Can I lay my own patio?

Increasingly, we’re treating our gardens like an extra room of the house. With the use of furniture, lighting and even heating, sections of the garden can be transformed into a space to be enjoyed all-year round. Whether you’re socialising with friends, spending time with your family, or just relaxing, if you’re going to make the most of your garden then you need a patio.

Professional landscaping

A professional landscaping company can easily lay a patio in your garden. It’s one of the more straightforward garden hard landscaping jobs but paying a professional to do it will of course have a range of associated costs. You’re not just paying for materials, there’s also labour to consider.

You can save an awful lot of money by laying your own patio. It can be a relatively easy job to undertake, depending on the layout and topography of your garden. If your garden is regular, and relatively flat, it’s not too complicated.

If, however, your garden has a more challenging layout or perhaps slopes or undulates in some way or another, then you may need to shift large quantities of earth before you can begin laying your patio. This is a job that can be done by the confident (and energetic!) amateur, but it may be appropriate to get in extra pairs of hands to make the process easier.

So, before you decide to call in the professionals, take a look at this brief guide to how it’s done.

A brief guide to laying a patio

Planning & Measuring

You’ll need to draw a detailed plan of your proposed patio before you begin. Mark the permanent features in your garden such as the walls of the house. Mark on trees and larger plants. Your patio will need to be at  least 150mm away from the damp course of your house, and will need to gradually fall away from the house at about 25mm in every 1.5mm. Failing that, you can install a drainage channel.

Calculate the surface area of your proposed patio in square metres. Every pack of slabs will tell you how much surface area each slab covers. Divide your patio area by the size of the slabs, and that will tell you how many you’ll need for your project.

Prepare the area

Before you can begin laying your patio, you’ll need to properly prepare the area.  Dig a depth of 150mm across the whole area, making sure that the soil is properly compacted. You’ll then need to tip in the sub-base, then rake it into a consistent depth of 100mm. You will need to ensure that it’s smooth, level and firm.

Creating a concrete mix for your patio

The concrete mix for your patio will need to be three-parts sand and one-part cement, adding water to create a mix of the right consistency. To make sure it’s thick enough, pick some up and mould it into a ball. When you let go of the concrete ball, it should retain its shape without oozing water or falling apart.

To be completely confident about your concrete, Goodmix Concrete can provide ready-mix and barrow mix concrete, made to exactly the right consistency, no matter how big or small your project.

Time to lay your slabs

If you’ve measured correctly, have the right concrete on hand and all the slabs you need, then it’s time to turn your plans into reality. Before you start to lay your slabs, you’ll need to dampen them. This is necessary so that they don’t dry out the concrete too quickly.

Gently lay the first slab into the concrete mix, and then gently tap the slab with a mallet. This should fix it into place, ideally sitting at around 15mm in the concrete. You then repeat the process, leaving a 10-15mm gap between each slab, until you’ve laid your entire patio.

A few finishing touches

To complete the job, you’ll need to apply a few finishing touches. Firstly, fill in the gaps between your slabs with the remaining concrete using a trowel. Be careful to ensure that there’s little in the way of residue left on the slabs.

After that, there’s decorative aspects to consider. Do you want any extra brickwork, or decorative borders?

Sounds simple?

The basics of laying a patio are quite simple, but whether or not you decide to attempt it yourself perhaps depends on how experienced you are at similar projects. Laying a patio can present difficulties, and some challenges, particularly when slabs have to be cut to size. Few patios just consist of slabs, so there are other things to consider. Can you do brickwork? What other features would you like to include? The more complicated your plans, the broader the range of skills you will require to successfully complete the job.

If you have any doubts about your ability to complete the job, then get in help. It can ultimately save you a lot of time, money, and headaches.

Goodmix can help

At Goodmix Concrete we’ve helped countless people lay beautiful patios by providing them with the concrete they need on time and on budget. We are the North West’s leading supplier of ready mix and barrow mix concrete. It doesn’t matter how big or small your project is, we can help you get your job done. Whether it’s a small-scale DIY project, or a larger garden makeover, our concrete will be on hand precisely when you need it in the quantities that you require.

Our concrete is the highest quality and we only ever use aggregates straight from the quarry, and never recycled materials.

To find out more about what we can provide and to discuss your project, call us on 0161 711 1165 or email