Paving the Patio

Wednesday, 15th February 2006

snail dateI'm glad that I've had a couple of days in the Peak District because it's back to reality today: we've got a tough job as Paul the gardener is back and this time we're taking up all the paving slabs on the patio, levelling off the ground with sand, then relaying it without the gaping cracks that were showing before.

The Five-spot Method

Paul has been advised that the best way to lay them is to use the five-spot method: dollop a cupful or two of cement at each corner of the slab and a fifth spot in the middle, drop it into place then whack the slab with a big rubber sledgehammer until level.

Cracking up

I don't recommend this method; it's a shame having got the sand level to spoil it all with those wodgy dollops and, since we're re-using old paving slabs which have one or two hairline cracks in them, two of them shatter into three or four pieces when they're hammered! Drat!

Luckily we've borrowed an angle grinder to cut the slabs, so we can improvise to fill the gaps and there's a full slab behind the shed that we can bring on as a substitute.

The final job, finished off around the edges with mortar the following afternoon, is so satisfyingly neat that I inscribe the date in the corner by the back door. Next Page

Richard Bell,