If you’re looking for some tips on how to carry out a project in your garden, see our guides below on installing decking and fencing, laying a patio and more.
- Lay a patio
- Lay porcelain paving
- Lay artificial grass
- Lay block paving
- Lay permeable block paving
- Lay walling blocks
- Install fencing panels
- Install trellis
- Install timber gates
- Build a pergola
- Install composite decking and fencing
- Install sleepers
Take your time to research the different types of paving slabs and estimate quantities and costs. Allow 150mm below the damp course of your house then excavate approximately 200mm for the foundations, laying bed and slab thickness.
To prevent later movement of laid paving a good foundation is essential. 100mm deep of compacted scalpings (crushed limestone, pink in colour) or a lean concrete mix of ballast and cement mixed 6 parts ballast to 1 of cement is ideal.
Ensure a slight fall when laying to take surface water away from any buildings. We recommend laying paving on a full bed of mortar, mixed 6 parts sharp sand to 1 part cement at a damp and workable condition without being overly wet and runny. Push the slab down by hand to roughly the level required then gently tap into place using a rubber mallet ensuring the paving is level using a spirit level. Allow a gap of 10-15mm or whatever the manufacturer suggests for the type of paving you are using between each slab. Do not walk on the paving until the mortar has set.
Some slabs can be butted together and don’t need pointing. If they do, once the slabs are laid pointing ties the whole area together. The joints should be filled with a damp 3 to 1 mortar mix which should be trowelled between the slabs and firmed in. Take care not to stain the slabs when doing this. Smooth off using a pointing tool (a piece of firm hose would do). Alternatively use a jointing compound.
At the planning stage try and keep cutting to a minimum. If you need to cut slabs, powered disc cutters are available from local hire shops. Make sure you follow correct safety procedures and obtain instructions as these are potentially dangerous machines.
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For full details on laying method and additional products you may need, see our porcelain product guide.
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Artificial grass has the look and feel of natural grass with none of the watering, mowing or mud. Suitable for lawns, patios, balconies and play areas, it is a versatile and practical option and can be laid on hard (bound) or unbound surfaces:
Installing on a bound surface such as concrete, tarmac, macadam, asphalt
- Ensure surface is clean and free from debris
- A slight fall of 1:200 to assist drainage is preferred, otherwise a few drainage holes in the concrete are recommended
- If laying on top of paving slabs or decking it is recommended that an underlay is used to prevent the pattern of the slabs/decking from showing on the surface of the grass.
- Spot glue or lay loose and fix around the perimeter.
- For a wooden base it is best to staple.
Installing on unbound surfaces
If you are laying an artificial lawn from scratch we would highly recommend using a well-compacted unbound aggregate base. Any unbound surface that drains and is stable and fairly level is satisfactory.
- Remove soil to a depth of 100mm
- Compact and level the ground with a compactor plate or roller
- Option of fixing down weed membrane
- Lay sub-base, such as scalpings to a depth of 25-75mm, level and compact with a plate compactor or roller. If you choose a timber fixing for the edge of the grass, fit using tanalised timber and fixing spikes
- Add a thin layer of fine aggregate (such as sharp sand or 2-6mm limestone chippings) over the sub base and compact again
- Roll out the grass over the base and ensure the directional pile runs the same way if there are multiple pieces. Trim to size with a sharp knife and secure any joins
If you are trying to keep the cost down you can just compact existing soil and cover with a thin layer of compacted fine aggregate (sharp sand or 2-6mm limestone). However you must remove the existing lawn or unevenness will soon become an issue.
a) Sand filled grasses should be spread over the base and filled with the kiln dried sand and brushed in. The weight of the sand holds the carpet in position.
b) Products not requiring sand infill are fitted under tension and are fixed around the edgings by either;
- Butting up against an existing wall or kerb
- Fixing to a tanalised timber edge board
- Placing the edge of the grass under paving stones
- Burying the grass edge under adjacent natural turf
Making joins in larger installations
All cuts should be made with a sharp knife. Joins are made by sticking the underside of the artificial grass to a special seaming tape with the recommended adhesive. Adjacent panels of grass should be laid together ensuring straight cut edges are butted close together. All of the grasses have a directional pile so make sure that all panels are running in the same direction. The edges should then be folded back and the seaming tape laid, shiny side down, centrally along the joint. Apply beads of adhesive to the tape and spread out to create a solid thick line about 10mm wide. The carpets can then be folded back down and pressed into the adhesive.
Remove any debris, particularly leaves and pet droppings, otherwise they will compost into the surface and allow moss to grow. Sweep, or in dry conditions it can be vacuumed with a domestic appliance or leaf blower. Do not vacuum sand filled grasses! If moss does form, treat with a moss killer and sweep away. For best results use a stiff brush. Remove any weeds by hand or spot spray with weed-killer. Please note that artificial grass is a plastic material and can be subject to damage from heat sources such as barbeques and refracted rays from glass table tops.
Artificial grass can also get hot in extreme heat. Wearing appropriate footwear, spraying it with cool water and sitting on a light coloured blanket will help it to feel more comfortable.
Permeable driveway block paving offers all the benefits of block paving, with a permeable concrete which allows rain water to soak slowly into the ground and controls run-off. It needs to be laid slightly differently from other driveway blocks. See our supplier, Bradstone’s advice for laying permeable block paving.
Whether your garden walling is part of the structure of your landscaping project or a decorative finishing touch, walls of any height must be built on a solid foundation. See our supplier, Bradstone’s advice for laying walling blocks.
Putting up a new fence or replacing a fallen panel is straightforward job for anyone with basic DIY skills. Whether you are installing a small picket fence or six foot panels, constructing your fencing properly will keep it sturdy and strong during windy weather for years to come. Read more on how to install a fence.
If you’re looking to enhance your outdoor environment, trellis panels can add traditional style and interest on top of walls and fence panels. Installed correctly, they give both privacy and security to your home and garden. Read more on how to install trellis.
Timber gates for driveways and footpaths can provide an important security measure for protecting your home and garden, as well as giving access and privacy to outdoor spaces. If you are installing your own gate correctly, read up on how to install timber gates.
Whether you’re looking to create a shady spot in your garden, improve your privacy or a provide a good structure for climbing plants, pergolas add height and interest to any garden and can be great for reducing the glare of sunshine coming into your home. Read up on how to build a pergola.
Decking is a highly versatile option for creating outdoor dining and living areas. It can be constructed over uneven surfaces, making more of your existing space, either right by your back door, or in a sunny spot in the garden.
Composite decking and fencing have the added benefits of being long-lasting, recycled and easy to maintain.
- How to install SAiGE composite solid decking boards
- How to install SAiGE composite hollow decking boards
- How to install SAiGE composite fencing
Read our top tips on how to choose and lay garden sleepers