Simply Paving Blog

  • Laying Flag Paving

    Posted on March 25, 2010 by Simply Paving

    Next in our Simply Do It Yourself series, we look at laying patio paving.

    Site Preparation

    All paving should be laid on a firm, level and well-drained base, ensuring the paving performs as it was designed to. This will ensure your patio will remain in top condition for years to come.

    Bradstone Milldale Paving Weathered Cotswold.

    Vegetation and top soil should be removed to an approximate depth of 200mm across the area to be paved. Mark out this area with pegs or retaining boards and adjust their height to the required finished surface levels, ensuring that you allow the recommended fall away from any buildings and walls for water drainage. Also make sure that the finished paving surface level is at least 150mm below the level of any damp proof course. After excavation, rake level to ensure an even depth and compact the whole area using a garden roller or tamper.

    Preparing the foundation.

    It is always preferable to start with full flags laid adjacent to a fixed point such as the house or boundary wall and to work towards an edge which may be adjustable. Alternatively, start from a corner on the longest straight edge.

    If you are laying more than one size of paving, particularly if in a random pattern, or if you are laying a circle or other feature, it is recommended that you dry lay the flags first to check the fit and make sure you are happy with the pattern. It is also advised that you take the paving from a number of open packs at once, even if you are just using one size, to ensure a consistent appearance to the finished patio.

    Natural Stone Paving

    The area to be paved should first of all be dug out to a depth of at least 200mm. The area should then be back filled with 150mm of MoT/crusher run, compacted to 100mm.

    Laying the paving.

    Once the area is prepared, the laying of each flag can commence. The actual mortar bed is prepared individually for each and every flag dependent on its thickness. The bed will consist of a semi-dry mortar mix, using 4 parts sharp sand to 1 part cement. Spot bedding should never be used for natural stone paving, as the flag will not be sufficiently supported.

    When laying flags that will have mortar joints, the receiving edges of the already laid flags are buttered with mortar into which the new flag is pressed, forming a well filled joint, that can be topped up when pointing. Buttering will also aid consistency of joint width. Once in place, each flag can be consolidated by tapping them down, either with a rubber mallet or by keeping a piece of softwood between a hammer or mallet and the flag. Continually check levels and falls during the laying process across the top surface profile of a number of flags at a time.

    Sandstone and Limestone Taper

    Lay sandstone / limestone paving onto the full bed of semi-dry mortar, with the chamfered side down, therefore leaving the side with the largest surface area facing upwards.

    The hand-dressed edge detail on sandstone and limestone paving exhibits a taper or undercut running towards the back face of the flag. When laid with suitable pointing gaps the edges of the adjacent paving will provide dovetail or reverse wedge-shaped gaps which will considerably assist the keying in of the pointing mortar thereby increasing the durability of the finished joints.Leave the mortar mix to go off for at least 24 hours before pointing.

    Point with a wet mortar mix of 4:1 (building sand will be more workable), ensuring the gaps between the flags are completely filled. The strength of the pointing is extremely important, as if done incorrectly, the joints will be the weakest part of the paved area. It is important to take care not to stain the paving surface with any excess mortar as this will be difficult to remove.

    Checking the levels.

    A plasticiser can be added to the mortar mix to improve its workability and also ensure all air pockets are eliminated. Cement dyes may also be added to the mix to change the final colouration of your pointing mortar. Simply Paving can offer a jointing compound suitable for use with natural stone flags, please contact us directly for more information.

    Manufactured Paving

    When laying manufactured paving, the preparation of the site should be carried out using the same methods as when laying natural stone. As manufactured paviors are produced in man-made moulds, variation in thickness is not generally an issue, and the undersides of the slabs are more consistent. Therefore, for light use patios, a screed bed of a sharp sand and cement mix (a ratio of 6:1 is more than adequate) can be used as oppose to creating a mortar bed.

    If preferred, manufactured paving can also be laid on a mortar bed, but it is not always necessary.

    Manufactured paving can also be pointed with a wet mortar mix, however great care must be taken to ensure it is not left on the surface of the flag as this will be almost impossible to remove when set. Many people choose to point manufactured paving with either a dry mix of sharp sand and cement brushed into the joints or a specifically designed jointing compound.


