Greig Morgan goes crazy with natural stone to make an outdoor room.
Having a deck is one thing, but sometimes there's a special spot in your garden that you think would be perfect for outdoor dining. It doesn't need to be big and some well-laid pavers will give you that extra outdoor room.
For this job, we chose to do some crazy paving using natural stone. It suited the subtropical garden and blended with the landscaping. As well as making a great feature, natural stone will also stand the test of time. I think it's like a fine wine and gets better with age.
Set up a couple of string lines - parallel with each other - at the finished height of the paving area. Using a level, allow enough fall for water to get away. Excavate the soil to about 200mm below the string line.
Fill the area with Gap 20 at an even depth of about 100mm. Rake, screed, shape and compact using a plate compactor.
Make up a mix of sand and cement with a mix of five parts sand to one part of cement. Add water to create a mortar mixture. Then add Cemkey (follow instructions).
Start at the most convenient area and work your way out so that you're not standing on your work. Lay the plaster slurry mix, allowing enough for the stones to sit on. Using a rubber mallet, tap the stones to the height of the string line.
Lay the stones so they fit like a jigsaw. Use a sledgehammer to break the stone into different sizes. Allow a gap of about 15mm to 20mm, or whatever looks pleasing to the eye.
Once all your paving has been laid, sweep the area clean. For grouting, use a bag of pre-made mortar, mixed with water and black oxide. Sponge in the grouting flush with the top of the stone. Do small areas at a time so the grout doesn't set too fast.
While each small area that has been grouted is still wet, fill a bucket with clean water and, using a clean sponge, clean up the stone work. Make sure to change the water regularly.
Once all the crazy paving has been grouted and cleaned, wait for a couple of days for the grout to dry. You will be left with a light powdery form of cement that needs to be removed, which you can do using diluted spirits of salts with water.
Make it up in a bucket or watering can and pour over small areas at a time. Scrub with a hard bristled broom quickly, the acid will fizz up, removing cement residue. Hose off that area and start the next until the job is finished.
* Regularly check your laying of the pavers using a level.
* Because the stone is natural and won't always be flat, allow for this when setting up your string lines.
* Hose the acid off as quickly as possible to ensure the acid doesn't eat into the grouting.
Gap 20 (Hard fill)
Cemkey (plaster glue)
Trade mortar & black oxide (grouting)
Spirits of salts to clean concrete
Natural stone of choice (Huge selection from Stone & Water World)
Spade, shovel, wheelbarrow
String line & tape measure
Level, screed bar, rake