If you’ve ever wanted to sit in the garden on a warm day and enjoy the sun’s rays without having to walk across damp, dirty or muddy grass, then you’ve probably longed for a patio area. Laying down slabs to create an outdoor living space is relatively simple, and extends your home into the garden. Whether this is a solitude retreat or a place to party is up to you. But having a patio is a great feature that offers a multitude of functions.
Though you might initially think laying your own patio is way above your skill level, it’s not actually that hard, especially if you don’t mind a bit of hard graft. You could, of course, get in the builders to do it for you. If you head to Quotatis you’ll be able to find professionals who’ve been laying slabs for years. However, if you want to keep patio costs down, you can do as much or little of the project stages yourself.
Keep it Simple
Fussy, large or weirdly shaped patio designs will not only be trickier to build, but more expensive too, regardless of whether you’re doing it yourself or getting a contractor in. If possible, keep paving slabs, also known as flagging, to a square shape and avoid circles and rectangles. Laying them in a conventional, box pattern is easiest and cheapest, though if you’re hiring a landscape gardener, you might want to try something a little more interesting.
Use a Budget Slab and Measure Carefully
How often will you use your patio, and will you really notice the paving after several months?
These are two questions you need to ask yourself when buying your paving. A budget square flag can cost as little as £12 per square metre, but prices go up to £32 per square metre for a premium product. If you’re not going to be outside a lot or don’t think you’ll notice the paving once you’ve popped out your patio table and chairs, then paying for a cheaper flagstone might be a good idea.
It’s also essential to measure the area correctly and buy the correct number of tiles. This is particularly important if you’re going for a premium product because you don’t want to end up paying for a pile of slabs you don’t need. If you’re hiring a builder, ask them to come in and measure for you.
Excavate the Patio Area
If you’re trying to keep the costs down and don’t mind doing a little grunt work, then you can dig out the patio yourself. This is extremely simple. Remove any top soil, plants and lawn from the desired area and simply excavate to a depth of approximately 15cm. All the waste materials can be thrown onto a compost heap or disposed of.
Get Rid of the Waste Yourself
Most contractors will include disposing of garden waste in their quote. Both excavating the area and getting rid of soil, plants and any stone debris can be labour intensive and time consuming. As a result, it can push up costs considerably. If you’re happy to hire your own skip or ferry material back and forth to the local tip, you can save quite a bit of cash, especially if access to your build site is a little tricky.
Avoid Expensive Accessories
Every tiny accessory you add to your patio will increase the price. For example, the type of pointing you choose will affect the budget. The simplest type is an easy brush-in pointing that fills the cracks between the paving slabs. However, ridge pointing provides a better finish, but it’s more labour intensive and, therefore, expensive to do.
Likewise, any additional balustrades, edging, or retaining walls will push prices up, not only for the materials but the extra time they take to install.
DIY vs. Landscape Gardeners
If you’re keen to try patio laying yourself, then you could save a lot of money. Labour is one of the most expensive parts of any patio quote, and you’ll get this for free if you’re willing to do the work. You will, however, need to hire tools, such as a whacker plate to compact the hardcore, and to buy all the materials, including the paving, aggregates, mortar etc. This isn’t that expensive, but all the little extras add up.
Alternatively, you can hire a contractor to do the work for you. Patio prices vary depending on the shape, size and whether you’ve already begun to excavate.
On average, a 25m² area should cost between £1,500 and £2,400 outside of London, and up to £2,600 in the capital. This includes all excavation, laying the foundations, paving and pointing, as well as removing waste from the site.
However, you need to consider that poor access, additional excavation or a different paving or pointing will increase costs further.
Having a new patio installed is always going to require a few hundred pounds at a minimum. However, by doing as much of the work yourself, if not the entire project, you can keep costs down.