    If pointing with a dry mix, a ratio of 6 parts sharp sand to 1 part cement is recommended. The dry mix should then be indirectly watered, i.e. lightly water the surface of the flags rather than the pointed joint itself. The water will then trickle into the joints and hydrate the cement, rather than splash the dry mix over the surface of the flag.

    If you require any help, please give the Simply Paving office a call on 0800 032 6306 and we will try to assist you in all aspects of your landscaping project.

    This post was posted in How to..., Simply Do It Yourself and was tagged with Bradstone, Building Materials, DIY, Landscaping, Milldale, Natural, Patio, Patios, Paving, Sandstone, Simply Paving, Weathered Cotswold

  • Preparing the Area to be Paved

    Posted on March 22, 2010 by Simply Paving

    For the second part in our Simply Do It Yourself series, we're looking at how you should go about preparing the area you are planning to pave.

    Tools of the Trade

    Here are the items that you may need in order to carry out most landscaping projects:

    • Site preparation: sledge hammer, spade, shovel, pick, rake and wheel barrow, string line, tape measure;
    • Bed preparation: trowel, float, cement mixer;
    • Laying and flag/block preparation: lump hammer, chisel, bolster, rubber mallet, spirit level, circular saw (with diamond blade for tougher materials), block splitter (for block paving jobs), plate compactor, brush.

    Site Preparation

    All types of paving need to be laid on a structure built up of a number of layers of different materials. Each layer builds on the strength of the previous.


    Firstly, it is necessary to remove existing vegetation and existing topsoil, back to the layer of more stable sub soil beneath (often referred to as the sub-grade). The excavation must remove all vegetation such as grass, weeds and roots as this material will decompose over time, which can result in settlement of the paving laid on top.


    The next layer to be formed is the most important layer, structurally speaking, in the formation of your project. This layer is the sub-base. Sub-bases may not always be required for patio projects but are vital when laying a block paved driveway, in order to prevent settlement.

    There are various materials that can be used for the sub-base, and your selection will generally depend on the project being carried out.

    The highest grade of sub-base is generally known as Type 1 MoT (Ministry of Transport) and is the preferred material for use under driveways or areas with heavy traffic. It is a specific mix of solids and fines that when compacted ensures there are no voids in the sub-base, but is sufficiently free draining to allow ground water to dissipate.

    There are a number of other materials which are supplied for use as a sub-base, including ballast and crusher run; however, there is often little control over the balance of solids and fines. These therefore, would be unsuitable for use under areas of very heavy traffic and commercial projects, but should be perfectly suitable for patios and standard driveways.

    Bedding or Laying Course

    The bedding or the laying course is basically the layer onto which your chosen paving is laid. This layer supports the paving, allowing for variations in thickness and any peaks or undulations to be accommodated without affecting the levels of the finished project.

    The material used for this layer is determined by the type of paving to be laid. For example, for concrete block paving, unbound (without cement) sharp sand is used. This is compacted in order to prevent movement and provides a perfectly solid bed for a block pavior. Whereas for natural sandstone, a moist sharp sand and cement mix is preferred. This mortar mix allows the slabs to be bedded in and accommodates the varying thicknesses of the stone.

    Generally, building sand is unsuitable for use as a bedding material; as it is not free-draining enough, also sharp sand will produce a much stiffer, more stable mortar mix. Building sand can be used for pointing, as it produces a more pliable, workable mortar.

    Paving Layer

    The final layer is that of your chosen paving. The following guides, to be posted over the next few weeks, aim to provide assistance in the actual laying of various types of paving we have available.

    If you require any help, please give the Simply Paving office a call on 0800 032 6306 and we will try to assist you in all aspects of your landscaping project.

    This post was posted in How to..., Simply Do It Yourself and was tagged with Aggregates, Block Paving, Building Materials, Circle, DIY, Driveway, Driveways, Landscaping, Natural, Patio, Patios, Paving, Pebbles, Sandstone, Simply Paving

  • Planning Your Project

    Posted on March 15, 2010 by Simply Paving

    The first guide in the Simply Do It Yourself series and the first step in any patio or driveway project should involve the planning of the proposed area.

