In my opinion entertaining areas in the garden are a must and I’ve previously talked you through the basics of building a deck for such an area. Decking is a great option for a space like this but not always suitable so this month I’ll talk you through how I lay pavers to give a solid area to enjoy the garden from.
The first stage is the worst and that’s excavation. It’s not so bad if you have a machine to help out but in most D.I.Y cases this is done by hard work and a shovel. The only thing harder to swallow than the actual dig is finding out you’ve taken out too much so make sure you work out exactly how much needs to go. You have three layers to think about; road base, sand and the paver itself.
Road base needs to be 100mm think for a driveway, 75mm for a path and 50mm for a paving area but to be honest I always stick to 75mm for all areas that aren’t driveways. This may also alter depending on what type of soil you are building on. I then use 25mm of coarse paving or river sand and the depth of the paver. Most pavers are 40mm thick but driveway pavers need to be 60mm thick.
Add the three together to find out how much soil needs to leave site before digging. To work out how many cubic meters you will need to get rid of and therefore order a skip for take the area to be dug out and multiply it by the depth you are digging out. These figures need to be multiplied by 2.2 as the soil will “bulk out” once uncompacted and taken from the ground.
Once dug out you need to fill back in starting with the road base. Quantities for road base are worked out by finding the area, multiplying it by the depth and then multiplying that by 2.2 as the road base is compacted and ordered in tonnes. For example 20 m2 of paving will need: 20 x .075 x 2.2 = 3.3 tonnes of road base. The road base is spread evenly and compacted with a plate compactor. If compacting more than 100mm make sure you do so in layers of 100mm. I like to wet the road base when compacting so when it dries it sets solid.
The next layer is the sand and this needs to be spread and screeded flat to remove any ups and downs in the base. I use metal strips to get my falls (always away from the house and with a fall of about 1:100 which means for every 100 meters in length the paving falls 1 meter.) The strips are set in using a level and then they give a flat surface to work to with the screed bar or straight edge. This quite a skilled job so may be a good idea to get some help from someone who has done this before.
This flat level will give you a good base to lay pavers on start square off the house or similar structure and work out in straight lines from the last paver laid. Make sure you only step in the dead centre of the pavers that have been laid to maintain the integrity of the sand base below.
Once all the full pavers are in you will need to rent a brick saw or angle grinder to cut the edge pavers to fill in the gaps – again quite a skilled job that will when done well add quality to the job. So get someone with experience to help and be careful using power tools like saws and grinders.
The finishing jobs are the gap sand and haunching. Use dry Sydney sand to sweep into the gaps, this will set the
pavers together and stop any movement – this is made 100 times easier if the pavers and sand are as dry as possible. The haunching stops any river sand from washing out from under the pavers so scrap the edge of the sand out from under the pavers – about 100mm and fill it in with a mortar mix of sand and cement. Extend this mortar bed past the edge of the paver and angle it down to prevent water from washing under the paver.
Lots to take in with this one so don’t forget you can login in and ask me any questions you want through the lifestyle website.