Add a paved patio area
Winter is the perfect time to get cracking on outdoor projects such as adding a paved patio. If you don't already have a paved or concrete patio, using cement paving bricks, clay bricks, or even reclaimed bricks, is an affordable and reasonably easy project that can be done in a weekend - or two - tops!
Wood stakes or steel rebar
Bag of cement (3 x 3 metre area) or more, as required *
Bagged sharp sand *
3 lengths of straight timber or straightedge
Hand tamper or plate compactor
The first step is to mark out the area where the paved patio will be situated. You can use marking paint to spray a line on the lawn and this will make it easier to follow.
Hammer wood stakes into the ground around the outside of your markings and attach a piece of string line onto each stake. If the ground slopes you will need to work from the house outward at a slight slope downwards to aid with water drainage. Mark the height of the paving on the stakes and adjust the string line accordingly.
Clear away grass and soil using a spade. Dig to a depth that allows for 10 centimetres of base and the height of the brick or paver you are using. Use a rack to level out the area and remove any large stones that will interfere with the level and laying process.
Sprinkle a 4 centimetre thick layer of cement over the prepared area. You can use a rake to help spread. While a hand tamper is okay for a small area, consider renting a plate compactor to save time when working with larger areas. Compact the area until you have a firm base.
Lightly mist the cement layer to moisten and make it more solid.
Start laying bagged sand over the cement base. It's easier to work with bags, as you can throw down as much as you need to level out easily, adding more bags as you complete the entire area to be paved.
Place a straightedge or length of timber perpendicular to where you will be working. These edges will serve as a guide as you work from one end, moving a straightedge over the surface of the sand to level out. Continue this process until the entire patio area is covered with level sand.
Starting at a corner, lay out the paver stones one by one. Make sure the pavers are bedded straight down into the sand and fit snuggly together. Don't drag the pavers across the sand. Continue until all pavers have been placed.
Finish off the perimeter of the paved area with a row of bricks, or by laying a concrete apron around the edge.
To finish the patio, spread a light layer of paver sand over the entire area. Use a soft broom to sweep the sand into the gaps between the stones.
Run the plate compactor across the patio surface. Add another thin layer of sand, and use the push broom again to spread it across the patio. Run the plate compactor over the area one last time.