gaps.

Remember to set the corrrect fall- the website explains this, especially important with poor drainage.

Take the conditions of your garden into account when choosing the texture of the slab. Smooth ones may be slippery when wet, especially if used in the shade when algae, moss etc is more likely to grow. Riven ones can pool water unless the correct fall is used. Very textured ones can get dirty quickly and be very difficult to clean - especially noticeable with pale coloured slabs.

Try to use local materials and blend the colours of the patio to the existing house brick/material.

Patios made up of differently sized slabs can look more 'interesting' over a large area than ones of the same size. However this can work out more expensive.

Hope this helps

Amanda ;)
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