Laying Paving Stones – Instructions For All Types Of Stone

Laying Paving Stones – Instructions For All Types Of Stone

Paving stones are laid in many different places outdoors, for example as a floor covering for the terrace or to expand the yard. You can easily do the work yourself, saving the cost of hiring a specialist company. We will show you which work steps you have to carry out and what costs you will incur as a result.

Paved surfaces are suitable for the realization of a terrace, a courtyard or a path. They are easy to maintain because, unlike a lawn, you don’t have to mow the lawn. At the same time you create a well-groomed and attractive-looking outdoor area. Patterns that you put through the stones are particularly striking. There a no limits to imagination. The standard types of laying include the row bond, the diagonal bond and the arch pavement. Further variations are possible through the coloring of the individual stones.

Lay paving stones

The materials:

  • cobblestones
  • Fine gravel mixture or sand mixture
  • guideline
  • rubber mallet
  • long wooden board
  • broom
  • water
  • quartz sand

1. The laying plan

The first thing you need to do is draw up a layout plan. The drawing provides you with instructions on how to arrange the stones later. It is a necessary help and also allows you to see before you start working whether the pattern corresponds to your ideas.  

Tip: Some paving stone dealers offer to transfer hand-made sketches into a laying pattern with the help of a computer for a fee.

In the plan, you must pay attention to whether you are using different materials or whether all building materials have the same properties. Slabs are often combined with stones, but this leads to different heights. In this case, the underground must have the corresponding heights.

2. Put on the bedding

The underground

The foundation for the paving is the subsoil. It is sometimes exposed to high loads and must be put on solidly. The planned use is decisive for the design of the underground. If it is a garage entrance then you need to consider that the path must be suitable for the weight of the vehicles plus any possible loads. If, on the other hand, it is a terrace, the load is much lower. Below you will find an overview of how to create the background for the various possible uses:

garage entrance:

  • Stone height 8 to 10 centimeters
  • 5 centimeters fine chippings (grain size: 2 to 8 millimeters)
  • 20 to 25 centimeters of gravel (10 to 45 millimeters grain size)

Terrace/paths in the garden/yard without car entrance:

  • Stone height 8 to 10 centimeters
  • 5 centimeters fine chippings (grain size: 2 to 8 millimeters)
  • 10 to 15 centimeters of gravel (10 to 45 millimeters grain size)

The bedding can consist of fine split or sand (unbound construction method). You can also mix washed sand and conventional cement together (bonded construction). The mixing ratio should be 3:1. Apply the mixture loosely to the area. The thickness must be between 3 and 8 centimeters. Now smooth the resulting surface and make sure that there are no disturbing elements in the structure. It is important that the surface is level. Smooth the surface with a thick board and make sure it is level.

What is the difference between unbound and bound construction?

1. The unbound construction is part of the traditional approach and is still standard today. They lay the stones on a bed of sand or grit. The joints are made of the same material as the substrate. One of the key properties of this design is its elasticity. Elastic deformation occurs under load. Temperature stresses also lead to deformations. Another advantage is the water permeability. A disadvantage is the fact that in heavy rain the sand can be washed out of the joints. This can cause the stones to wobble over time.

Unbound construction

2. The bonded construction works with a pavement bed made of cement mortar. There is little stretch, but it is not completely eliminated. If the applied force is higher than the material-specific elongation at break allows, cracks can form and individual stones can detach.

Bound construction

Tip: Reaction resin joint mortar creates an open-pored structure. It reduces the risk of frost damage. At the same time you prevent cracks.

3. The paving

Start paving at the front of the house or another straight edge. This gives you stability and confidence in forming a straight line. You can work on smaller areas in one piece. For larger areas, you can make a subdivision and pave areas of 2 mx 2 m, for example. To do this, stretch out guide lines at right angles so that you can orientate yourself on the lines and do not get skewed.

  • Build in expansion joints on the sides. The joints should have a width of 4 millimeters. If there are other fixtures in the courtyard or terrace, then expansion joints must also be planned for here.
  • Lay the first row along the wall or along the guideline. Use the spirit level to check for proper alignment.
  • The joints must remain free of sand at this point.
  • A joint spacing of 3 to 5 millimeters remains between the paving stones.
  • Once you have laid a few rows, fill in the joints with crushed sand.
  • Use the spirit level to check from time to time whether all the stones have been laid correctly. Small irregularities at the beginning progress and worsen.
  • It is best to work in pairs to pave the terrace quickly and precisely.

How can I create patterns when laying?

