Natural stone paving is an affordable and good way to refresh an outside space A simple patio can be laid in a couple of days. As with most things planning and preparation are key so here we have detailed a simple installation guide for natural paving.

Highlighting best practice and a few do's and don'ts. Remember the biggest sin in laying paving of different sizes are 4 corners meeting (although its obviously OK if it is your intended design!)

For inspiration and laying guides we recommend using our Supplier Ethan Masons Virtual Paver. Ethan Mason have a fantastic range of natural paving (as well as porcelain) and is really worth checking out. 

As with most things planning and preparation are key so spend time ensuring you have a sound base and how your space will work for its intended purpose. You can visit our blog on our sister companies website about designing a garden by clicking on this link. That said, here is our guide to transforming your outside space with a natural stone patio.

ONE - Plan the size and pattern of your patio (use the virtual paver to help you if needed) or just make a rough sketch on paper.

TWO - Dry lay your patio and make sure your measurements work and you get the colour blend of your slabs right (note that all natural stone will have a colour variation as no two slabs are ever the exact same).

THREE - Create a good sound foundation. As a guide dig out the area and import 100mm of Type 1sub-base and compact using a vibrating plate. If you are creating a paved area next to a house ensure you are 150mm below damp proof course.

FOUR - Start by laying from the corner of your project and work outwards. You must check your levels and fall frequently to make sure you stay on track otherwise you may end up with water sitting in puddles or running to the house. You are looking to achieve a 1:60 fall, this means that the patio will fall 1cm per 60cm length sloping away from the house.

FIVE - Always lay your slabs on a full mortar bed. If you spot dab this it will cause loose paving and could cause reflective staining when the paving drys out.

SIX - Using a slurry on the back of each slab before installation will ensure the slab sticks to your mortar bed.

SEVEN - Don't butt join paving and spend time on jointing. Make sure your joints are even and pointed in to prevent movement. Ensure a flush finish to allow water to drain.

EIGHT - Personal care is important when laying a patio. Slabs can be heavy so lift with care and wear gloves. Wear goggles and ear defenders when using a cutting machine.

NINE - Sealing natural paving is a choice. We would recommend sealing your new paving as natural stone is porous. By sealing your stone you will prevent deep penetration of dirt and spillages and it will make it easier to clean in the future. Using a recommended sealer will seal your paving for about 8 years. We can recommend either the invisible or satin sealers from Pavetuf.

TEN - By regularly cleaning your patio you will prevent the build up of dirt and algae. Don't use harsh chemicals such as acid or bleach on your paving always use a recommended cleaner. For regular maintenance then a general cleaner will do. If you've left it a little too long then a deep cleaner may be more effective.

In todays world we often demand perfection from products but remember you are laying a natural product that has been in the ground for years and years and you can expect some natural occurrences, its not unknown to even be lucky enough to have a fossil or two in your stone.

Don't panic if you see rust spots; these are iron ores working their way out of the stone, they will fade in time. You may also get some efflorescence on the surface of the stone which will have come from the chemical mix from the bed it is laid on and will disappear over time. There are solutions that we can recommend to help remove it - if you need any advice, give us a call! 

Your stone is a natural product so unlike porcelain that is manufactured you will have colour variations no 2 slabs are the same and although most natural stone is calibrated there will also be tolerances with the sizes of the paving. Having said all that, using natural stone for your paved area will bring a timeless, unprocessed and 'beautiful as nature' intended look to your garden. It has a surprisingly economical and beautiful price tag too!

Visit our shop for our natural stone range and choose the colour pallet and size (or combination of sizes) to suit your project. As always, if you need help email us on or call 01962 777475. 

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