How to Lay Slabs on Sand


There are a number of instances in which you may wish to use sand—as opposed to a sand and cement mix—as a bedding material for paving slabs. For example, sand is a suitable foundation if you are laying a number of different size slabs that might require rearrangement.

Sand is a suitable foundation for paving slabs.
(sand image by alri from

Things You'll Need

  • Slabs
  • Coarse sand
  • Spade
  • Pegs and line
  • Spray paint
  • Spirit level
  • Hammer
  • Block of wood
  • Hose
  • Rake
  • Broom
Step 1

Using spray paint, or a line stretched between pegs, mark the border of the area to be slabbed.

Use a bright color of spray paint so the line is clearly visible.
spray image by Dragana Petrovic from
Step 2

Remove topsoil from the area to be paved to a depth of around 3 inches. This allows space for the sand bed and the paving slabs. Use a spirit level at various places at the bottom of the excavation to ensure that it is level. You may wish to allow the ground to slope slightly to allow rainwater to drain.

Use a spade to excavate for the foundation.
spade image by from
Step 3

Spread a layer of coarse sand in the excavated area and use a rake to level it. This layer must be around 1 inch deep.

Use a rake to spread the sand evenly.
Resting rake. image by bluefern from
Step 4

Arrange the slabs, beginning in one corner and working outwards. If you are arranging a pattern, keep larger slabs on the perimeter of the area to be slabbed and smaller ones nearer the center. Small slabs at the edge of a paved area are prone to being knocked out of position.

You may wish to arrange slabs in a pattern.
Stone paving image by Lee Mann from
Step 5

Using a wooden block and a hammer, knock the slabs gently into place, bedding them into the sand. This will prevent them from moving when stepped on. Do not strike the slabs directly, as this can cause damage.

Carefully hammer the slabs into place.
a hammer image by timur1970 from
Step 6

Make sure the paved area is level using a spirit level. If it is uneven, either add or remove sand to raise or lower the slab to the correct height.

Use a spirit level to ensure the area is even.
wasserwaage image by Rolf Klebsattel from
Step 7

Heap small piles of coarse sand onto the paved area and sweep into the cracks in between the slabs using a broom.

Sweep away any excess sand once complete.
broom image by BaSSaBaS from
Step 8

Water the area to compact the sand and allow it to dry for a day or two. Fill in any gaps with more sand to meet the required level. Your paved area is now complete.

Your slabbed area is now completed for your enjoyment.
patio image by fotogisèle from

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Tips & Warnings

  • You can use excavated topsoil on your flowerbeds.
  • Allow a working perimeter around your paved area of around 12 inches.
  • Beware of injury when lifting slabs or digging.
  • Wear suitable protective clothing to avoid injury.


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