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Crazy Paving: A Complete Guide

Crazy Paving Patio with Seating Area

Add some interest with crazy paving; creating the perfect summer seating area.

What Is Crazy Paving?

Crazy Paving has a unique quality and is never the same due to the random nature of the stones used; if you’re the sort of person that likes to stand out from the crowd & you want your garden to reflect this, you’ve picked the right paving! Crazy paving can also be a great alternative if you’re on a budget because it can be cheaper than purchasing paving slabs – two birds with one stone (excuse the pun).

How to Measure Crazy Paving

Before you start measuring for your crazy paving it’s important to consider the type of garden that you have & where your paving will be placed. If you plan to place the stones in an area with a high traffic flow or around a lot of greenery such as trees & foliage it might be sensible to budget for a natural stone sealant too (this will save you from any problems or further costs in future!)

Once the preparation is out of the way & you’re settled on the design & layout you can begin measuring! You’ll need to measure the entire perimeter of the area where your Crazy paving will go. From these measurements you can then work out your area in square metres. Easy enough, right?

How to Lay Crazy Paving

Believe it or not it’s not quite as crazy as you’d think! The first thing to do when laying any sort of paving is to decide on your budget and have your measurements ready; these factors will help you pick out the best, most cost-effective materials to use for your gravel & mortar.

Creating A Guideline

It’s important to place guidelines down first; this might seem like a pointless task when you know where you want your Crazy paving to go but this simple step will ensure that you don’t venture outside of your planned area & also that all the stones will be aligned correctly without going over budget. This step is particularly important for Crazy Paving due to the unusual stone shapes; the aim is to have them fit perfectly together, almost like a jigsaw. The last thing you want to do is waste your time & money on a paving that doesn’t look right when finished.

Designating the Area

In order to create your guidelines all you need is a few wooden/metal spikes & a piece of string – how long is a piece of string? The length of string & number of spikes you will require will depend the on the size & shape of your design; at least 1 spike per corner is recommended. Grab your spikes and drive one into the ground in each corner of the proposed area then tie your string to each one until it creates a ‘barrier’ around your future paving. Sorted? Great, now it’s time to get digging.

Making Space for Your Paving

You will want your paving to be laid at ground level, but you will need to dig a little deeper (usually around 15cm) in order to make room for the gravel & mortar that will keep your Crazy paving in place for years to come. This might be the most tiring step but avoiding it could lead to an uneven paving so it’s important that you don’t.

Securing the Area

With your guidelines in place you now need to make them secure to create a strong hard-wearing pavement. Along the edge of your ‘barriered’ area place some wooden pegs at approximately 1m intervals (again, this may differ depending on the area you have to work with). Then use a drill to secure timber to these pegs.

Placing the Hardcore

By this point you’re probably already picturing your perfect pavement ready for next summer but don’t get too excited yet! With all the necessary preparations in place for your Crazy pavement you can begin to add the gravel to all your supported area. The gravel will take up approximately 10cm of height and can then be raked to create a more even surface. When you’re happy with your coverage of gravel you will need to take a sledgehammer & compress the gravel until you have a dense and solid ground for your mortar.

Placing your Crazy Paving

Before applying any mortar you’ll want to trial how your paving will look. You can do this by placing the stones on to the gravel in the desired places. This is often referred to as a ‘dry lay’ and will eliminate the risk of running out of stones or placing them in a way that won’t fit to your designated area; it will also ensure that the unusually shaped stones will suit your layout design. If you’re unsure about the gaps that you should leave between your stones then check out ‘how to point crazy paving’ at the bottom of this page. Once you’re happy with your placement and everything is fitting together nicely you can now remove the stones, put your mortar down and place the stones back in to place securely. You will then need to wait for the mortar to set, this information should be available on the bag of mortar. Try to keep in mind that you will want to keep some of this mortar aside for the finishing touches too.

Finishing Touches

Mortar all set? Starting to look more like what you pictured? Now all that’s left to be done is to place some of the leftover mortar in the gaps; this will complete your paving making it ready for the summer. You can now sit back & admire your work, you might even want to think about planning a BBQ so that you can show off your new garden.

How to Point Crazy Paving (aka what do you put between the slabs!?)

Due to the nature of Crazy paving and the odd shapes of the stones it can be difficult to know what to do when it comes to pointing. If DIY isn’t usually your thing then the first thing you need to know is that when mentioning ‘pointing’ this is referring to filing the joints of brickwork or masonry with mortar. Now that you know the basics of what you’re doing you’ll need to know your ‘pointing gap’ – for crazy paving it is recommended to have a minimum of 10 mm pointing gap. Some of the non-symmetrical pieces may require more pointing. Depending on what mortar you are using the application & setting ties may differ; it is best to follow the instructions (they can usually be found on the bag of mortar).

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