Setting Out

The first step in constructing a successful patio is accurate setting out, to make this task easier you will need the following items:

Fencing pins (Steel marker pins or thin wooden stakes)
Brick Line (Thin nylon string)
Spray-line (Marking paint)
Tape measure
Large right angle
Scale ruler, paper, etc

You must first have the shape of you patio drawn on paper with all dimensions marked. Accurate measurements will help you order the correct amount of materials, which will save wasted time and money. The drawing should be to scale so that measurements can be taken directly from the drawing and marked out on the ground. You must mark as many measurements as possible on your drawing including the boundaries of the site e.g. Fences, Walls, etc.

Now you’ve drawn your project out on paper it's time to start setting out. Start your setting out with a right angle away from a fixed point, for example a house wall. A simple way to do this is using the 3,4,5 method shown and described below. First put a fencing pin at the end of a wall or door. Put a second pin 3 meters away from the first pin along the same wall. Attached a piece of string to the first pin with a mark 4 metres along its length. Take this piece of string away from the house wall at approximately ninety degrees. Then measure between the second pin and the 4 metre mark on the string adjust the position of the 4m string until you have 5m between both points.

This will establish your first right angle, which will provide a starting point for your project. This line can be continued to establish the first edge of the patio area. You can then use this method to establish any of the straight lines need to mark out you patio area, as shown below. It can also be used to establish the centre point of any circles and curves.

We can now start to set out any feature with set radii, simply by establishing the centre of the circle or curve and placing a fencing pin at that point. Then attach a piece of string to the pin with a mark set at the desired radius, then mark the curve with spray-line as shown below.

When setting out uneven curves a different method is necessary. Firstly set out a right angle line running across, but a short distance away from the area where the curve is to be marked out, as shown below. When this line has been established using fencing pins and brick line you can then mark points along the length of the string at 300mm centres. Then at right angles away from the line you can start to plot the curve by measuring away from the line. For this method to be successful your drawing must be to scale i.e 1:50 or 1:100 are normal scales for small gardens. This will allow you to take measurements from the drawing and directly plot them on the ground.