Paving all shapes and sizes

The best ways to cope with an irregularly sized or shaped patio

Concrete patio slab systems are designed to be as easy to use as possible, with a variety of different sizes usually available with the same surface texture.

York stone is a prime example of this, with a large number of differently sized square and rectangular paving slabs available to suit the size of the area you are trying to cover, and to allow you to lay in a particular pattern.

But what do you do when you have an irregular area to cover - one that is not obviously suited to the sizes available, or does not have straight edges?

Making the cut

The obvious solution is to cut full-sized slabs to fit into the remaining spaces, once you've finished laying your patio from the middle outwards.

Although it means making more cuts, you should avoid having one edge made of full slabs and one made of half-slabs, as this can look uneven.

One approach is to score the surface of the slab at the cutting line, and then use a rubber mallet to tap off the unwanted portion.

However, you might understandably want to fill the area without the need for cuts - and with plenty of sizes of paving slab to choose from, you should be able to get partway there simply by selecting your sizes carefully.

Mind the gap

One solution many people miss is simply to take advantage of the wavy-edged patio slabs in the York stone design.

These are designed to have an irregular-looking join between neighbouring slabs - and that gives you some important wriggle room in your laying pattern.

Depending on the size of your patio as a whole, the size of the slabs you are using, and how close you are to filling the space without needing to cut half-slabs, simply increasing the size of the joins slightly could help you out.

Fill in between the slabs with mortar, sand or loose gravel, depending on the finished appearance you'd prefer, and you can actually achieve quite a lot of overall size variation, without the joins looking odd.

Over the edge

Finally, ask yourself whether a straight edge is necessary, or whether you could get away with leaving the edge of your patio slightly irregular.

An irregular edge bordering on to a bed of wildflowers can look rustic and rural, while it's often easier to fill in round the edge with gravel than to think about trying to cut slabs to the perfect size.

Whatever the size or shape of area you're trying to cover, there's a solution that will give the effect you desire - and for areas with curved edges, you can even use Rotunda segments as a way of enclosing the area without any straight edges.