    Create a stunning Mediterranean style dining area using Bradstone Tile Paving Mellow Terracotta.

    Your Initial Considerations

    The first key consideration in the planning process is to define the use of the area to be landscaped. Different areas provide different functions and the required function is essential in determining which materials to use.

    Bradstone Peak Paving Buff - look no further for cost effective utility paving.

    Defining the function of the area is absolutely essential to narrow down your search for a suitable product.

    The next step is to view the products which are designed to match the criteria you have. This will enable you to select the products that suit your tastes (including considerations over contemporary and traditional styles), products that blend or contrast with existing features (house colour, existing walls and landscape features) and fit within your budget.

    We can supply products that will enable you to be as extravagant or as conservative as you please, without breaking the bank.


    It's not necessary that you limit your landscaping project to only one type of product, or even colour. A large area consisting of randomly laid flagstones may not have the same overall impact as an area of randomly laid flagstones, combined with a circle feature or interspersed with setts.

    Try mixing sandstone flags with sandstone setts, even in two contrasting colours, to define areas or borders. The same can be true when using concrete block paving for driveway areas. Often, instead of or in addition to a raised kerb, people like to border the drive area with a contrasting block either in the same style or a standard 200×100 block.

    Bradstone Woburn Rumbled Autumn laid with a soldier course of Bradstone Driveway Charcoal.

    Decorative aggregates may also be a consideration to effectively break areas up. Why not try aggregates in certain areas of your patio, planted with perennials, herbs, grasses and alpines? This can enliven the senses to not only sight, but touch, smell and sound too.

    StoneFlair Purestone Slate Paving Blue-Black looks stunning laid alongside decorative aggregates planted with grasses.

    Planning the Area

    Firstly, the area to be landscaped will have to be carefully surveyed, measuring the area, noting existing features (including any obstacles, trees or manhole covers etc) and determining the levels.

    Calculation of the levels or gradient is essential to any paving project, to ensure the area allows water to drain away as quickly as possible. Standing water can easily be a slip hazard and it may also deteriorate the surface and the structure of the paved area.

    The amount of fall required largely depends on the type of paving to be used. Smooth surface flags are quicker to drain than riven flags, due to their surface profile and therefore can be laid with less of a gradient. Products with a smooth surface require a minimum fall of 1:60 whereas a product with a riven profile will require a minimum fall of 1:50.

    StoneFlair Purestone Polished Rosemount Spinning Circle equally impressive in traditional or contemporary spaces.

    To calculate the gradient, you will need two take two measurements, the depth or vertical height and the horizontal distance of the paved area.

    Example Calculation

    You are laying an area of sandstone flags, 5 metres in length x 3 metres wide. At the end of the 5 metre length, there is a drainage gully into which you would like the water to run. You decide that the minimum fall of 1:60 is sufficient for draining the patio area:

    1:60 = 1/60 = 0.0167
    Length = 5000 × 0.0167 = 83.5mm
    Patio to fall 83.5mm towards drainage gully.

    The area can then be set out as a scale drawing, either on paper or in a software package making note of any features and their relation to each other. If necessary, large areas or those with complicated shapes are often divided into smaller, more manageable sections. The scale drawing will then enable you to calculate the total area you have to be paved.

    Using this area total, Simply Paving will be able to give you an accurate quote for your paving requirements, VAT and delivery (if applicable) inclusive.

    If you require any help, please give the Simply Paving office a call on 0800 032 6306 and we will try to assist you in all aspects of your landscaping project.

    Using a Bradstone Old Riven Circle Autumn Gold with Bradstone Carpet Stones Cobble Charcoal will create a timeless centre piece for any garden.

    This post was posted in How to..., Simply Do It Yourself and was tagged with Aggregates, Block Paving, Building Materials, Circle, DIY, Driveway, Driveways, Landscaping, Natural, Patio, Patios, Paving, Pebbles, Sandstone, Simply Paving

  • Simply Do It Yourself

    Posted on March 12, 2010 by Simply Paving

    No matter how turbulent the economy may be, there is one area where we all strive for improvement and that's our homes.

    However, the cost of hiring somebody to do the work for you may make you think twice. When you think that up to 80% of the cost of installing a new patio or driveway is accounted for by hiring a contractor, you can understand why an ever-increasing number of people are looking to do the work themselves.

