So far I have written price guides for fence installation, laying new turf as well as laying artificial turf, but the time has come to explain how much you should expect to pay a professional landscape gardener to lay a new patio compared to the cost of laying the paving slabs yourself. Of course there are many factors that you need to include which includes the cost of labor, materials and the paving slabs themselves to create your lovely new patio so I’ll try my best to break everything down as best I can!
Do I need to pay a professional to lay my patio or can I do it myself?
I created this website to give my honest advice on everything gardening, from a professional landscape gardener like myself and one thing I am not going to do is tell everyone that you must pay a professional to do the work if you don’t have to! The truth is that if you are a hands on person and know your way around some basic tools, then the chances are that you can do it. Sure you might not be as fast as someone that does it day in and day out for a living, but the money saved and satisfaction upon completing the work may just be worth it. If worst comes to the worse then you can always stop what you are doing and give a professional a call to take over…at least you tried!
When I first started landscape gardening at 16 years of age, I was a laborer mixing up the required cement for the professional to lay the patio, and even then I didn’t really take any of it in! It all looked so simple, so much so that when the time came to do the work myself I actually (for lack of a better word) aced it! It really wasn’t that hard at all. I think a lot of it comes down to confidence really.
I have actually written a step by step tutorial showing how you can lay your own patio yourself which you can see by clicking here.
How much should I expect to pay in materials for my patio?
When working out the cost of materials needed to lay your paving slabs, remember it’s not just the paving slabs themselves that you need to take into consideration. There is also the type 1 MOT, sand and cement as well as the cost of waste when digging out and removing the earth or old paving flag stones where you new patio is to be laid. On all of my price guides, I try to work everything out at the end to a cost per squared meter which will allow you to easily work out what you should expect to pay. Lets have a look below.
- Paving slabs – We manage to get these from approximately £400 for a pallet of 20 squared meters (Indian sandstone which is the most popular at the moment). This works out to £20 per squared meter.
- Type 1 MOT – We would typically lay 2 bulk bags of type 1 MOT per 10 squared meters of patio as a sub base. At approximately £50 per bulk bag, this works out to £10 per squared meter.
- Sharp sand – Like the type 1 MOT, we would lay a similar amount at the same cost, working out to £10 per squared meter.
- Cement – We get through 4 bags of cement per bulk bag of sharp sand. At £5 per bag of cement, this means that it works out to £4 per squared meter.
- Waste – The most cost effective way of removing earth is by using a skip. When we take the waste away in the van we use a weigh bridge which works out a lot more expensive compared to using a skip due to the weight. We get through an 8 yard skip per 25 squared meters at £280 per skip, which works out to £11 per squared meter.
Looking at the above, you should expect to pay a total of £65 per squared meter in materials. Of course in theory, this would be correct (approximately anyway) but you need to take into consideration that you may need a smaller skip for smaller jobs, or you may need to dig out a considerable amount of more earth compared to the example above if you have a raised ground which would mean more skips will need to be purchased. But hopefully the above gives you a better understanding at the very least!
If I were to lay the patio myself, which tools do I need and how much will they cost?
See below the tools needed to lay your new paving slabs. The main reason for doing this is so that we can compare this to the cost of labor when paying a professional to do the work for you, who will of course bring his own tools to complete the work. The prices I have included are for budget tools since you won’t be using them over and over again. It would be financially unviable to purchase heavy duty equipment with a high price tag if you are only going to use them for a one off job when laying your new patio.
- Spade to dig the ground £10
- Wheel barrow to move the earth £25
- Cement mixer to mix the sand and cement which can be hired from £5 per day (purchased from £130)
- Rubber mallet for tapping the paving slabs into place £5
- Tape measure for measuring the area of where the new patio will be laid £5
- A set of spirit levels to help with the laying of paving slabs £40
- 9″ angle grinder to cut the paving stones £60
- A wacker plate for tampering the type 1 MOT down which can be renting from £30 per day although if it’s a small project in your back garden (won’t be driven on etc.) then you may get away with using a hand held tamper at £30. Of course a wacker plate is preferable.
- Allow an extra £50 for bits and pieces such as a bucket, trowels, hand brush, rake, PPE equipment (goggles, ear muffs, gloves) etc.. You can find out more on our full guide on how to lay a patio yourselves using the link above.
Looking at the tools needed, you should expect to pay £230 at the very least, or a bit more if you choose to purchase a cement mixer compared to hiring one. If you need to break any old concrete then you will need to purchase a cheap breaker (also known as a kango) from around £180. You can look at our full guide giving advice on how to break up and remove your old concrete by clicking here.
How much labour should I expect to pay a landscape gardener to lay a new patio?
Some professionals choose to charge per squared meter where as others like myself charge by the day, but I can only give advice on how I price my jobs up. Everyone is different but hopefully it gives you a better idea on labor costs.
To start, this work requires two of us. Our prices have recently gone up, but typically we would charge a bare minimum of £20 per hour, per person. This is equal to £40 per hour or £360 per day. This however is what we charge since we run a business on the outskirts of London where the cost of living is much higher compared to other parts of the country where the cost of labor may even be as much as halved. For the sake of this post, I feel it best to work everything out with what we charge, although you can adjust to what you feel should be charged depending on where you live.
If we were to work on a 25 squared meter garden, it would take us 2 days to remove the old earth and lay the type 1 MOT ready for paving, and another 2 days to lay the 25 squared meters of paving. Although it’s always best to add an extra day to be safe, so lets say that the total work would take us 5 days to complete. For this particular garden, you would expect to pay £1600 in labour. If we were asked to price this up on a ‘per squared meter’ basis then we would typically tell the customer that it would cost £64 per squared meter of patio laid in addition to materials.
How much will it cost to have a new patio laid in total?
Lets compare the cost of laying paving stones yourself to having a professional landscape gardener lay the paving stones for you.
Total cost of installing a new patio yourself per squared meter
With no labor costs to pay, you should only expect to pay around £65 per squared meter in all materials unless more expensive paving slabs are purchased so be sure to shop around. Remember to add the cost of tools too which is around £230 at a bare minimum. So £65 per squared meter plus £230 in tools.
Total cost of having a professional landscape gardener come and lay the paving slabs
With materials of £65 per squared meter and a labor charge of £64 per squared meter, this comes in at £129 per squared meter which is literally double! Please bare in mind that the labor charges can change drastically depending on where you live.
Is there more involved to having a new patio installed than you thought? Most probably yes. But a well maintained patio will give you many years of happy memories and as the years go by, the cost of having your new paving slabs laid won’t seem like such a large outlay and in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not.
Remember, we have lots of guides on patios such as how to prevent weeds from growing to full guides on how to install your new paving flag stones yourself so be sure to have a look through our website and subscribe to be notified when we post something new. Please don’t take what I wrote above literally as I can only give advice on the way that I do business, but I do hope that it gives a better understanding of what’s involved and if you get a quote with no mention of type 1 MOT, at least now you know to question the professional and show that you do actually understand what’s involved.