A garden needs paths and areas where you can, for. B. can set up a garden seating area. If you want these surfaces to look as natural as possible, a covering with natural stone slabs is a possible option. Here you get an initial overview with instructions on how to lay natural stone slabs in the garden.

Preparing the laying of natural stone slabs

The best-known natural stone slabs are called polygonal slabs, these popular, very natural-looking natural stone slabs are made from quartzite, sandstone or limestone. Depending on the stone, the colors are slightly different, and when choosing the natural stone slabs you would have to decide whether you would prefer rough or smoothly sawn surfaces.

In the normal case in which the natural stone slabs in the garden are to be walked on by pedestrians, this is only one difference that affects the appearance. However, if you want to lay out natural stone slabs on an area that wheelbarrows should constantly drive on and which is within hearing range of the house, you should test the difference in noise beforehand on a sample surface, rough natural stone is much louder when it is driven on.

When you have found the right natural stone slabs, you can have the dealer calculate your requirements if you have a plan with the dimensions of the paved area with you. You should also choose the curbs to match the natural stone slabs if you want to decorate your pavement with a curb later. These kerbstones are often chosen in a contrasting color, or in different sizes for laying in a different pattern, for example. These curbs must then be calculated separately.

You should think about in good time where the pallets with the stones should be placed before you have the natural stone slabs delivered. It is usually recommended to use stones from different pallets alternately when laying, because the stones on one pallet can vary in color from the stones of the next, so you have to get to all of the pallets.

Prepare the base course and sand bed for laying

The installation area is now marked, on which the substrate is prepared for installation:

  • They excavate the existing topsoil in a certain layer thickness.
  • How thick (deep) this layer has to be depends on the planned load on the surface; it starts at around 20 centimeters.
  • This so-called base course is filled with a gravel-sand mixture or a crushed stone mixture on surfaces that are driven on.
  • The base course must be permeable to water in any case, with a slight slope away from the building or to the sides so that any water can run off.
  • This base course must then be pulled straight or horizontally (up to the planned slope).
  • Then it is carefully compacted with a vibrator or a roller so that no moisture can accumulate here later.
  • The moisture that occurs on the base layer must either be prevented from penetrating from the start or at least drain off well.
  • If you fail to create such a base course, this could later lead to frost damage to the paved surface or to efflorescence on the slabs.
  • If the installation area is only lightly loaded, the base layer can be correspondingly thinner.
  • However, stability and water permeability should also be guaranteed here, so it is best to consult your dealer about the necessary substructure.
  • If desired, the outer edges of the paved area can then be edged with an edge fastening.
  • The bed is now applied to the base layer, around 3 centimeters of sand with a grain size of 0 to 2 mm.
  • This installation bed is then also pulled off to a certain height.

Instructions for laying natural stone slabs in the garden

Polygonal slabs look most natural when they are laid in a wild bond, i.e. simply “following the nature of the stone” without a specific pattern. This installation is therefore also the most popular and is described below:

  • You start with three polygonal plates that can be joined and laid in such a way that there is a joint of at least one centimeter.
  • These three stones are laid at the beginning of the area with the front sides facing each other, the rear parts remain free for the connecting stones.
  • Laying polygonal slabs is a bit like a puzzle, stone by stone is laid where the most beautiful joint emerges.
  • But don’t be too picky, otherwise a polygonal plate puzzle will turn into a tedious occupation, a little irregularity in the joints will look natural.
  • When the next plates have been inserted, each individual plate is then tapped firmly with a rubber mallet.
  • If you notice during laying that the height of the bed is incorrect, you should remove the stones again and align the bed.
  • You do this by removing a little sand or adding some of the sand you used for the installation bed.
  • More than knocking with a rubber mallet is not necessary with polygonal plates, the plates should not be “disturbed” with a vibrating plate.
  • Your puzzle skills will fail at the edges, this is where the panels have to be cut to size.
  • The natural stone slabs are best cut with a diamond saw blade.

