How to Lay Crazy Paving

Although crazy paving has an informal, haphazard appearance, it can often be quite tricky to set out. You will need a good range of paving sizes so that you have plenty of choice when fitting the pieces together. Crazy paving may be laid on sand, which will allow plants to be grown between the joints, or on 5 cm mortar bed for a firmer finish. In this case, you will need to fill in the joints with bedding mortar.

Install the Foundations

Clear the site and use string lines to mark out the area to be paved. Lay the sub-base with a slight drainage slope using the method discussed earlier in this section.

Define the Edges

Create an edge, either using large pieces of crazy paving (straight on one edge), brick, concrete or wood. Mortar these firmly into place (or firmly stake, if using wood). Work from one corner if you are laying an enclosed area, or along the two sides if laying a path, adding just a few metres of edging at a time.

Lay the Paving

Lay the paving down, working in an area of about 1m (3 ft) square at a time. Fit the pieces together like a jigsaw, keeping the gaps small, and then re-arrange them until you are happy with their position. You may find that you need to trim some pieces to size. It is usually best to place the large pieces first, and then use the smaller ones to infill the gaps.

Check that central slabs are level with the edging pieces and bed them on sand or a 5 cm thick bed of mortar (10 parts grit sand to 1 part cement). Use a mallet or a block of wood and a hammer to bed each piece firmly in position. Test each piece to ensure that it doesn't rock or move; lift pieces and remove or add mortar or sand as necessary until they are firm and level.

Fill the Joints

If you are using mortar, fill the joints with a stiff, crumbly, almost dry mortar mix of 3 parts sharp sand to 1 part cement. It is essential that the mortar is thoroughly packed down into the joint and that no spaces are left. Scrape of any excess mortar before it dries, either so that it is flush with the paving surface, or by using a dowel to produce a neat, recessed finish.

Alternatively, if you are bedding the crazy paving on sand, finish off by brushing dry sand into the joints.