    With the Simply Do It Yourself guides to be posted over the coming weeks, Simply Paving will look to walk you through the stages of laying the different types of paving we have available.

    You too can have a patio or driveway to be proud of.

    If you require any help, please give the Simply Paving office a call on 0800 032 6306 and we will try to assist you in all aspects of your landscaping project.

    This post was posted in How to..., Simply Do It Yourself and was tagged with Block Paving, DIY, Driveway, Driveways, Landscaping, Patio, Patios, Paving, Simply Paving

  • Bradstone and StoneFlair 2010 Brochures

    Posted on March 4, 2010 by Simply Paving

    Good news, the Bradstone and StoneFlair 2010 brochures are now available for download.

    Bradstone offer a wide selection of garden and driveway products to help you create the perfect ‘room outside'. From natural to reconstituted stone, paving to walling, edging to coping and decorative stone to gravel and block paving. Their inspirational advice and ideas on landscaping your driveway or garden will provide you with an outside area that will enhance your home.

    Click image to download brochure.

    Whilst with StoneFlair you’ll find a wealth of ideas and inspiration to help bring your garden to life. Offering everything including natural stone paving, reconstituted stone paving, walling, edging and domestic block paving. StoneFlair truly offer the best in individuality, best service, quality and style.

    Click image to download brochure.

    To view these brochures, you'll need Adobe Reader, which can be downloaded here. If however, you'd prefer to receive a brochure through the post, give the office a call on 0800 032 6306 or drop us an email.

    Don't forget, all these products can also be found on our website.

    This post was posted in Our Products, Our Suppliers, Simply Paving and was tagged with Aggregates, Block Paving, Bradstone, Coping, DIY, Driveway, Driveways, Edging, Garden Features, Landscaping, Natural, Patio, Patios, Paving, Pebbles, Sandstone, Simply Paving, Stoneflair, Walling

  • Something a bit thicker...

    Posted on March 3, 2010 by Simply Paving

    Simply Paving are proud to announce the launch of their new website Simply Paving Commercial.

    Whether you're looking for 300 m2 of 80mm block or a pack of blister paving, we're here to help.

    As with our Main Site, Simply Paving Commercial is looking to offer the same great service, low prices and speedy delivery achieved by collecting products directly from the manufacturer (Charcon) and delivering them direct to site.

    Charcon is a leading manufacturer of hard landscaping and construction systems in the UK, providing high quality, cutting edge solutions for almost every aspect of the Construction Industry. As part of Aggregate Industries, Charcon has unrivalled access to the highest quality raw materials, research and technology, enabling their expertise to be channelled into developing new, innovative products.

    Simply Paving Commercial can now supply almost anything from the Charcon range including Flag Paving, Block Paving, Kerbs and Drainage Systems... if there's anything you can't see, just drop us an email or give us a call on 0800 032 6306.

    For further detailed information of the Charcon range, please take a look at the following PDF downloads, taken from their Hard Landscaping Product Portfolio:

    This post was posted in Our Products, Simply Paving and was tagged with Block Paving, Charcon, Commercial, Hard Landscaping, Landscaping, Paving, Simply Paving, Simply Paving Commercial

  • Our Suppliers and the Environment

    Posted on February 26, 2010 by Simply Paving

    As part of Aggregate Industries, our main suppliers, Bradstone, Charcon and StoneFlair are at the forefront of developments to increase the sustainability of domestic and commercial landscaping materials.

    The journey began a decade ago, when the company took the decision to focus on and invest in developing sustainable solutions across their comprehensive range of innovative building products.

    Today, their investment is reaping rewards, with Aggregate Industries involved in a number of important and influential initiatives designed to make it easy for you, the consumer, to both recognise the most sustainable materials and identify those that have been most responsibly sourced.

    The Responsible Source - a world first

    Chances are, you've heard the mention of responsible sourcing in the news recently. In straightforward terms, responsible sourcing is about measuring the specific environmental, economic and social impacts of any product, taking into account such factors as its manufacture, delivery, use, re-use and the ability for it to be recycled.

