The Cost to Supply & Lay a Patio

All you need to know about the costs associated with laying a patio including materials, labour and time frames.

Lay Patio

What the job entails

This article is all about the garden patio, why choose one and how much it will likely cost you! So exactly how much work is even involved in laying a patio? Well, it's one of the bigger landscape gardening jobs, even for a relatively small patio area of 25 square metres. To start with you need to dig out to a depth of approximately 150mm then lay a hard-core base of 100mm and top off with 30mm of sand or grit. Then you need to bed slabs into base using sand/cement mixture and fill all the joints. It certainly can be done as a DIY project but it is a lot of work!

Like many projects, the secret to a successful patio lies in the preparation work. Just as walls require sound foundations, hard surfaces such as patios require a firm base. The foundation depth and type depends on whether the area is to be used just for walking on, or whether for vehicle driving or parking. Other considerations include adequate drainage. Privacy is a key concern when planning a patio area, as both you and your neighbours will probably prefer not to be overlooked when relaxing in your new patio. The exposure of a seating area is also important, South or West facing patios will receive the most sun during the day and the early evening. The pattern chosen for laying slabs or tiles is a personal choice and there are many types of slab design to choose from. There are also cut or curved slabs to create amazing and alternative designs to make your patio look truly unique.

You will need some drainage around the edge of any large hard-landscaped areas unless using a porous or permeable material. Standing water near the house can soak into walls and will also lead to algae and vegetation growth on patio slabs making the surface slippery and dangerous. If slabs have been bedded onto sand, some water will drain down through joints and into the subsoil below which reduces the risk of standing water. But always lay patios with a very slight slope running away from adjacent walls (1 inch in 6 feet is sufficient), by simply reducing the amount of mortar or sand under the slabs as you move away from the house. For larger hard landscaping areas, you should establish the correct slope in the actual foundations.

With regard to the paving slabs you buy for patios, you get what you pay for. It is possible to buy cheap concrete slabs on the cheap with special deals online, but generally the quality is usually very poor. Poor quality slabs usually have lots of air bubbles in them and when water gets into these air pockets and freezes, the ice expands and forms tiny little cracks, which in turn fill with water and this process continues the paving stone literally falls to pieces! In general, higher quality slabs which are more expensive, will have less air bubbles in them and will last a lot longer, while looking a lot better!

A hard-core bed is not usually required for a patio, unless the ground is very damp and boggy or the patio will also be used for vehicle parking. Patios are built with a slight fall that lets any surface water drain away. But sometimes, it might not be enough simply to let the water drain onto a lawn, especially if you have a large paved surface. In these cases, you may need to build a drainage channel to direct the surface water to an existing surface water drain or into a soakaway.

The Cost To Lay a Patio

The average cost of laying patio in a 20 square metre area is typically around £1800. This price includes the cost to excavate the area, lay the foundations, buying the patio slabs and laying them. Budget paving slabs costing around £15 per square metre whilst premium patio slabs can range from £30-£60 per square metre and will obviously impact the price significantly.

A standard landscape gardener will often charge £100-£150 per day and will usually work with a general labourer bringing the daily cost up to around £200-£250. Depending upon the size of the job and the complexity of the excavation work, the job on average should take 3-5 days to complete.

Below are some estimated costs of hiring a landscape gardener to build a patio:

Area Size Slab Cost (Square Metre) Avg. Cost Duration
20 Square Metres £15 £1500 3-4 days
20 Square Metres £30 £1800 3-4 days
20 Square Metres £50 £2200 3-4 days
40 Square Metres £15 £2750 6-7 days
40 Square Metres £30 £3300 6-7 days
40 Square Metres £50 £4000 6-7 days


Cost Breakdown

Individual costs for laying a 20 square metre patio including supplying slabs (£30/sq m), excavating turf, laying hardcore, laying slabs and brush-in pointing - Total Cost: £1800

50%

Materials
£900

45%

Tradesmen
£810

5%

Waste Removal
£90

FAQ's

Assuming a 25 square metre area and just excavating existing turf with no access issues or special requirements. Expect to pay in the region of £1800 (including the patio slabs/tiles but excluding VAT). Extra features such as edgings, retaining walls, fancy patterns made from slabs, are not included in the price. The price also assumes simple brush in pointing, where the sand/cement mixture is brushed into the joints and then water is poured over the patio in order to set the mixture.

Ridge pointing or any other type of pointing that requires extra time or skill is not included in the estimated cost either. Though if you are considering a premium patio slab then you may want to budget for the additional time required for ridge pointing as it does look alot better. It is also assumed that the patio area is for foot traffic only, if you are planning on parking a vehicle on the patio or adding a hot tub then the cost will increase as sturdier foundations will be required. Other factors which can increase the cost include access or drainage issues, plus if the garden has an old patio/driveway that needs to be removed first.
There are no restrictions on the area of land which you can cover with hard surfaces at, or near, ground level around your home, with the exception of paving over your front garden, as long as the total area is no more than 5 metres or the hard surface is made of porous materials. You can even build larger patio areas or driveways using non-porous materials as long as the drainage issues are addressed. However, if any embanking or terracing works are needed to support the patio that might well need a planning application.

Obviously if you live in a listed building, then you will need listed building consent for almost any works whether internal or external, including a patio. But bear in mind that if you intend to provide any electrical lighting to the patio area, then a Building Regulations application is required for the electrical work under Part P regulations. When it comes to any planning permission or building regulation issues, if in any doubt, always check with the relevant authorities. In fact, even if you are reasonable sure there are no permissions or applications required, just check anyway, it costs nothing and can save a lot of potential hassles.