There are two different ways of creating a pattern when laying. On the one hand, you can use different stone types or stone sizes. However, this approach requires good planning and increased effort. It is easier to use different stone colors. Lay the stones in straight lines and vary the color of the stones. If you want to create simple patterns, you can separate individual areas for this. Make a drawing for a pattern, which later has the size 1 mx 1 m in the original. Implement the pattern for the corresponding areas and thereby add several similar patterns next to each other.

4. The grouting

After you have laid the paving, you must ensure that the surface is straight and level. Use a squeegee to clean the patch. Many other machines would cause damage to the stones. Now you can use natural stone grit or washed coarse sand to muddy the surface. If you put the grains in the joints before shaking, the movement would bring them back to the surface. The vibrating plate would break up the grains into fine particles that would damage the stones.

The joints between the stones must be closed by grouting. It is best to use quartz sand for this, as this is particularly easy to insert into the joints. On average, you need around 12 bags of sand for 100 square meters of surface. Sweep the sand into the joints with a broom. Now you have to wet the sand. Use a garden hose or a watering bucket to keep it moist. You can sweep away the remaining sand on the surface.

border design

1. Fastening with kerbstones
2. Fresh concrete support and allowing the surface to run out

  • Place the support about 2 centimeters below the top edge of the plaster
  • Add turf or mulch to the fresh concrete support


In which direction should I orient the terrace?

Choosing the right place for the terrace is very important. If you have creative freedom in this regard, you will benefit from careful planning after completion. The alignment is responsible, among other things, for the use of the warm rays of the sun and for the creation of shadows. Face the terrace to the east and enjoy the rising sun in the morning. In the afternoon the terrace is in the shade, which is an advantage especially on hot summer days. A disadvantage is the fact that there is also shade in the evening, where some sunshine might have been desired for a cozy barbecue evening. If the terrace faces west, you can watch the sun go down in the evening and spend the late afternoon in the sunshine.


How can I save drainage fees?

If you pay attention to a few points during construction, you can save on drainage fees:

1st point: There must be no gradient to public areas.
2nd point: There must be no sewer connection or sewer drain within the areas.
3rd point: There must be no other introduction into the public network.

Please note, however, that the exact regulations depend on regional laws and regulations and must be clarified with the responsible authorities.

What are the costs of paving?

The exact costs vary greatly and depend primarily on the prices of the stones chosen. Below is a sample calculation for paving a patio.

The terrace has a size of 50 m²:

  • Terrace stones: 30 euros per square meter, so in this case 50 x 30 euros = 1,500 euros
  • Split for the underground: 3 euros per square meter, i.e. 50 x 3 euros = 150 euros
  • Terrace edging (boards/ 15 euros each): 180 euros
  • Sand: 7 euros per bag, resulting in a cost of 6 x 7 euros = 42 euros

This results in costs of 1,872 euros for an area of ​​50 square meters .

Different types of stone

What are the special features of the different types of stone?

Cobblestones: Cobblestones look particularly loose and are considered environmentally friendly. It is fouling-friendly and optimizes rain seepage. Most stones are irregularly shaped, so you need to plan for a wide joint space. In addition, it is crucial to pay attention to a certain uniformity and to select the right stones for the respective location. Depending on the condition, wet cobblestones can be very slippery. It is a repair-friendly surface, since individual stones can be replaced relatively easily.

Natural stone paving:  Natural stone paving is laid with a wide joint spacing. They are beneficial in terms of rainwater infiltration. However, roots can penetrate and it is a breathable substrate. This increases the growth of weeds and the effort involved in maintenance is greater.

Granite Paving: Granite paving stones are available in different sizes and colors. They create a particularly natural appearance.

granite pavement

Concrete paving: Concrete paving stones are often cheaper than natural stones. They also have a uniform shape, which leads to increased symmetry or regularity. No-fines concrete blocks are permeable to water, so rain can seep into the ground. However, the compressive strength is lower than that of conventional concrete pavers.

concrete pavement

Should I lay the paving stones myself or hire a specialist company?

You can easily lay the paving stones yourself. You save on labor costs for the company and you can design the terrace, yard or path exactly as you want. With two people, the work progresses quickly and is child’s play. The only real danger is that you will not level the surface, which is easy to do by regularly checking with a spirit level.

Tips for speed readers

  • bound construction or unbound construction
  • Ground made of split or cement mixture
  • Lay the paving stones in pairs
  • start on the wall of the house
  • Attach guide lines at right angles
  • always check with a spirit level
  • joint
  • After a few rows, fill the joints with sand
  • grouting joints
  • Align the terrace with the sun