Creating a perfectly flat patio could be a bit of a laborious task so I won't fib and say it's all plain sailing. But if you want to save some serious money this summer, building your own patio is going to require a bit of commitment. On the positive side of things, this patio took me just eight hours to create and of that, laying the pavers took only one hour. In fact, laying the pavers turned out to be the easy part. One big time-saver is being able to get everything on site in one delivery, including the compactor (which I hired from Bunnings).
This paving is part of the Waterview Primary School community garden project. The paving will be part of its new propagation house and plant shop, so the pavers were laid inside 200 x 50mm retaining timber. It is usually easier to pave without any boxing or edging so that you can work to the natural dimensions of the pavers and thus reduce the amount of cutting needed. However, boxing is convenient for creating levels, and the base course is always perfectly even and at the correct depth. On this job I used Holland pavers from Firth.
If you are not using the hard timber edges, use screeding poles - galvanised pipes which are portable, rigid, straight and make screeding a cinch. Use the poles firstly for the base course and then for the sand. Keep a bucket of sand and a paving float (trowel) handy to fill in the recesses left by the poles. If there is no timber edging, haunch around the paving with concrete and compact, tidying the haunching as you go.
Excavate soil to install your timber edges if you are using them. Make sure they are square. I used a big set square but also measured from corner to corner.
Install 150mm minimum of base course. Compact and screed. I cut indentations into a board the same depth as a paver, 50mm. My screed sat 50mm below the top of the timber edging and was perfect every time. Repeat this until the base is even.
Screed the sand over the base course. I apply a 10mm layer of sand, just enough to bed in the pavers. The sand is not for filling in low spots. This will cause indentations in your finished paving.
Start laying in the pavers in bond formation. To achieve this leave a gap of half a paver every second row.
Stand on a board while you are laying the pavers. This disperses your weight evenly so you won't move the pavers before compaction.
Once all of the whole pavers are laid, cut in the edge pavers . I used a 9-inch grinder because I own one but you can hire manual or electric paving cutters which are easy to use.
Clean off the pavers with a broom. Make sure you remove all stones and debris as these can get caught under the compactor and crack the pavers.
Broom sand into all the gaps and compact. Try not to leave sand mounds as these can depress the paving when they are compacted. Repeat this process until there are no gaps left in the pavers.
DIY Workshops at your local Bunnings Warehouse this weekend
* Saturday: 11am: Power garden maintenance workshop; 1pm: How to erect a sunshade.
* Sunday: 11am: How to clean and maintain power tools; 1pm: How to spray paint.