    The good news is that Aggregate Industries are the first company in the world to achieve the BES 6001 Responsible Sourcing Certificate. With this unique status, you can have absolute confidence that the products supplied have been responsibly sourced and that you're getting the industry's most sustainable solutions. You don't just know what you're getting - you also know where you're getting it from.

    Ethical Trading

    As a group, Aggregate Industries support the principles of the UN Global Compact and the Ethical Trading Initiative base code. This is reflected in their policy and code of practice that
     aims to ensure that together with their suppliers, Aggregate Industries fulfil their obligations and responsibilities in order to maintain long-term benefits to all parties.

    Examples of criteria their suppliers have to meet are:

    • Prohibition of child labour
    • Provision of a safe workplace
    • Provision of all employment rights
    • Prohibition of bonded or forced labour
    • Paying wages that meet or exceed national legal requirements.

    Carbon Labelling

    Wouldn't it be great if you could see, at a glance, just how much CO2 a product generates?

    Now you can, thanks to carbon labelling, an initiative piloted by The Carbon Trust. Carbon labelling calculates the carbon footprint of products across their entire life cycle - from production, to use and disposal - and then displays the information clearly on a label.

    Carbon labelling not only clearly indicates how much a company is committed to reducing carbon emissions, but the 'footprint' logo also enables consumers to make a more informed decision about the products they're buying.

    Look out for these logos in the new Bradstone and StoneFlair 2010 brochures but also keep an eye out for them appearing on our website in the very near future.

    This post was posted in Our Products, Our Suppliers, Simply Paving and was tagged with Aggregate Industries, BES 6001 Responsible Sourcing Certificate, Block Paving, Bradstone, BRE Global Listed, Carbon Labelling, Concrete, Driveway, Environment, Ethical Trading, Ethical Trading Initiative, ETI, Natural, Patio, Paving, Sandstone, Simply Paving, Stoneflair, The Carbon Trust, The Responsible Source, UN Global Compact

  • Simply Paving Affiliate Programme Launch

    Posted on February 11, 2010 by Simply Paving

    Simply Paving is delighted to announce the launch of its affiliate scheme, exclusively at Affiliate Window. With over 30,000 customers in just 4 years, Simply Paving is the leading online paving supplier. We pride ourselves on our exceptional customer service, competitive prices and fast, efficient delivery.

    With over 25 years of industry experience including the positions of Chief Executive of Marshalls PLC and more recently Chairman of StoneFlair and Director of Bradstone, Philip Marshall launched Simply Paving with the aim of supplying quality paving products directly to the customer in a way that was simple for them. “After spending my working life supplying paving products to builders' merchants, I decided it was time to break out on my own, and begin supplying paving products direct to the consumer in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”

    We offer a wide range of products including walling, building materials and finishing touches from leading suppliers such as Bradstone and StoneFlair and deliver the vast majority of our orders within a 7 working day timescale.

    To launch our scheme we are offering the chance to win £250 worth of paving with just one sale and every affiliate who generates £1000 of sales before 14th March 2010 will be entered into a separate draw to win an extra 2% commission for a month.

    For more information on the Simply Paving Affiliate Program and to see our Full terms & Conditions please click here or contact the Affiliate Team at Simply Paving.

    This post was posted in Simply Paving and was tagged with Affiliate Window, Block Paving, Bradstone, Driveway, Driveways, Landscaping, Patio, Patios, Paving, Simply Paving, Stoneflair

  • New for 2010

    Posted on January 15, 2010 by Simply Paving

    This is one of the most exciting times of the year for us here at Simply Paving, the launch of the new brochures and for most of us, a first glimpse of the new products for the upcoming season.

    Both Bradstone and StoneFlair look to have been busy developing new lines and there really are some stunning products available in 2010...

    One particularly eye-catching product is Bradstone's New Panache an exciting addition to their already established Panache paving range, New Panache takes style to a new level with its contemporary colours, not to mention a surface that sparkles in the sunlight.

    New Panache arrives with three shades White, Black and Silver Grey each with two finishes, Ground and Textured allowing for endless design possibilities and guaranteed individuality.

    New Panache also comes coated with Bradstone's surface protection to ease cleaning and boasts excellent eco-credentials with its high recycled content of 83% for the White shade and 64% in the Black and Silver Grey.

