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Paving the way

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Paving the way

by Paula Wallace

Like any home construction job, planning is the key to success. Paving an outdoor area provides a clean, stylish finish to large ground space or feature area within a garden.

You can also make a small landscape look bigger by creating level changes and enhancing them with paving, or use bigger pavers in smaller spaces to give the impression of more space.

The first task is to plan the area of your paving so you can accurately estimate the number of bricks and materials required.

Then multiply the length by the width to get your surface area. There are about 40 standard bricks or pavers to the square metre.

Clay pavers come in various sizes but the 230mm x 115mm x 50mm is probably the most useful as the width is exactly half the length.

Terracotta tiles come in brick and square shapes and up to 400mm x 400mm square. You could actually use any number of varieties including house bricks, clay pavers, concrete blocks (which can imitate sandstone, limestone or terracotta), slate, timber, cut or split stone (limestone, granite and sandstone), ceramic or terracotta tiles. Generally, pavers are laid upon a sand base, while tiles and natural stone are laid on a concrete base.

Normal foot traffic will require 50mm thick pavers while vehicle driveways will need a minimum of 100mm. They range in price from about $27 per square metre for the brick shape to approximately $60 for 300mm squares. You can obtain additional shapes such as cobblestone, hexagonal and interlocking pavers.

If there is water at the paving site you will need to install appropriate drainage, and if the paving will butt against the house then your design should use a gentle slope away from the dwelling to convey rainwater.

You do not have to lay bricks in straight lines. Vastly different ‘looks’ can be achieved with a circular pattern, a ‘basket weave’ or ‘checker board’ pattern. Laying pavers in a herringbone pattern can provide greater strength for driveway surfaces. Your local paving supplier should be able to supply a list of patterns and design instructions.

Tip: To break up a large tracts of paving, plant some mondo grass or small border plants around the pavers.

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