How to Lay a Natural Stone Patio


Plan it out on paper first to suit your area - try to use full slabs to avoid the need for excess cutting.

This becomes your laying guide.

Think about damp - if the patio is going near a house, it must be 150mm below the damp course.

A fall or gradient of 1:40 will be sufficient to drain water away from buildings, in to channel drains.

Tools Checklist:

Wheelbarrow, shovel, rake, spirit level , mallet, bucket, tape measure, bricklayers trowel, tamper (or sledgehammer handled vertically), soft brush, stringlines and mixing tray.

Patio Laying Patterns - Pavestone | Natural Paving Stone for gardens and  driveways

Example of a laying pattern from Pavestone.


Preparing the Site

This depends on what type of ground you're starting with and how heavy the traffic over the paving will be.

Firm Ground

Remove the turf and top soil down to approximately 40mm to accomodate the sand, mortar and paving slabs.

Soft Ground

Dig an extra 100mm (approx. 140mm in total) to accomodate the foundations which should comprise of well-compacted MOT or Hardcore


Laying Foundations

This depends on what type of ground you're starting with and how heavy the traffic over the paving will be. If you're unsure, consult professional.

Common garden patios - light pedestrian traffic and solid ground

Robust garden patios - heavy traffic e.g. mowers or planters and less stable ground


Making the Bedding Course

Important considerations

Only do this in dry conditions. Only prepare the area that you will be able to lay within a day. Always protect unlaid areas if being left overnight or in bad weather with tarps or hessian.

Bedding Sand Course

Spread sharp sand around the area, to a depth slightly higher than the finished depth (40mm).

Compact this with a vibrating plate compactor and then use screeding rails to achieve the required level.

Now you're ready for laying the paving.

Laying the Paving


Any required cutting can be done with a diamond saw or specialist cropper. Always take appropriate precautions when cutting.


Select slabs from different packs as-you-go to blend colours for the natural look.

Stack slabs close to where they will be laid.

Place paving slabs on to 25mm bed or mortar as per your pattern.

8-14mm joint width for common paving sizes. Check your pattern regularly.

Do not overload uncompacted paving slabs.

Finishing the Job


You can compact your paving slabs using a vibrating plate compactor with a rubber mat attached or using a rubber mallet or sledgehammer.

It may take a few passes to compact slabs to the desired level.

Filling the Joints

Jointing compounds make filling the joints a quick job. Simply pour out the compound on to your patio and brush in to the joints a compact with a jointer where it will set hard.

This can often be done even in wet conditions. Find out more about jointing compounds.

Sealing the Paving

Depending on the look you want to achieve, various sealers can be applied to provide an additional level of protection for the paving slabs.