How To Lay Paving Slabs On Grass (Guide)

Paving slabs are a popular choice for patios, walkways, and other outdoor areas. They provide a solid surface that is durable and easy to maintain, making them a great choice for those who want a functional and attractive outdoor space. The cost for installation can be quite high if you call in the help of a specialist paving contractor, so can you lay paving on grass to bring down the cost? There are some important things to consider before you start.

First of all, it is important to understand that laying paving slabs on grass is not a long-term solution. While it may be tempting to take a shortcut and lay your slabs directly on top of the grass, this will not provide the necessary support for the slabs and could lead to problems down the road. Paving slabs need a solid base that will prevent them from breaking, shifting or sinking over time, and an excavated grass/ earth bed alone cannot provide that level of support.

There are a few reasons why someone might choose to create a patio on grass rather than installing it properly on a full mortar bed. Here are a few possibilities:

  1. Cost: Laying paving slabs on grass is typically less expensive than creating a full mortar bed for your patio. You may be able to save money on materials, as you will not need to purchase as much sand, MOT Type 1, and cement as you would for a permanent patio. Additionally, you may be able to complete the installation yourself, rather than hiring a professional contractor, which can further reduce the cost. As the price of the paving usually only represents around 20% of the over cost of laying a patio, there is a definite attraction to laying on grass.

  2. Time: Laying paving slabs on grass is generally quicker than creating a full mortar bed. You can usually complete the installation in a weekend, rather than waiting several days for the mortar to dry and set. This can be especially appealing if you are looking for a quick and easy solution for a special event or gathering.

  3. Flexibility: A temporary patio on grass offers more flexibility than a permanent patio installed on a full mortar bed. If you change your mind about the layout or design of your patio, you can easily remove the slabs and start over. Additionally, if you are renting your home or property, you may not want to invest in a permanent patio that you will have to leave behind when you move.

  4. Convenience: Creating a temporary patio on grass can be more convenient than installing a permanent patio. You can often complete the installation with tools and materials that you already have on hand, rather than purchasing specialised equipment or hiring a contractor. Additionally, if you only need a temporary solution for a specific event or season, a patio on grass may be more practical than investing in a permanent installation.

It's important to note, however, that while a patio on grass may be a convenient and cost-effective solution in the short term, it is not a long-term solution. Paving slabs that are not properly supported by a base layer of sand, MOT Type 1, or concrete can shift and sink over time, leading to an uneven and unstable surface. Additionally, drainage problems may arise if water is not able to drain properly beneath the slabs. Therefore, if you are looking for a permanent solution for your patio, it is best to invest in a proper full mortar base layer or have your patio installed by a professional contractor.

With that in mind, let's take a look at how to lay paving slabs on grass as a temporary solution.

Step 1: Measure and Mark the Area

Before you start laying your paving slabs, you need to measure the area where you want to create your patio or walkway. Use a tape measure to determine the length and width of the space, and mark the corners with stakes or spray paint. This will help you visualise the space and ensure that you have enough slabs to cover the area.

Step 2: Clear the Grass

Next, you need to clear the grass from the area where you will be laying your slabs. Use a shovel or spade to remove any grass or weeds from the surface, and make sure that the area is level. If there are any dips or bumps in the surface, use a rake to even them out. It is important to create a level surface so that your slabs will sit evenly and not shift over time.

Step 3: Create a Base Layer

Now it is time to create a base layer for your slabs. For a temporary solution, you can use sand or crushed stone as a base. Spread a layer of sand or crushed stone over the area where you will be laying your slabs, making sure that it is level and even. Use a rake to smooth out any bumps or uneven areas.

Step 4: Lay the Slabs

With your base layer in place, it is time to lay your slabs. Start at one corner of the area and place your first slab on top of the sand or crushed stone. Make sure that it is level and even, and use a rubber mallet to tap it into place. Repeat this process with the remaining slabs, working your way across the area. Be sure to mix packs with natural stone to ensure even colour coverage and leave a space between the paving of around 15mm, but by dry laying first, you should be able to find the most appropriate gap for your paving.

Step 5: Fill the Gaps

Once all of your slabs are in place, you will need to fill the gaps between them. For a temporary solution, you can use sand or gravel to fill in the gaps. Sprinkle sand or gravel over the surface of the slabs, and use a broom to sweep it into the gaps. This will help to hold the slabs in place and prevent them from shifting over time.

Step 6: Add Edging

Finally, you may want to add edging around the perimeter of your patio or walkway. This will help to define the space and prevent the slabs from shifting outward. You can use wooden or metal edging, or even a row of bricks or stones. Place the edging around the perimeter of your patio or walkway, and secure it in place with stakes or adhesive.


Tips for Laying Paving Slabs on Grass

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when laying paving slabs on grass:


  • Make sure that the area is level and even before you start laying your paving slabs. This will help to ensure that your slabs sit evenly and do not shift over time.
  • If you are using sand as a base layer, make sure that it is compacted and level before you start laying your slabs. Use a plate compactor or hand tamper to compact the sand and ensure that it is level.

  • Choose slabs that are thick enough to withstand foot traffic and other outdoor use. Thicker slabs will be more durable and less likely to break or crack over time.

  • If you plan to use your patio or walkway for more than a few months, it is recommended that you create a more permanent base for your slabs. This may involve excavating the grass and soil beneath the surface and creating a base layer of MOT Type 1 and a full wet mortar bed.

  • If you live in an area with heavy rainfall or snowfall, be aware that laying paving slabs on grass can lead to drainage problems. Water may accumulate beneath the slabs and create soggy or muddy conditions. Consider installing drainage channels or a permeable base layer to help prevent these issues.

  • Regular maintenance will help to extend the lifespan of your temporary patio or walkway. Sweep the surface regularly to remove leaves and debris, and refill any gaps that may have opened up between the slabs over time.


In conclusion, laying paving slabs on grass can be a quick and easy solution for creating a temporary patio or walkway. However, it is important to keep in mind that this is not a long-term solution and may not provide the necessary support for your slabs over time. If you are looking for a more permanent solution, it is recommended that you create a proper MOT Type 1 and full mortar bed base layer for your slabs, or even hire a professional to install your patio or walkway. Read our article here on how to lay paving on a mortar bed. With the right planning and care, you can enjoy a beautiful and functional outdoor space for years to come.