Fill the joints of the natural stone slabs

After laying the surface, the joints are filled:

  • A joint filling without binding is recommended for laying in a sand bed with the joint widths described here.
  • The joints are filled with sand or quartz sand, which should have a grain size of 0 to 2 millimeters.
  • Solid grouting is also possible, which is brought in with epoxy resin two-component mortar.
  • Such a fixed jointing has the advantage that no plants can settle in the joints.
  • In addition, the fixed joint prevents the joints from slowly emptying through washing or sweeping.
  • However, such a joint is not really natural and ecological, e.g. B. the water drainage is obstructed.
  • An increased amount of water at the edges can also lead to difficulties.
  • In addition, with natural stone slabs, the goal today is often that vegetation settles in the joints.
  • After a short time, such a natural stone surface looks as if it has graced the garden for a very long time.
  • If this vegetation gets too high, it is simply trimmed with the lawnmower.

Clean the laying surface

Usually, during unpacking and processing, you will discover discoloration on some of the plates, which comes from the protection placed between the individual natural stone plates. This is usually no cause for complaint or concern, this discoloration disappears either when the surfaces dry out or when the surfaces are used later. Perhaps they will go away if you give the installation surface a final thorough cleaning after installation, which is now your turn anyway.

The normal polygonal plate is best cleaned simply with a broom and then with water and a scrubbing brush or mop. This is definitely enough after laying, but this cleaning is basically also sufficient if leaves or fruits have later left tannic acid stains on the natural stone slabs. They may not go away right away, but they will definitely go over time, the sun is a powerful natural bleaching agent.

Beware of patio cleaners or patio cleaner concentrates that promise to clean the natural stone slabs automatically, the only substance that cleans automatically is water, if you give it enough time to dissolve dirt by soaking.

The terrace cleaners, on the other hand, clean with aggressive substances, often with bleaching agents such as sodium hypochlorite, which is usually referred to as “active chlorine” on the packaging. Sodium hypochlorite is not a completely harmless substance, it reacts with numerous substances and then likes to explode, if you inhale vapors, your mucous membranes are attacked, in reactions with other substances or exposure to sunlight, chlorine gas or chlorine is released, and what happens in the long run with your natural stone slabs or the plants next to it cannot be predicted exactly (even if the plates are sure to be super clean at first).

Please be very careful before you “start” with any type of cleaner on your natural stone slabs, actually all cleaners contain some chemical compounds that can damage certain types of stone. If you are dealing with unusual and really annoying contamination, you should obtain a (written) statement from the manufacturer to be on the safe side about what he recommends against this contamination.

The variety of natural stone slabs

In addition to the polygonal slabs, there are many other natural stone slabs that can be laid in the garden. Natural stone slabs are made from all natural stones that have sufficient strength, especially gneiss and granite, basalt, quartzite and porphyry, sandstone and slate; by the way, it is the oldest form of paving that exists. These stones offer you a wide variety of colors and surface structures and you can choose from many different plate sizes.

Basically, all of these natural stone slabs are laid in a similar way to the polygonal slabs, but the sizes and shapes result in some differences, which the dealer will tell you about when you buy the slabs.

Notes on purchasing natural stone slabs

The natural stones that have been created over a long period of time and can only be processed into panels with a certain amount of effort are certainly a bit more expensive than industrially manufactured concrete stones, but here you also acquire a stone that is very color-stable and durable. Natural stone is easy to care for, insensitive to dirt and resilient, and it is usually non-slip even when wet, but it can be different with polished stones.

If you are offered natural stone slabs very cheaply, you should exercise a healthy distrust. In many countries natural stones are mined by children, a dangerous and cruelly difficult job for children, and then exported to Germany. If you want to be sure that you do not come across such natural stones, you have to request certificates that prove correct mining. Trustworthy certificates are awarded by Xertifix, www.xertifix.de and Fair Stone, www.fairstone.win–win.de. If you enter “natural stone” in the search field at www.earthlink.de, you will find more information, including a comparison of the social seals offered in Germany for natural stones and natural stone products.

If you want to get natural stone slabs very inexpensively, but without harming children, you should contact dealers who have historical building materials in their range, in many cases you will find an interesting selection of natural stones.


Natural stone slabs are noble, long-lasting and decorative, they can be laid by any somewhat experienced do-it-yourselfer and very quickly acquire a natural look, especially with open joints. The only thing that is not cheap to buy is if you cannot find a dealer who sells old natural stone slabs.

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