Paving slabs are a popular choice for creating functional and visually appealing outdoor spaces. They are versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes, including patios, walkways, and driveways. One of the most important decisions when it comes to installing paving slabs is the laying pattern. There are many different laying patterns to choose from, each with its own unique advantages and visual appeal. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most popular laying patterns for paving slabs.
When it comes to choosing the right laying pattern for your paving slabs, there are a few key factors to consider. One of the most important factors is the size and shape of the slabs themselves. Some laying patterns work better with larger slabs, while others are better suited for smaller or irregularly shaped slabs. It’s also important to consider the overall style and aesthetic of your outdoor space, as well as the intended use of the area.
Another important factor to consider is the level of difficulty involved in installing the chosen laying pattern. Some patterns, such as the running bond or stretcher bond pattern, are relatively easy to install and can be completed by most DIY enthusiasts. Other patterns, such as the herringbone pattern, may require more advanced skills and equipment. It’s important to be realistic about your own abilities and to seek professional help if needed.
In addition to the laying pattern itself, there are also a variety of different materials and finishes to consider when choosing paving slabs. Natural stone, such as slate or sandstone, is a popular choice for its durability and timeless beauty, but it can have minor inconsistencies with dimensions and therefore tends to suit more random patterns. Porcelain paving on the other hand, is far more dimensionally precise and works well where a formal pattern is desirable. When choosing a paving pattern, it's important to consider the type of paving material that works best with each pattern. Different materials can complement different patterns and can create different looks and feels in your outdoor space. Let's take a closer look at some of the most popular paving materials and the laying patterns that work well with each.
Natural Stone: Natural stone works well with a variety of laying patterns and can create different looks depending on the pattern chosen. For a traditional look, consider a random mixed size pattern. With premixed patio packs, the slab sizes are cut to ensure they work together in a mixed pattern. For a more contemporary look, consider a stretcher bond or stack bond pattern.
Concrete: Concrete paving slabs are versatile choice. Concrete can create different looks depending on the finish chosen. One of the most popular looks with a concrete paver is a simple stack bond pattern, similar to a checkerboard. Some packs are premixed to enable a random layout to be used.
Clay bricks and block paving: Clay brick and block paving is a classic choice that provides a timeless look and feel. They work well with a selection of laying patterns and can create different looks depending on the pattern chosen. For a traditional look, consider a herringbone pattern or a basketweave pattern with a red brick. For a more contemporary look, consider a random pattern or a stretcher bond pattern with a grey or black brick.
Porcelain: Porcelain paving lends itself to simple and elegant laying patterns. Options such as stretcher bond and stack bond are most popular with porcelain and offer a contemporary choice. Using a random mix is less common with porcelain paving, party due to the way in which porcelain is manuafactured in colour batches making it more difficult and time consuming to create a batch of the same colour porcelain across all sizes within the mix.
In addition to the paving material, the laying pattern you choose can also have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of your outdoor space. Here are some examples of the types of looks that different laying patterns can create:
Traditional: If you're looking for a traditional look, consider a random mixed pattern, especially using a natural stone material such as Indian sandstone or limestone. These patterns have a classic, timeless feel that works well with natural stone.
Contemporary: For a more contemporary look, consider a stretcher bond or stack bond pattern. These patterns are more formal, simple and elegant and wok well with porcelain paving materials.
Some of the most popular paving patterns are detailed below:
Running Bond or Stretcher Bond Pattern
The running bond pattern (sometimes known as stretcher bond, offset or half-bond) is one of the most popular laying patterns for paving slabs. This pattern involves laying the slabs in a staggered formation, with each row offset by half the length of the slab. Some paving such as longer linerar styles are usually offset by a third of the preceding row. This creates a classic look that is easy to install and works well with almost any design style. The running bond pattern is ideal for creating long, straight paths or walkways and creates a simple, contemporary appearance. For added interest, use different width paving across different rows to create a more textured appearance or break up a larger expanse by using linear planks in between the rows. Alternatively, lay alternating sizes within each row, for example alternate a 900x600 with a 600x600.
