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How to Lay Slabs in the Garden: A Comprehensive Guide

Landscaping your garden with paving slabs can transform it into a functional and visually appealing outdoor space. Whether you want to create a patio, walkway, or sitting area, knowing how to lay slabs in the garden is essential for achieving a professional-looking result. At Viv Construct Group, we specialize in groundworks and offer expert tips to help you lay slabs in your garden efficiently and effectively. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process, from planning and preparation to laying the slabs and finishing touches.

Why Choose Paving Slabs for Your Garden?

Versatility and Aesthetics

Paving slabs come in a variety of materials, colors, and sizes, allowing you to create a design that complements your garden’s style. Whether you prefer natural stone, concrete, or porcelain, there’s a slab option to suit your taste.


When properly installed, paving slabs provide a durable and long-lasting surface. They can withstand heavy foot traffic, weather conditions, and the test of time, making them an excellent choice for garden paths and patios.

Low Maintenance

Paved areas are relatively easy to maintain. Regular sweeping, occasional power washing, and resealing (if necessary) can keep your slabs looking fresh and clean for years.

Planning and Preparation

Assess Your Space

Before you start laying slabs in your garden, assess the area where you want to install them. Measure the space to determine how many slabs you’ll need and consider any existing features, such as trees, fences, or flower beds, that you need to work around.

Choose Your Slabs

Select the type and style of paving slabs that best suit your garden’s aesthetic and functional needs. Consider factors such as color, texture, size, and material. Popular choices include:

  • Concrete Slabs: Affordable and versatile, available in various colors and finishes.
  • Natural Stone Slabs: Offer a timeless and elegant look, available in options like sandstone, limestone, and granite.
  • Porcelain Slabs: Durable, low maintenance, and available in a range of styles that mimic natural stone or wood.

Gather Your Tools and Materials

To lay slabs in the garden, you’ll need the following tools and materials:

  • Paving slabs
  • Tape measure
  • String and stakes
  • Shovel and spade
  • Rake
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Spirit level
  • Rubber mallet
  • Builders’ sand
  • Cement
  • Water
  • Trowel
  • Plate compactor or tamper

Step-by-Step Guide to Laying Slabs in the Garden

1. Prepare the Ground

Mark the Area

Use string and stakes to mark the perimeter of the area where you’ll lay the slabs. This helps you visualize the layout and ensures straight lines and right angles.

Excavate the Area

Excavate the marked area to a depth of about 150mm (6 inches) to allow space for the sub-base, bedding layer, and the thickness of the slabs. Remove any grass, roots, or debris.

Create a Sub-Base

A strong sub-base is crucial for preventing the slabs from shifting over time. Spread a layer of compacted hardcore or MOT Type 1 aggregate about 100mm (4 inches) thick. Use a plate compactor or tamper to compact the sub-base until it’s firm and level.

2. Lay the Bedding Layer

Mix the Bedding Mortar

Prepare a mortar mix using 4 parts sharp sand to 1 part cement, adding water gradually until you achieve a workable consistency. This mixture forms the bedding layer for your slabs.

Spread the Mortar

Spread the mortar mix over the compacted sub-base to a depth of about 30-40mm (1-1.5 inches). Use a trowel to ensure an even layer, and create a slightly sloped surface for drainage.

3. Lay the Slabs

Start at One Corner

Begin laying slabs at one corner of the area and work your way out. Place the first slab on the mortar bed and gently tap it down with a rubber mallet to ensure it’s firmly in place.

Check for Level

Use a spirit level to check that each slab is level both side-to-side and front-to-back. Adjust the mortar bed as necessary to achieve a level surface.

Continue Laying Slabs

Continue laying the remaining slabs, leaving a consistent gap (usually 10-15mm) between each slab for jointing. Regularly check for level and alignment as you go.

4. Jointing the Slabs

Mix the Jointing Mortar

Prepare a jointing mortar mix using 4 parts soft sand to 1 part cement. Add water gradually until you reach a workable consistency.

Fill the Joints

Use a trowel to fill the gaps between the slabs with the mortar mix. Press the mortar firmly into the joints to ensure a solid bond. Smooth the joints with a pointing tool for a neat finish.

5. Final Touches

Allow the Mortar to Set

Allow the mortar to set for at least 24 hours before walking on the slabs. Avoid heavy loads for a few days to ensure the mortar fully cures.

Clean the Slabs

Once the mortar has set, clean the surface of the slabs with a brush and water to remove any excess mortar or debris.

Seal the Slabs (Optional)

Sealing your paving slabs can help protect them from stains and weather damage. Choose a suitable sealant for your slab material and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.

Maintenance Tips for Your Paved Garden

Regular Cleaning

Sweep your paved area regularly to remove leaves, dirt, and debris. Periodically wash the slabs with water and a mild detergent to keep them looking clean and fresh.

Weed Control

Weeds can sometimes grow between the joints of your slabs. Use a weed killer or manually remove weeds to keep your paved area looking tidy.


If you’ve sealed your slabs, consider resealing them every few years to maintain their protective barrier. This can help prolong the lifespan of your paving.

Repairing Damaged Slabs

If a slab becomes damaged or loose, it’s important to address it promptly. Remove the damaged slab, re-lay a fresh mortar bed, and replace the slab to maintain the integrity of your paved area.

Laying slabs in your garden is a rewarding project that can enhance the functionality and beauty of your outdoor space. By following this comprehensive guide, you can achieve a professional-looking result that will stand the test of time. At Viv Construct Group, we specialize in groundworks and are here to assist you with all your landscaping needs. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you create the garden of your dreams.

Transform your garden with expertly laid slabs and enjoy a beautiful, functional outdoor space for years to come.