Getting Started with Garden Paving
Garden paving is a great way to brighten up your garden and turn it into the little paradise you’ve always dreamed of. Designs can be quite simple or elaborately decorative, it really depends on how far or imaginative you want to be.
The first thing you need to make is a plan of action. Decide on your budget and start looking at the different materials. Paving slabs can vary wildly in price so contact local suppliers for brochures and catalogues.
After you have a rough idea of the materials you’d like to use, try and visualize what you want to achieve. To help you with this you’d want to get a collection of ideal pictures that you’d want your garden to look like. You could get these from gardening magazines, from the internet, or even from garden paving suppliers (brochures etc.).
So now you know what you want to achieve with what materials you can now decide what type of builder you want to carry out the work. This really boils down to both budget and level of complexity. Obviously if you’re deciding to go with an extremely complex design with expensive materials, you should go with a specialist garden paving company. However if your design is quite simple and your budgets a bit tighter you may want to go with a local handyman (who has experience laying garden paving) or indeed if you have some experience yourself – and are up for the challenge – you may want to do it yourself.
You may need to call on the help of some friends and family but as long as the design isn’t too complex it’s definitely possible to lay it yourself.
Paving stones are usually designed to interlock – which makes it a lot easier to lay (especially for the novice). Other materials needed will include, gravel, sand and a plastic membrane which will prevent weeds and other unwanted plants growing up through the paving stones. This membrane is extremely important as a lot of damage can be done by plants growing up through the stones.
You may want to add a border to the side of the path. This can look really nice and adds a “defined” look to the finished pathway, although it will obviously add to the final cost.
On top of those materials you’ll also need the following equipment: a tamper (to flatten the soil), a shovel, a sweeping brush (both large and small) and a mallet (to affix the paving slabs).
Once you’ve got all your equipment and laid out exactly where you want your slabs to be laid the next thing to do is to excavate the soil. You’ll need to dig down several centimetres to allow enough room for your base stones to be bedded into.
You’ll also need to account for the gravel, sand and plastic membrane that will need to go underneath. Once you have the necessary soil excavated you should tamp the soil making sure it’s nice and flat. Use a spirit level to aid you for this. Next you’ll lay the plastic membrane followed by the gravel. Once the gravel is laid – once again you’ll need to tamp this to ensure its level. Finally you’ll add a layer of sand before beginning to place the paving slabs.
This is a fairly broad overview of what you’d need to do and if you’re carrying out the job yourself it would be best to look at any number of online video tutorials that can be found online.
But once you’ve laid your garden paving you really will be delighted with the end result – as well as adding extra value to your home!