The random pattern involves laying paving slabs in a completely random formation, with no set pattern or direction, although in many cases it's possible to follow a pattern to still give a random appearance. This creates a natural, organic look that is perfect for creating a relaxed and informal outdoor space. The random pattern is ideal for creating a garden path or for use in areas where a more natural look is desired. If using a completely random pattern, then there are a few rules of thumb that should be adhered to. Firstly, always distribute the sizes evenly across the area to be paved to ensure they are thoroughly mixed rather than having an accumulation of one of the sizes in a single area. It is always good practice to avoid 'cross-joints' where the corner of four slabs join in one place to form a cross. Cross-joints are generally considered to be poor workmanship by the paving profession. Finally, even though a random pattern is being followed, it's important that joint widths are consistent. It's a good idea to 'dry-lay' some paving slabs before setting them on mortar to get a feel for the width that works with the paving pattern. Once of the best products to use with a random pattern is natural Indian sandstone or limestone paving as these are most often available in mixed patio packs ready for installing. These are manufactured with specific sized slabs deigned to tesselate together. When laying paving with a random pattern, it's possible to either cut the edges to fit your patio design or alternatively, one idea that works well with sandstone paving is to leave a staggered edge and then incorporate a border planting scheme with a pebble and cobble mix around the perimeter.
You will find a handy laying pattern as a downloadable link on each of the mixed size paving packs we offer. In addition, we have a quick link to each of the random paving layout guides at the bottom of this page.
Stack Bond Patio Laying Pattern
The stack bond paving pattern is a simple and modern laying pattern that involves laying paving slabs in a straight, vertical alignment. In a stack bond pattern, the edges of each paving slab are aligned with the edges of the adjacent slab, creating a neat and uniform appearance. One of the benefits of the stack bond pattern is its simplicity. The pattern is easy to install and requires minimal cutting of the paving slabs, which can save time and money during the installation process. Additionally, the stack bond pattern works well with a variety of paving materials, including concrete, natural stone, and porcelain. While the stack bond pattern is a simple and modern choice, it is important to note that it may not be the best option for all outdoor spaces. The pattern can create a strong, linear look that works well with contemporary or minimalist designs, but may not be the best choice for more traditional or ornate styles. Due to the stong lines with a stack bond pattern, any irregularities will be very noticeable. The stack bond pattern works best when used with paving slabs that are uniform in size and shape, as any variation in size can disrupt the straight lines. The stack bond pattern is often referred to as a checkerboard design as it's most commonly used with square paving slabs that are aligned with each other, however it can also be used with large format rectangular slabs for a very contemporary styled appearance.
The basketweave pattern is a classic design that involves laying pairs of paving slabs in alternating directions. This creates a grid-like pattern that resembles a woven basket. The basketweave pattern works well with traditional or rustic design styles and is ideal for creating a focal point in outdoor spaces. Although there's no reason why this pattern cannot be used with paving slabs, it's generally seen more frequently with block paving or clay pavers.
The herringbone pattern is another popular option for paving slabs. This pattern involves laying the slabs at a 45-degree angle to create a zigzag pattern. The slabs are typically laid in pairs, with each pair forming a "V" shape. This creates a strong, stable surface that is perfect for driveways or high-traffic areas. The herringbone pattern also adds visual interest and texture to outdoor spaces. Due to the layout of a herringbone pattern, it's usual practice to use paving slabs where the width dimension is half of the length dimension, for example, 600x300 or 200x100mm, however it can also be used with paving where the dimensions are in thirds, for example 900x300 or 300x100mm.
In conclusion, choosing the right laying pattern for your paving slabs is an important decision that can have a significant impact on the look and feel of your outdoor space. By considering factors such as the type of paving material, the level of difficulty involved in installation, and the overall style and aesthetic of your outdoor space, you can find the perfect laying pattern to enhance the beauty and functionality of your outdoor space.