How to handle sandy soil before paving a patio

Posted on: 13 January 2016

When paving a patio in your garden, one of the most important things to be aware of is how the soil under the patio will affect your paving. It's possible to correct most soils enough to make sure you get an even surface for your paving needs, but you need to be aware of what kind of soil you have in your garden to begin with. If you've performed a soil test and found out the soil in your garden is sandy, this makes paving a little more complicated, but fully possible. You just need to take extra care in preparing the soil for the paving.


Mind the weather when you start performing the excavating for your paving. It's important for all soil types to not be exposed to bad weather when being prepared for paving, but for sandy soils in particular, you need to prepare it under optimal conditions. If it's raining, the sand will become too heavy and trap moisture underneath your patio, which can cause cracking and unwanted mould problems. If it's too sunny, you're going to have an even harder time levelling the already very dry soil enough to create a flat surface for your patio.


When you've excavated the soil down to an appropriate level for your paving purposes, you need to make sure to make the sand as compact as possible. To start off, you can water the sand slightly. You don't want to end up with mud or with water puddles, as this would be like performing the excavation while it's raining, but just make the soil more malleable. You then need to go over the soil with a vibraplate to make sure it's settling properly. For other types of soil, a roller is sufficient to flatten and make it compact, but sand needs more than just being pressed down to create a stable foundation.

Landscaper's fabric

A last step before carrying on with the paving is to put down a sheet of landscaper's fabric on top of the soil. The main purpose of this is to stop weeds to grow in the soil, as they could penetrate the layers of paving on top over time. It also helps with preventing settling in the soil. Settling soil would make your patio uneven, and you would have to dig it up entirely to correct it, which means starting the whole process all over again. Make sure you also put the fabrics around the edges of the hole and not just in the bottom.