If you live in the UK, it’s nice to use your garden all year round, even when the ground’s damp, without churning up a load of mud. That’s where a patio comes into its own. You have an outside surface to use in all weathers without getting plastered in mud. But how do you calculate the material and labour costs to build one?
The average cost of laying a patio is about £25 per square metre. Therefore, typical prices range from £1000-£3500 for a 20m2 patio.
This guide will help you understand what’s involved with patio building, the types of material used, where to buy them and their costs, the regulations governing patios, and the best tradesmen to use for a professional job.
Typical Patio Laying Costs*
The table below shows a quick comparison of the different sized patios, typical materials and their respective estimated cost. The rough cost estimates include materials and labour, and you can use these prices as a benchmark against your quotes.
|Patio Size||Material||Cost Estimate|
|6 m2||Poured concrete||£320|
|Coloured concrete slabs||£375|
|12 m2||Poured concrete||£640|
|Coloured concrete slabs||£750|
|20 m2||Poured concrete||£1050|
|Coloured concrete slabs||£1250|
*We compiled these estimated prices from various sources, including local contractors. Every garden is unique, and all patio installers have different hourly rates, so these are estimated values. Therefore, for an accurate quote, contact a skilled patio installer who will inspect your garden’s specific conditions. Alternatively, complete the form on this page, and we’ll pass on your details.
Patio Laying Cost Factors
Many factors affect a patio’s cost. Some, such as the price of raw materials and a professional’s labour rate, are out of your control. Others, such as patio dimensions, features and slab size, depend on your individual preference and budget. The following factors are the most significant.
You can design the patio yourself. But, a professional uses available colours, shapes and textures to their best advantage. Garden designers also incorporate their plant selection and landscaping skills too. A designer charges around £100/hr. Therefore, a medium-sized garden costs around £1000-£5000.
We can make a patio from many natural stone, brick and concrete products. Their prices vary depending on the scarcity, whether native to your area and raw material cost. We selected the patio products mentioned in the table above from the full range. There are many more; just ask a patio supplier.
Concrete consists of sand, small stones, cement and water. And it’s probably the cheapest patio material available. Depending on the patio’s size, you can mix concrete by hand or buy it ready-mixed. Concrete is very versatile and can be dyed or moulded as you prefer. Typically, concrete costs £20/m2.
Coloured concrete slabs
Manufacturers produce slabs from concrete slurry poured into a mould. For variation, they’re dyed or have moulded textures on the surface. Typically, concrete slabs are £30-£40/m2.
Man-made porcelain slabs have a glazed surface, impervious to stains, fading, and scratches. The material is fired to 1400⁰C, making it strong and durable. Typically, porcelain slabs sell for about £50/m2.
Natural blue/grey slate is a rock made from layered silt under pressure. You can easily split slate along the layers, but it’s hard to break across them. Therefore, they’re split (or riven) to the correct thickness, then cut to size using a diamond saw. Slate flagstones cost around £30-£35/m2.
Granite is a hard grey or brown rock that can support heavy loads. Usually, it’s cut to size using a diamond-tipped saw. Typically, you can buy these for about £40-£50/m2.
Paving blocks are smaller than slabs and look more like bricks. They follow ground undulations better, but it’s harder to keep a level surface. Pavers are made from moulded and dyed concrete, making them very affordable at £30-£40/m2.
These are hard to cut to size, needing a diamond-saw like granite flags. However, because they are dense and durable, they don’t need to be as thick as paving blocks. Typically, you can buy them for £90-£100/m2.
The patio’s size determines the cost. For example, 12m2 patios cost from £500-£2000 depending on the material and design complexity.
A patio needs support from the ground below. We usually build a 10-15cm hardcore and 50mm sand sub-base to provide a well-drained, stable supporting surface. If your garden slopes away from the house, you must build up the lower end to keep the patio level. This involves blockwork and hardcore infill.
Try to build the patio as level as possible. However, you also need a slight slope to prevent puddles and allow rain to discharge to the surrounding garden. Usually, a gradient of 2cm per metre sheds the rain while remaining comfortably level.
Large slabs or flags are easier to lay than small bricks or blocks. This is because slabs straddle hollow areas while smaller bricks follow the ground’s contours. Also, although slabs are heavy to lift, you need fewer to cover the area, meaning they’re quicker to lay.
