Laying a terrace

I am in the process of laying a terrace in my courtyard. I wondered if anyone could give me any advice. Do I need a layer of hardcore if it is on a very compacted surface of large gravel and small stones. When reading about this, there seems to be quite a lot of different advice about how much to use, what depth etc. I was also thinking of using a membrane to stop weeds, is this a good idea?

Hi Louise

Id lay some sharp sand /or cheapest they have ,get a level and lay a concrete slab ,If you lay on sand you will get weeds .Within the slab i would put some reinforcing .Let it go off seal it and lay flags on top .If the joints are going to be so close ,Get fine sand /cement dry mix and brush into cracks

Colin, thanks for your reply. The block pavers don't have a spacer moulded in to the edge as I think they are supposed to be laid very close together and have either sand or a dry mortar brushed in the cracks. I was thinking of using the method you suggest but was not sure if I need to dig down a bit and lay hardcore first. I believe there are some new types of weed control fabric which I must check out. Previously I used Geotextile in other areas, but find that the weeds like to grow on it.

Louise, re your terrace/ patio, you ought to have a slight fall on this away from the house. If absolutely flat and level water will puddle on it, ok It needs to run off.

I have looked at the picture now and it looks like block pavers, have they got a spacer moulded into the edge to give you a gap for pointing ? Block pavers are normally laid on sharp sand which is compacted, you can put a weed control fabric down first. Lay the pavers on the sand, when this is done spread and brush in to gaps a fine sand, dry if poss, then with a half sheet of plywood laid on top use a whacker plate and keep adding more fine sand.

How about grouting like you would with tile? This could be a problem if the surface of you paving is pourous though as they will accept the grout too.

They are going to be very close together, so just cracks for gaps.

Have a look at this or Google 'grout paving'

That's a good question, how wide will the gaps be?

Still using the sand for the blocks?

I think you should compact that area and lay some concrete to act as a base for your paving.

I am not sure if I have uploaded the photo correctly!

Here is the photo

The surface is compacted stones, debris and earth, as it was a farm courtyard, but is not level. I was thinking of loosening it with a pick, levelling it and compacting it with a plaque vibrante. Here is a photo - it looks sandy because I removed the blocks and shovelled out the sand.

If the surface is already compacted hardcore and it's thick enough that it is stable you might not need to, assuming it's already fairly level? Do you have a photo of the area?

They are pavés 12cm x 12cm and 6cm thick. They were already laid but very quickly as we were waiting to be put on main drainage and knew they would all have to be taken up for this. Now we are on main drainage and the pipes have been laid, I want to lay them correctly, ie level. I am also not sure if I should brush sand between them when finished or a mixture of sand and cement as a sort of dry mortar, which I have read about, however we did try this for some tiles in the barn and it was not a success.


What do you intend to have as your finished surface?