How To Build Your Own Patio

Posted on: 5 August 2015

A patio makes a great addition to your outdoor space that you can enjoy at any time of the year.  And you don't need to go to the expense of hiring a building contractor to lay the patio for you; with planning, organisation and basic DIY skills, you can do the job yourself.

Here's how to construct a stunning patio in just one weekend.

Choose your site

The first thing to do is choose the site for your new patio.  Look for a piece of ground that slopes away from your house.  This means that water will run away from your home, not into it!  A sheltered site that's south-facing will give you a pleasant sun-trap that can be used even on the windiest of days. 

What you'll need

  • hardcore (large pieces of aggregate used for  the foundation)
  • cement mix
  • sharp sand
  • paving slabs
  • pavers or edging blocks
  • 'wacker' plate (a plate compactor hired from a tool hire shop)
  • mini cement mixer (hired from a tool hire shop)
  • wooden pegs
  • a level
  • rubber or wooden mallet

You can obtain all the materials and tools you'll need from a good DIY store.

Building your patio

  1. Begin by clearing the site of all debris.  Remove the topsoil to a depth of 15cm to allow for the cement, hardcore and paving slabs.  
  2. Next lay down about 8cms of hardcore to form a good, solid drainage base.  Rake the hardcore flat and then compact it using a 'wacker' plate.  
  3. Now take some wooden pegs of equal length.  These pegs are to act as markers for the depth of the finished patio surface.  Hammer them into the ground across the site, making sure they're all at the same height.  Check that the pegs are straight using a spirit level.  
  4. Now decide how you'd like the finished patio paving surface to look.  It's a good idea to draw out a rough plan on paper to refer to when you start laying out the slabs.  
  5. The next step is to mix the cement. Standard mix uses one part cement to five parts sharp sand.  The quickest way to do this is by hiring a mini cement mixer.  Alternatively, you could use an old wheelbarrow and plenty of elbow grease!  
  6. Lay the cement bed to a depth of about 8cm.  Lay the paving slabs out on the cement bed and use a rubber or wooden mallet to tap them firmly into place.  It's very important to keep checking that the slabs are aligned with the wooden placing pegs to make sure that the patio is even.  
  7. Use small edging blocks or pavers to neaten up the edges of the patio.  
  8. Complete the job by washing the slabs down to get rid of any residual blobs of cement.  Fill in any gaps between the paving slabs with some left-over cement mixture.  
  9. Allow at least 24 hours for the cement to harden fully before you put furniture out on your new patio and begin using it.

Inversely, if this isn't a job you think you'll be able to effectively complete, don't be afraid to reach out to a professional, such as Patioworld NSW Pty Ltd