Paving Design
Paved areas instantly increase our living space, especially during the Summer.From the many options available what is the best design for you? In this section you will find some useful information to get you started.

See before you buy

Before you choose your paving try to see it laid somewhere in a real-life situation. The point is not to buy solely on the basis of catalogue pictures because the colours shown are not always true. Catalogue patios are often set up in a photographic studio where the lighting enhances the texture of the slab.

Another point: you rarely see a catalogue picture without some form of planting around the edges. This always enhances the effect of the paving, a point to remember (and adopt at home).

There is no need to stick to only one type of paving or surface: pebbles, gravels, bricks and tiles can all be incorporated. A contrasting brick edge can also be effective.


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Colours

Generally, it's better to choose a patio paving colour that bears some relationship with the predominant colour of your house. Don't try to match the colour of the brickwork for instance (dark brickwork / light paving and vice versa). 

As substitutes for stones, pavers come in wide range of natural colours: bluestone, sandstone, greys, pinks and oranges. It's all a matter of personal taste, of course, but an understanding of the effect of colour combinations will help. 

Dark colours are less reflective and produce less glare. To make your patio user-friendly, don't underestimate the effect of glare because this is the last place you want to be squinting. A darker slab will also retain and radiate heat well into the evening after the sun has disappeared, if this is desirable.

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Cutting to size

Take extra care measuring your patio or other area to be paved. The sizes of paving slabs are usually given in nominal measurements, which includes the pointing - usually a 10mm allowance. 

This is important if you decide for some reason to butt your slabs together instead of pointing them. A 600 x 600mm slab will probably be only be 590 x 590mm. If you make provision for a twelve slab run of butted slabs you will end up 120mm short (about 5 inches). This can send you back to the drawing board.

Alternatively, if your pointing is nearer to 20mm wide you can end up 120mm (5 inches) over your estimate on a twelve slab run (back to the drawing board again).

You may also find it difficult to achieve the recommended jointing using slabs of various finish, especially if using a combination of sizes for a random rectangular effect.  You may find the solution is to simply dribble sand down the gaps (this can be effective).

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It's always a good idea to lay some of your slabs out on level ground to get the feel of them and assess joint width.

If using a random rectangular pattern, make sure that you choose paving which works within the pattern.  The relevant sizes should be in multiples of the smallest dimension. For instance, 300 x 300mm, 600 x 300mm and 600 x 600mm will form a random rectangular bond, but you will not be able to include 450 x 450mm. To use the 450 x 450mm slabs within a pattern you will have to incorporate them with 225 x 225mm, 225 x 450 and possibly 450 x 675.

Make your own laying plan or get a ready-made pattern sheet from your supplier, which will have various random patterns printed out. For three-size patterns, a ratio of say 30 : 60 : 35 of 600 x 600mm : 600x300mm : 300x300 respectively, works out fine. It might look random, but of course it's planned to look that way.

If you have to cut slabs a diamond disc blade is best and remember to wear ear defenders and goggles. If you only have a few cuts you can get away with a stone cutting disc.

Remember, as with all DIY jobs, preparartion is everything.


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