Slate Patio

A Simple Guide to Building a Slate Patio

There’s nothing better than relaxing out in your garden on a sunny day, but what can make this even more enjoyable is if you’re kicking back on top of a slate patio. With its eye-catching slate panels, this type of patio makes for a bold statement on your garden’s character.

Any type of patio, though, conjures up images of lugging the materials around to a point where your back feels like it’s going to snap in half, so many people forget the idea. Or pay over the odds to get someone else to install it for them.

However, as long as you know what you’re doing you won’t risk ending up in the emergency room. In fact, all you risk is having a fantastic area to celebrate family life. And, of course, a slate patio is the perfect accompaniment for summer drinks.

To help your garden achieve all this, we’re going to go through a quick guide on building a slate patio.

patio location1. Location, Location, Location!

The first thing you need to do is locate an area in the garden which is fairly flat. Sure, you can bust out the spirit level, but this is a little over the top. Just make sure there are no inclines, declines, dips or bumps and it should make for a suitable area.

The ideal location, naturally, is to position it where your house meets your garden as this allows easy transport of food etc when it’s being used. However, it’s not essential, so any location should be okay, but remember to bear the size in mind.

Most patios range from 10 feet by 8 feet up to 18 feet by 16 feet, so make sure you can find a location which satisfies this and allows you to accommodate guests.

prepare patio2. Preparing the Area

With your location in place, you can begin preparing the area for building a slate patio. Use wooden stakes to mark the perimeter of your patio and use strings to create a barrier. The next step is to use a spade to loosen the soil around the perimeter to a depth of around 4 inches.

You now need to start working up a sweat and getting your hands dirty, so, using your spade, excavate downwards for 4 inches and dispose of the dirt. After this is complete you need to lay a landscaper’s fabric in the hole, but make sure you moisten the soil first and pack the fabric in tightly to ensure it’s secure.

It’s then time to get to work laying the foundations of your patio and the best material for this is 2 by 4 pieces of lumber cut to the correct length for your excavated area. Again, you need to make sure that this is packed in tightly to provide a solid base, so make sure the lumber is cut correctly.

To complete the preparation, dig around 2 inches of soil from around the perimeter and then fill this, along with the entire excavated area, full of sand. Smooth this down with a large plank of wood to retain the a flat surface.

prepare patio3. Laying the Slate

Now comes the fun part, laying the slate! Start in any one corner and then work your way outwards ensuring that the gaps between the slates do not get too wide. To ensure that the slates are seated properly, you’ll need to use a rubber mallet, but make sure that the slates are all level or you’ll have a potential trip hazard on your hands.

So, your slate is all laid, but what about the gaps in between the slates?

Well, the best way to make this more attractive (and safe) is to use decorative stones which can be gently poured into the gaps and then firmly seated. There will be some overspill, obviously, but try to keep this to a minimum to reduce damage to the slates.

And, once this is done, set up a table and chairs to enjoy your handiwork!

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