If you’re building a small 4m2 patio, excavate by hand. Otherwise, hire a small mechanical excavator. However, remember that most modern houses have a narrow access path linking front and rear gardens, so ensure there’s enough width to drive the excavator. Also, don’t forget to put the excavated soil somewhere. Depending on size, you can hire a waste skip for £120-£400. Plus, you might have to pay for a council permit if you park it on the public road.
These depend on where you live in the UK and who is building the patio. Hourly rates vary from £15-£40/hr or £40-£90/m2, with London rates being up to 20% more than elsewhere in the country.
What is the best time of year to lay a patio?
The best time to build a patio is from middle to late spring. However, the UK ranges from mild weathered southwest Cornwall to the Scottish Isles. Therefore, the relevant months will vary accordingly. Anyway, not only will you have less rain and wind than in autumn or winter, but spring also allows you to enjoy your new patio in summer.
Laying a Patio: Project Timelines
It doesn’t matter which type of patio you intend to build. They all start the same way, with only a different top layer. Here’s the procedure for making a simple 6m2 patio.
- Mark the patio’s edge with string and pegs.
- Excavate the soil within the string boundary. But, first, remove plants or turf, followed by an excavation 200mm deep.
- Add pegs about 1m apart to indicate the depth of the various layers.
- Lay and compact 100mm of MOT Type 1 hardcore with a slope of 2cm per metre.
- Lay and compact enough sand to blind sharp stones.
- Around the patio’s sub-base perimeter lay a course of bricks bedded in mortar to form an edge.
- Lay a weed-resistant membrane to prevent roots from pushing through.
- The remaining depth allows 50mm for a layer of mortar or a dry mix of sand/cement, depending on the top layer you’ve chosen.
- Pour concrete into the remaining space.
- Or, lay the pavers, slabs, flags or blocks on the wet or dry mortar mix while maintaining the slope. Allow the mortar to set.
- Tamp and level the poured concrete patio surface while maintaining the slope. Allow it to cure.
- Or, grout the joints between the slabs with dry sand/cement mix. Then, allow to cure.
You can expect the process to take two to three days to complete. However, building a raised patio to accommodate a sloping garden will usually take a day longer.
Types of Patios
Let’s look at the pros and cons of various patio surfaces.
- Durable – The baked mixture of sand and other minerals makes a very hardwearing surface. It’s perfect for patios as it’s high-impact resistant.
- Low-maintenance – Porcelain paving is naturally stain resistant. Therefore, they need very little maintenance and can look good for many years.
- Moisture resistant – Porcelain is less porous than some other pavers. Therefore, they don’t hold moisture and become slippery in wet or icy conditions.
- Weight – Porcelain slabs are dense and heavy, making them difficult to lift.
- Installation problems – Porcelain is dense and difficult to cut. You need a diamond-saw and specialised knowledge. Hire a professional.
- Subdued appearance – Blue/grey blends into a natural landscape.
- Moisture resistant – Absorbs very little water. Therefore, it won’t stay slippery during rain or ice.
- Stain-proof – Slate resists chemical stains.
- Crumbly – When the surface weathers, it crumbles.
- Installation problems – It’s difficult to cut across the grain.
- Hardwearing – Granite is a hard, durable rock.
- Appearance – The rock has a uniform texture.
- Not slippery – The coarse grain prevents slipping.
- Attractive – The rock can be brown or grey, with different tones and a slight sparkle.
- Easily washed – Resistant to pressure washing.
- Heavy – Granite is heavy unless you use small brick pavers.
- Installation problems – It’s very dense and difficult to cut.
- Price – Pavers and slabs are expensive.
- Algae – Although the rock isn’t slippery, its coarse grain attracts slippery algae in shady areas. Therefore, keep the surface clean.
Poured concrete & concrete paving slabs
- Durable – Concrete is very durable and won’t crack if properly installed.
- Appearance – You can choose from many different colours, styles and textures.
- Weather-resistant – Concrete is resistant to heat, rain, and drought extremes.
- Cost – It’s very affordable.
- Maintenance – Concrete is very porous. Therefore, slabs must be sealed before installation and resealed regularly.
