How to build a patio

A patio makes a useful and pretty sitting or dining area in any garden, read our guide to learn how easy it can be to build one.


  • String; wooden pegs; spade; rammer or wooden post; spirit level; heavy post or vibrating plate compacter; straightedge board or plank of timber; spacers; brush; hammer or board and mallet; trowel.
  • Suitable paving materials; hardcore or crushed stone; dry sand; mortar.
Building instructions

1. Roughly mark out the patio area and clear it. Dig out the soil to a depth of about 150mm, then compact the base with a post or rammer. Measure and mark again, more accurately, using a string line and wooden pegs. Use a spirit level and pegs to establish the final level of the patio surface, ensuring it has a drainage slope.

2. Cover the excavated area with 100mm of hardcore or crushed stone, spreading it evenly until the surface is level.

3. Compact the hardcore with a vibrating plate compacter (which can be hired). For awkward corners, or a small area, use a heavy post to ram down the hardcore. Once this layer has been well firmed, cover it with about 80mm of dry sand. Use a board or plank with a straightedge to level and compact it.

4. Starting at a corner, set out bricks around the edge od the patio in a stacking or soldier bond using a straight-edged plank to use as a guide. Insert spacers to keep the gaps even.

5. Bed the bricks onto a damp mortar mix (or a bed of sand) and use a spirit level to check them. Place the bricks into the mortar or sand, using a board and mallet or a hammer, until they are all level.

6. Bed the paving slabs. Spread more sand topped with dry mortar mix so that the slabs will be level with the surface of the bricks. Keep on checking the levels.

7. Sprinkle a dry mortar mix or sand over the bricks and slabs and brush it into the spaces between them. It will give a firmer finish and discourage weeds in the gaps. Make sure you fill the gaps completely.

8. When you have completed the whole area, brush off the excess sand or mortar. Allow the surface to settle for a day or 2 before walking on it.