As summer comes around and things begin to move outside, it’s natural to turn your attention to the outdoor areas of your home. Laying a new patio is a great way to update your backyard, and you’ll reap the rewards every time the sun makes an appearance.
One major concern that most people tend to have when it comes to landscaping, or with making big improvements to your home in general, is the cost of hiring professionals to come out and complete the work for you versus how easy it is to do the job yourself.
Luckily, laying a patio isn’t all that difficult, and in most cases, you’ll be able to get it done in as little as one weekend. That’s just one weekend’s work for countless future weekends when you can entertain guests or relax in solitude while you enjoy your freshly laid patio.
Now you know that yes, you can lay your own patio, you’ve probably moved on to wondering, “how can I lay my own patio?” I’m about to answer this and more, so if you can’t stand the sight of your outdoor space anymore, keep reading to learn how to transform it.
Can You Lay a Patio Without Cement?
Having a concrete slab as the foundation for your patio can be beneficial because it can help the patio slabs settle rather than sliding around to leave an uneven surface.
You can, however, lay a patio without using cement by replacing it with flagstone, tile, brick, or any type of sturdy flat pavers on a fully prepped base. Not only will this reduce the overall cost of laying a patio, but it will also ensure that it’s more water-permeable.
Another advantage of laying a patio without using cement is that removing the patio will be an easier job if you ever decide to change the location or do something else with that area at a later date, so it’s worth considering this method if you’re in two minds about your patio’s final placement.
How Difficult is Laying a Patio?
When you know how to do it, laying a patio isn’t actually all that difficult. The hardest part of this job is the actual groundwork and the preparation.
It’s easy to underestimate the physicality of digging out the area and lugging around bags of mortar, cement, and large paving slabs, but this can be backbreaking work which could even lead to strain or injury.
Provided that you follow the step-by-step instructions we’ve included in this article and you don’t overdo it (and end up doing your back in), you should be able to lay your own patio without too much difficulty.
Don’t expect to become an expert overnight, however, as professional patio pavers will have had years of experience to help them perfect their work.
How Do You Lay a Patio For Beginners?
Even if you’ve never done any sort of home improvement work or DIY yourself, it’s relatively easy for a beginner to learn how to lay a patio themselves. We’ve put together the following step-by-step simple instructions that tell you exactly how to lay a patio.
Before you can begin laying your patio, you’ll need to select and buy all of the essential materials that you’ll need to pave your patio.
In order to ensure that you get enough material for the chosen area, you’ll need to calculate the area first. You can work this out by measuring the size of your future patio space and multiplying the length times the width, which will give you the total area.
Once you have this information, you can purchase the required materials, which will be available in most hardware/home stores, construction material retailers, and tile outlets.
After gathering all the tools and materials you need, prep the patio area by digging out the size and shape you desire. Dig and dispose of approximately 4 to 8 inches of soil, and try to keep the surface as even as possible. Remove any roots or rocks that you come across.
Create a border around the outer edges with a bender board and use stakes to temporarily keep this in place. Spray the area with water to moisten it.
Cover the bottom of the dug-out area with road base until around 2 to 4 inches deep, or alternatively use ¾ gravel or crushed recycled cement. Spray the area again to moisten it.
Top the area up with 2 to 4 inches of sharp sand and lay the pavers in your chosen layout.
You can leave the gaps between paving stones as small or as big as you like, but if you’re planning on the latter, remember that you’ll need to fill the exposed ground between pavers with carpeting groundcover plants or some form of gravel. Spray the area again to moisten.
Add some sand to the areas between the pavers until they’re completely filled and overflowing slightly. Allow a few days with minimal disturbance for the sand to settle.
Lightly sweep the patio to brush away the top layer of loose sand, then water it a little. You can add plants to any of the larger gaps for decorative purposes which can be done at this stage. At the end of this last step, lightly wash the patio with water for the final time.
How Long Does it Take to Lay a Patio?
It’s difficult to determine an exact estimate for how long it will take you to lay a patio due to the numerous variables that can affect the outcome of the answer to this question.
With that said, you should be able to complete most patios within a weekend, based on an 8 square meter patio size and a relatively simple design, with 2 people working on the job.
If you haven’t managed to sweet talk one of your friends or family members into lending a helping hand and you’re laying the patio yourself, as well as marking out the area, cleaning away any existing landscaping, digging the area out, preparing the foundation, and so on, and so on… be prepared for it to take you more than a couple of days to finish.
The timeframe will also vary depending on the pattern of the patio you’re laying. Anything with a complex design will take longer to lay, as it’ll take more time to position the pavers.
Plus, when you’re working outside, you’re dealing with the elements which can be unpredictable at best. At its worst, the weather can also delay your patio’s progress.
I hope that you’ve found this article helpful and that you’re planning your trip to the hardware store already, confident in the knowledge that you can lay your own patio and transform your backyard whilst saving a tonne of money compared to hiring professionals to do it for you.
Just remember that the hardest parts of this job are the initial stages, and if you ever start to doubt your decision just think about how grateful future you will be when you’re able to enjoy your evenings and sunny weekends sitting on your new patio.