    StoneFlair have launched an equally stylish product for 2010, Purestone Waddington Fell, with very reassuring eco-credentials of its own.

    With its soft subtle hues, smooth even surface and sawn edges, the British sourced Purestone Waddington Fell is a beautiful looking and stylish natural sandstone patio paving slab, sure to enhance any patio or garden design. But it’s more than just a pretty face.

    In fact, Purestone Waddington Fell has achieved a world first: it’s the only certified responsibly sourced natural stone anywhere on the planet. It’s your assurance that the stone has been produced in a totally ethical and responsible manner, with the impact of operations minimised during the process.

    StoneFlair have also made an exciting addition to the very popular Yorkvale range with Yorkvale EcoPave, an authentic yet cost-effective alternative to natural stone, manufactured using up to 85% recycled aggregate to offer the eco gardener a genuinely sustainable product. As StoneFlair state "Past inspiration, environmental consideration".

    In addition to these superb new patio products, there are a number of new domestic driveway products available in 2010. Many of these products are 65mm-80mm so are also suitable for commercial applications.

    These include Bradstone's Parliament block paving with glinting highlights of exposed granite and complementary shades for stunning effect.

    Why not take a look at the elegant but durable Bradstone Vianova, a contemporary polished block paving containing the highest quality basalt and granite aggregate, or if it's a more traditional feel that you're after try Bradstone's EcoPave, with exposed Cornish granite aggregate providing a subtle sparkle and a weathered appearance for visual appeal coupled with eco-credentials.

    Also new to the Bradstone block paving range are Andover Textured and Andover Washed. Available in Charcoal, Cream and Silver Grey shades, Cornish aggregate gives Andover Textured a finely textured quality finish. Whilst Andover Washed is a premium quality paving block containing at least 50% recycled materials and gives a more understated contemporary finish. Subtly textured, try combining both of the complementary shades of Anthracite Charcoal and Silver Grey for stunning effect.

    Finally, why not have a truly "green" driveway, with the launch of Bradstone's superb Grassgrid, with over 50% recycled content, Grassgrid block paving combines natural looking hard standing areas for vehicles with great green credentials.

    All in all, there are some very impressive products on offer for 2010, if you'd like more information on these or any of our other products, check out our website or contact the office on 0800 032 6306.

    This post was posted in Our Products and was tagged with 2010, Block Paving, Bradstone, Driveway, Landscaping, Patio, Paving, Simply Paving, Stoneflair

  • And the winner is...

    Posted on January 11, 2010 by Simply Paving

    After scores of entries and hundreds of photographs, Simply Paving are delighted to announce the results of our 2009 Autumn / Winter competition.

    The winner taking the first prize of £500 is Miss Lyndsey Durose from Ilkeston, Derbyshire with this superb entry showing StoneFlair's Purestone Granite in both Arctic Grey and Graphite colours.

    The level of workmanship demonstrated in the job is extraordinary, fully realising the potential of this stunning product. The combination of the two colours is both classic and contemporary, whilst the product has been expertly laid using the three available sizes.

    Our five runners up, each winning a prize of £100 are:

    Mr Ian Rivers from Hamilton, Leicestershire with StoneFlair’s Purestone Polished Sandstone in Ivory.

    Mr Nicholas McCafferty from Kettering, Northamptonshire with Bradstone’s Cobble Carpet Stones in Rustic Red.

    Mr Ian Hughes from Bishampton, Worcestershire with Bradstone’s Natural Limestone in Cotswold.

    Mr Kieran Cleary from Marlborough, Wiltshire with StoneFlair’s Moorland Walling in Autumn Brown.

    Mr Robert Jack from Rugby Warwickshire with Bradstone’s Textured Paving and Circle in Buff.

    Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you to everyone who entered the competition. The entries were all of an incredibly high standard and we here at Simply Paving had a very tough time reaching our decision.

    Make sure you keep an eye out for more fantastic competitions from Simply Paving over the coming months.

    This post was posted in Competitions, Our Customers, Simply Paving and was tagged with Bradstone, Competition, Driveway, Patio, Paving, Simply Paving, Stoneflair

Items 31 to 40 of 51 total

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6