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How much does it cost to pave a garden?

Paving an area of garden is normally costed at a per square metre rate and the charges will include the price of the paving and all the installation and preparatory work which is why it might seem expensive compared to the price you see for similar paving slabs in your local garden centre. The square metre price will include the cost of excavating the site, laying the foundations, the purchase of the paving slabs and then the installation. The budget end of the market starts at around £15 per square metre and at the top end expect to pay £50-£60 per square metre for premium slabs.

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What other factors can affect the cost?

If you are hiring a contractor to pave an area of your garden then their quotation should include the main price for preparing the site and installing the slabs and making good. The factors which can affect the final bill include:-

  • The size of the area to be paved
  • The choice of paving material
  • Any significant landscaping or preparatory works which need to be done to the garden first over and above the usual landscape clearance and digging down
  • Charges for debris or waste disposal which could include soil and shrubs from the site or even old paving which you are having removed and replaced

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What is involved in paving a garden?

The first job is to dig down to a depth of about 150mm and then lay a hardcore base to around 100mm and top off with 30mm of sand or grit. If there is an existing patio or paving already in place then this will need to be taken up and the ground prepared. The chosen paving slabs are then bedded into the sand/cement mixture and all the joints and gaps between the slabs filled before the final finishing work. Some people also like to add a sealant at this point as an extra layer of protection and weatherproofing.

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Why do people pave their gardens?

There are lots of reasons why people pave their gardens but one of the most common is the desire to reduce maintenance associated with actual gardening, most commonly caring for lawns and flower beds. Paved areas require little attention once they have been installed and can provide lots of different options, here are some of the advantages of paving compared to grass or conventional garden:-

  • Paved areas provide a year-round seating area next to the house for relaxation, socialising and outdoor dining
  • You can increase car parking space at the front of the property
  • Paving slabs are long-lasting and almost entirely maintenance-free
  • They are reasonably easy to repair if you do have issues with some of the slabs
  • Paving is available in a huge range of materials and colour choices offering endless potential for different designs and styling

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are there are disadvantage or drawbacks to paving part or all of a garden?

If you buy lower end paving slabs then the quality is not so good and they can be fragile. A paved patio or area is one of the most expensive ways to lose garden and introduce hard standing, there are cheaper options like natural stone or gravel.

Is there a minimum depth required to support heavier vehicles like caravans and small horseboxes?

Generally, paving slabs which are under 50mm will not be suitable for driveways as there is not enough stone composition within the slabs to bear the weight of vehicles. If you are paving for a driveway rather than people traffic in the garden then you will also need deeper foundations as well as thicker paving slabs.

Can I get different coloured joint compounds to match or contrast with the paving slabs?

Yes, there are products available which come in different colour choices and which you can use to complement or highlight your choice of paving slabs.

Will the colour of the paving slabs fade over time?

Sunlight and weathering will alter and slightly fade the colour of your paving slabs but the degree of fade is usually dictated by the quality and cost of the paving product. Concrete slabs are given artificial colours and they do lose these more quickly than natural pavers. Vitrified paving will fade much less over the months and years and also do not absorb moisture so are far less likely to develop moss and algae. Always make sure you order a sufficient quantity of paving slabs before you start the job as colours can vary across different batches. Order some extra slabs as spares so if you do have one crack or break then you can replace it with a slab from the same batch.

How soon before I can walk on newly laid patio slabs?

The usual rule is to wait 24 hours before you walk on newly laid patio slabs, longer if the weather is wet.

Can you pave straight on top of old paving slabs without removing them first?

For best results, this is not recommended and the new slabs should be laid on a perfectly prepared base. It can affect any guarantee if you do not do this and most professional companies will always recommend clearing the site properly first. Ground preparation is the key to a superior and long-lasting finish.

How long does it take to pave a patio or driveway?

On average it takes around three to four days unless the area is very big or there are specific issues to work around during installation.

What are the things I should look for when choosing a paving slab?

The key things to look out for are strength to avoid chipping and cracking, water absorption and the abrasion index which essentially means the resistance of the slab to surface damage so its durability.

Is paving work for my garden offered with a guarantee?

Most garden contractors and paving companies will offer a guarantee with their work providing they can do all of the installation from start to finish. These guarantees typically range from five to ten years in length.

For more information on planning permission and paving, please see these articles from and Planning Portal.

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