- Slippery – Porous concrete holds water. Which becomes slippery during rain or icy conditions.
Do you need permission to lay a patio?
Your patio must comply with the SuDS regulations to prevent flooding and pollution in residential areas. Usually, you don’t need Planning Permission for porous patio surfaces and any surface smaller than 5m2. Otherwise, you must provide suitable surface water drainage systems to a soakaway, flowerbeds or lawn. And submit an application showing the plans. Furthermore, if your property is a listed building, you will definitely require planning permission. Also, if you have a raised patio, you must abide by other Planning Regulations.
Also, check your patio for Building Regulations compliance. Usually, you’ll be okay unless entry to the house is more difficult than before. For example, by adding steps or changing levels. However, if access is difficult, it’s relatively easy to make disabled access. Ask your building control office for advice.
Finally, avoid covering drainage manholes and other services. Utility companies must have access at all times. If in doubt, ask your utility company.
Things To Consider
Before you start your project, consider a few points to make everything go smoothly:
How easy is it to install?
What are the installation problems? Concrete has curing issues in freezing weather because ice crystals form, thus breaking up the concrete matrix. If you expect ice or snow, use pavers instead.
Will the concrete need sealing to resist slippery mould and mildew? Perhaps not if the surface has a rough texture, but it will if smooth.
If your patio is non-porous and over 5m2, you must comply with the SuDS Regulations and remove rainwater without causing floods or pollution. Always ask a professional to install the drainage, as they know what they’re doing.
Patios take up space in your garden. Before starting, decide what else you want in the garden. Perhaps, somewhere for the kids to play ball games, or maybe you want a greenhouse. If so, decide on the optimum size for your patio without making the space feel cramped. Modern back gardens tend to be smaller than in older properties in the UK. Therefore, ensure you have room for everything.
Research each available patio material and decide the best for your project. You might want a traditional feel, so use brick or stone. Otherwise, concrete is simple to lay and doesn’t need much looking after. Before deciding, consider the maintenance, and the overall cost.
Decide on the patio’s layout. Sketch it to scale on graph paper, and transfer the existing dimensions of your house, fences and paths. Now see if things will fit. Remember to leave enough space for a patio table and chairs and maybe a bar-b-que.
Where will you put the patio? If it’s for entertaining, keep it near the house and walk from the back-door or French doors directly onto the patio? Make sure it catches the sun but has some shade in high summer.
If your garden slopes and you have a raised patio, put a protective wall around it, so no one stumbles and falls. Finally, remember you might need electricity for lighting. Therefore, keep it near an electrical connection.
When designing the patio, keep in mind disabled and elderly family members. If they find it difficult to step from the house onto the patio, incorporate a ramp. Remember that the Building Regulations require you to consider this anyway. Even if you haven’t any disabled relatives, those who occupy your home after you’ve moved on might.
Who will do the work?
Ensure you choose someone from the Competent Person Register to build your patio. This ensures it’s built correctly and complies with all relevant regulations.
What is a good patio size?
The best size depends on the dimensions of your back garden. However, you should make the patio’s area large enough to hold a table, some chairs, and enough room to walk around.
If size is not an issue, choose a 5m x 6m patio. This area allows enough room for a family, garden furniture, and 1m clearance around the table for foot traffic.
How long after laying a patio can you use it?
Concrete continues to harden after it has initially set. Therefore, a concrete patio is strong enough to walk on after a day. But, don’t put tables and chairs on the surface for at least a week.
Paving slabs and stone pavers are different. There isn’t any exposed load-bearing cement mortar. Therefore, as long as the grout and bedding mortar has set, then it’s okay to use. So, give it a few hours to walk on and a day or two for furniture.
How high can raised patio be?
If its top level is more than 600mm above the surrounding garden, then the Building Regulations state you must have a guard of some kind. This can be a small fence, wall, or even plant troughs; Anything to prevent people from falling off the edge.
Find Local Experts
If you intend to build a patio, ensure you find someone with the appropriate knowledge who complies with the regulations. You must also have someone who won’t rip you off. Therefore, you need a local installer with patio laying quotes for you to compare.
Complete the form on this page, and we’ll ensure you receive up to four quotes from reputable installers.