How to Lay Paving Slabs


Paving slabs are an attractive way of creating pathways or patio areas; and, with a bit of preparation, are easy to lay. Available in a great range of sizes, textures and colors, you are guaranteed to find the perfect slab for you. Although textured or decorative slabs are great elsewhere, slabs that will form the base for a shed should be as flat as possible. Be careful when lifting heavy slabs that you do not damage your back -- remember to always lift with the knees.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden stakes
  • String
  • Rubber mallet
  • Shovel
  • Gravel
  • Saw
  • Water
  • Spirit Level
  • Coarse sand
  • 2-by-4 lumber
  • Broom
  • Wooden block
  • Hammer the stakes into the ground to define the corners of your paved area. Stretch string between the stakes to indicate the edges. Remember to leave yourself adequate working space around the perimeter of your paved area.

  • Dig the ground to a depth of 6 inches with your shovel. Use the lengths of 2-by-4 to support the sides while you work. You may need to cut these to length with a saw first.

  • Make sure the bottom of the excavation is level by using your spirit level in random places.

  • Spread and level a layer of gravel over the area to a depth of three inches, followed by a one-inch layer of coarse sand. Make sure it is level by checking the area with your spirit level.

  • Lay your first slab, start at one corner and work outwards. Tap each slab into place with a hammer on a wooden block. If you are laying a pattern you should avoid tapping any slabs until you've put all slabs in place, to make sure it works.

  • Pile sand on your finished patio areas, and sweep into the joints between the slabs using a broom. Use water to compact the sand - you may need to repeat this process until the joints are flush with the slabs.

  • Avoid walking on or using your area for 48 hours until it has settled.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never strike the slab directly with the hammer, as this could crack them.

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  • Photo Credit Hiroshi Watanabe/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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