All you need to know about the costs associated with laying a patio including materials, labour and time frames.
This article is all about having a garden patio installed including 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.
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.
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 until 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! Depending on what you choose for the material of your patio, the cost can increase significantly. As such, asking how much a patio will cost is a difficult question to answer. An easier question is the cost to lay a patio as this usually depends on just a couple of factors; your location, and the size of your patio. Obviously other factors can play a part such as whether or not you choose a large company to carry out the work or a small company. Similarly, the current condition of the patio area can be a cost factor.
If you want to remove an old patio first before laying a new patio, then you will need to consider the cost of the additional labour as well as the cost of a skip. Removing an old patio is a fairly simple job that can be done yourself, just remember to follow best practises when lifting heavy slabs. The cost of having a tradesman remove your old patio will depend on the size of the patio and the type of material you've chosen. If it's a concrete patio then it will take some serious labour to break it up and remove it all, whereas if it's paving slabs then it's a much quicker job.
The cost of repairing a patio tends to be significantly lower than the cost of replacing one. However this will depend greatly on the scale of repair work required. If a few paving slabs/bricks need replacing and the whole area repointing then the costs tend to be fairly low, with no more than a days worth of labour (roughly £200) for materials (roughly £50).
The material you choose will really depend on your own personal preferences as well as your budget. A concrete patio probably wins the race in terms of longevity but most would say it loses the race in terms of appearance. Paving slabs tend to be the cheapest and can last pretty much forever if maintained, but they also don't have the greatest visual appeal. Block paving tends to be used mostly for driveways but can also be used for patios. However, the smaller the material you choose, the longer it takes to lay. Similarly, the more ununsual the shape you choose, the longer it takes to lay as the labourer may not have as much experience in laying patios from non-uniform materials.
The average price 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|
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