Our Gardening guru Charlie Albone shares his expert advice on how to lay random paving in your backyard.
There are many hard surface options to choose from but I like crazy paving – it’s also called random paving.
It’s a bit like putting a jigsaw together and it looks great.
Here's how to do it!
1. Crazy paving is usually laid on a hard surface like concrete, but you can lay it on a soft, level surface.
You can put it over a compacted road base and use a 40 to 50 mm thick stone, but the thickness of stone will depend on the amount and weight of traffic your paved area will endure.
2. Spread the road base in your marked out area and use a plate compactor to press it down.
If you’re laying paving next to a property make sure it slopes away from the exterior wall.
If you want to take extra precautions against rainwater flooding back into the house, install a strip drain.
3. Lay the paving on the road base, checking how it looks, and filling in any large gaps with trimmed or smaller bits of stone.
4. Next comes the mortar. This holds the stones in place and is a 3 to 1 mix of sand and cement.
The cement is what makes the motor set – the sand gives it some flexibility.
5. Put some of the mix under each stone in turn then level each piece.
You can use a wet mix of 3 to 1 sand and cement for the pointing of the crazy paving. But in this instance, I’ve used a dry mix and brushed it into the gaps.
Because it’s going to rain there’ll be enough moisture to set it, so I don’t need a wet mix.
6. Finally sponge any excess from the flags with clean water, remembering to change it frequently.
Crazy paving has a natural random feel to it, which gives any flooring surface a more organic feel and, if you do the job properly, should last ages.