First mark out the area that you are going to lay paving slabs on. Next dig out the area to a depth of 200mm (8 inches) below the finished level. Remember to allow at least 150mm depth below any damp proof areas if you are laying the paving up against a house wall.
Make sure you allow for any water to fall away from any buildings the paving slabs are laid against. If you are laying a stone base stone first then level around and then compact with a heavy roller or whacker plate.
Always start to lay the paving slabs at a straight-edged corner. It is sometimes advisable to dry lay the flags first to check the paving pattern and design is correct before you bed the slabs on cement.
Lay the slabs on a cement mix of 4/5 parts sharp sand to 1 part cement. Spot bedding should never be used for natural stone paving, as the flag will not be sufficiently supported.
Once the paving slabs are in place, each slab can be levelled by tapping them down gently, either with a rubber mallet or by using the wooden end of a hammer. Continually check the levels and falls of the paving slabs during the laying process.
Place a spirit level across the top surface profile of a number of flags at a time. Check to see if the fall is correct and that water will run off the paving. Using a string line will help with longer laying lengths and help keep the paving slabs in a straight line.
Once you have finished laying the paving slabs it is important that you point all the joints of the paving to make the paved area watertight and strong. Use a slightly wetter mix than the one that the slabs were laid on to point the paving.
Take care not to spill the cement on the surface of the slabs to avoid staining the paving slabs. If you do spill any cement on the surface of the slabs wipe clean immediately with a clean cloth.
Once the work has been completed you should allow the paving slabs to dry for at least 48 hours before walking on the slabs. This will allow the mortar to strengthen sufficiently. Finish by sweeping off the area and checking the area for any faults in the paving.
Sit back and admire.