More in Outdoors
Dry lay the slabs, starting from a corner and working down the edges for a straight design. Remember to allow for mortar joints. Here a brick bond pattern is being laid (image 1). Cut any slabs necessary for the design using a stone saw or angle grinder (image 2). Dry lay them to check you have a good fit.
Lay a bed of mortar for the first slab 3/4" to 11/4" deep (image 1). Insert spacers made from offcuts between slab and edging to keep pointing consistent. Lay the second slab. Insert spacers between the first and second slab (image 2). Continue laying slabs according to your design. Lay a level across the slabs to check the position and maintain the slope away from the house (image 3). Lay the rest of the slabs, adjusting the amount of mortar where necessary to maintain an even surface (image 4).
Once the patio is complete, it should not be walked on for at least 24 hours while the mortar sets. If rain or frost is forecast, cover the area with plastic sheeting held down with spare slabs or bricks. Once the base mortar has set, press more mortar into the joints between slabs using a pointing trowel (image 1). Remove excess mortar from the slab surfaces as you progress.
Smooth the mortar along the joints using a brick jointer (image 2) or leave flush according to personal preference. Flush joints will drain better. Clean the pointing mortar with a clean paintbrush (image 3).