When done properly and well, a natural stone patio will last a lifetime and add a beautiful feature to your garden. Laying a patio is not as hard as you might think, so if you have some DIY skills, follow our top tips to achieve a professional look.
Natural stone comes in many different shapes and sizes to suit all budgets and tastes. We would always recommend choosing the best quality that you can afford as this will ensure that your patio lasts longer.
For any DIY project, forward planning is key to saving you time, and laying a natural stone patio is no exception. It is a good idea to draw your patio area to scale on a piece of paper before you begin marking where your stone tiles will go. You really don't want to have to cut tiles, so by planning, you can alter your layout before your start.
You will then need to clear the area of the garden where your natural stone patio will go, ensuring that it is to a depth that allows for two inches of bedding mortar, as well as the thickness of the slabs.
Important tip – Your patio should be lower than the damp proof course and should not cover any air bricks. If your patio will be going up against your house, then it will need to slope away to stop water pooling and causing damp.
The first row of your patio is the most important as it will act as a guide for the rest of the natural stone paving slabs.
Start by mixing your mortar, two parts sharp sand, two parts soft sand and one part cement. It can also be a good idea to add PVA adhesive to the mix as this will help the slabs stick to the mortar.
Lay down a bed of the mortar and start by laying the natural stone farthest away from the house. You may need to tap each slab so that they are level. Once the first line of slabs is laid, leave these for a short time so that the mortar hardens and you have a solid point to move on from.
Important tip – Many natural stone slabs have a top and a bottom, so make sure you are laying them the right way up.
Once your first row has hardened, mark out the rest of your patio with string, as this will allow you to get straight lines and give you a guide to work to.
You can then continue to lay your natural stone patio a row at a time.
Important tip – Keep checking that your patio is level and make adjustments if necessary.
Once all your paving slabs are laid, wait at least a day for the mortar to go off before pointing. You will need to use a drier mix to do this so that the mortar doesn't shrink.
Important tip – Don't brush the pointing mix across natural stone slabs, as this can cause staining.
Our team at the Stone Gallery are always on hand to offer advice on choosing the right natural stone for your project. They are also able to point you in the right direction, if you are not confident to lay a patio yourself.