If you have decided to lay a patio or paving slabs at home, you may be wondering where exactly you can put your new garden feature.
As with pitching a tent, the success of your endeavour is determined by where you place it and what is beneath it.
Put it in the wrong place and you will be left with unsightly, cracked, and broken paving that moves around.
Place it in the right location and you will be able to enjoy solid, sturdy, and safe paving for many years to come.
So, what top tips should you follow when it comes to choosing a location for your paving project?
Bad places for paving slabs.
Below is a selection of places where you should not install paving slabs if you want a long-lasting and aesthetic paved area.
Laying paving over topsoil is a bad idea because topsoil lacks durability and stability. This in turn will create paving that is unstable and likely to move around.
Just as with topsoil, sand can cause your paving stone to move, as it is not a stable base layer.
Sand is used when making mortar, which acts as the adhesive layer between stones and the sub-base. However, it cannot hold the stones steady, as the granular nature of the material allows sand to move easily.
If you lay your patio over grass, you can expect that over time it will sink and become uneven.
A larger paved section, like a patio or path can present a trip hazard as the stones sink into the grass, leading to cracks in the stones and mortar and allowing weed entry.
If laying stepping stones, however, setting them in the grass is fine, and will give it a lived-in look.
On uneven surfaces
Cracked pre-existing paving is bad news and should not be used as a base for new structures.
Cracks mean that the pre-existing tile or concrete is already moving, will continue to move, and will therefore likely fail. As such, it will not provide a strong and steady base for new paving.
On top of pipes or cables
Laying tiles or paving on top of pipes and cables is a sure-fire way to bring about leaks or bursts or increase the risk of electrocution. As such, you should check areas thoroughly for piping and cables and avoid them to ensure local services are not interrupted.
If you don’t want to buy a pipe locator tool, you can contact local utility companies before you start to dig to see if your area will be affected or use online services such as National One Call or Line Search to find out which utilities might be affected.
Over waterlogged areas
Areas that are commonly waterlogged during heavy rain are dreadful places for paving.
Firstly, because you are unlikely to want to sit in ankle-deep water, and secondly because it will vastly hinder the success of your paving.
Excess water can stop mortar from setting correctly and can wash away the sub-base, leaving it uneven and unsteady. The ground below the paving will continue to move and will either refuse to set because of the excess moisture or will set unevenly, creating an unsightly and unsafe paved area.
The best places to lay paving
Choosing an appropriate spot to lay your paving will provide you with the best chance of laying long-lasting, beautiful paved areas.
If the incorrect spot is chosen, paving will fail to set or will set in a way that is unsafe and unattractive.
As such, the best places to lay paving are:
- Free from cables and pipes
- Even and flat
- On a sturdy surface that allows for natural drainage
The rest is up to you!
Where could I put my paved area?
The most common option is placing your paved area near your back doors.
This then acts as a direct extension of the house, so you can keep an ear out for the children playing while enjoying the evening sunshine, or easily bring out food for BBQs in the summer.
For those that enjoy the peace and quiet, however, you could consider installing a paved area at the bottom of your garden.
This provides more distance from the house, making it feel like you could be anywhere in the world. It also increases your privacy, so if you are looking to install a hot tub or home bar, this could be an ideal spot for you.