Patios have become a must-have feature for homes across the country as they help create a low-maintenance space that’s not dependent on the weather or season, and easily extends the living space of your home. It’s a great place to relax with a good book, dine out, set up the barbecue, and chat with friends. Better still, a quality patio will improve the value of your home.

However, even the most perfectly-laid patio needs a little TLC to keep it looking its best. With a little care, your patio will not only look as good as the day it was laid, but it will also last longer, too. As experts who install patios and driveways day-in, day-out, we know exactly what it takes to keep a patio in top condition for decades. Read on for some of our best tips to help you extend the lifespan of your patio.


How can I increase the lifespan of my patio?


Most patios need more than a monthly bucket of water and some dish soap to keep them looking their best, so here are a few simple cleaning tips to help you increase your patio’s lifespan:


1. Thoroughly sweep your patio every other week or so. This will remove all the dirt and debris while preventing moss and algae from building up.Sweeping the patio


2. Jet wash your patio on a low setting, ideally using patio cleaner attachment (if your patio has been sealed, check with sealant care information before you use a jet wash) to remove ingrained dirt. If you’ve ever seen jet washing videos online, you’ll know just how satisfying this can be! If you don’t own a jet wash and don’t want to invest in one, a local handyman (or woman) will be able to do this for you regularly.Jetwash cleaning


3. Use a vinegar wash to get rid of stubborn patches. Mix water and white vinegar in a 1:1 ratio, with more vinegar for stubborn stains. Pour the mixture and let it work for 30 to 60 minutes before scrubbing at stubborn patches and rinsing to clear away debris.Vinegar Wash


4. Keep an eye out for weeds growing in the cracks of your paving and pull them out. If you use a weedkiller, ensure that it has been specifically developed for this use to avoid your patio from becoming stained or discoloured. If you find plants growing up through cracks and joins, make sure you repair them so they cannot continue to do so. You’d be surprised how tough weeds can be, and they can cause more damage over time.Weeds growing


5. Treat your patio with a specialist cleaner, depending on how quickly your patio gets dirty.Specialist Patio cleaner


6. Move your furniture from time to time. If you have furniture, pots, or anything else on your patio, move it around regularly or put it away in your shed or garage when it’s not in use, if possible. This will ensure you don’t get algae build-up and other moisture issues under your furniture and decor.Move your furniture from time to time


7. Seal (or reseal) your paving. Before you do this, check with your paving supplier and ensure you have the correct sealant as there are different sealants suitable for different types of paving. You won’t need to do this often; an application of paver sealer should last you between three and five years.Pave Sealing


8. You may also need to repoint the patio slabs if they come loose. This involves removing residue of the jointing compound around the loose paver with a hammer and chisel, then refilling the gaps with fresh joining compound, grout or mortar. It’s best to outsource this job as it takes knowledge of paving to do well.Repoint the patio slabs


9. Avoid using harsh de-icers and chemicals, as these can harm the sealant or even discolour your paving. If you need to de-ice your patio, salt is the safest way to do so. If you have snow, avoid using a metal shovel to move it off your patio as you may accidentally scratch your paving stones.Snowing patio

Cleaning, washing, and sweeping your patio is an excellent way to prevent moss and weed growth and should be done three to four times a year at a minimum. While these are all great ways to extend the lifespan of your patio, it’s worth noting that some of the best ways to ensure your patio lasts is to have it installed properly. If your patio is past the point of repair, it may be time to think about having it replaced.

A new patio will ensure you can safely use your patio, increase your satisfaction with your home and garden, and increase the value of your home, so it’s well worth the investment (click here to find out more about how much your new patio may cost). We specialise in hardscaping and so we know the value of good preparation. The best thing you can do to extend the lifespan of your patio is to ensure the right drainage is installed and quality, hard-wearing paving is used. A quality sealant can seal the deal and ensure you don’t find yourself weeding your patio after just a few months of it being installed.


Patio Experts in Essex

Whether you’ve just moved to Essex and are ready to give your new garden a makeover or simply want to give your patio a new lease of life, SE Landscapes is here to help. We install garden paving that will transform the appearance of your entire home. Every patio we install is uniquely designed to match each client’s requirements and suit their garden’s surroundings.

Choose from slate, natural stone, block paving, brick paving, porcelain, Indian sandstone, York stone, concrete slabs/flags, cobbles, and many more. We also offer a wide range of colour options, so all you need to do is tell our team your requirements, and we will make your dream garden a reality. Click here to find out more about our patio and paving services.



How to Lay Block Paving: A Step-by-Step Guide



Step 1: Quotation

Upon making contact with us, we will arrange for a convenient time that suits you to conduct a full site survey of the existing driveway and surrounding grounds.

Our driveway expert will discuss in detail your requirements to ensure your vision is realised. We’ll discuss design details and help you to consider the various types of block paving that will enhance your property and its surroundings.

We’ll also look at technical things such as falls and levels and assess whether drainage will be required to ensure it is compliant with regulations.

A full written no obligation quotation and works schedule will be provided.



Step 2: Excavation

The first stage of the construction process is to carefully excavate the existing driveway. Depending upon the thickness of the chosen block paving, this typically means excavating to a depth of 230mm below the finished height of the new driveway. This allows for 150mm of MOT Type 1 to form the sub-base, followed by a 30mm compacted sharp sand laying course onto which block paving is laid.

Excavated materials are usually removed from the site using a grab lorry. The HIAB crane of a grab lorry can quickly and easily remove large amounts of excavated material quickly and efficiently. The material is often recycled to create crushed concrete or topsoil to prevent the unnecessary filling of landfill sites.



Step 3: Installation of Weed Membrane

weed membrane for block paving installation

A weed membrane is employed to stabilise the ground and prevent the contamination of the existing sub-grade. As the name suggests, the weed membrane also prevents weeds from growing through your driveway whilst allowing water to pass through the membrane to the sub-grade below.



Step 4: Installation of Sub-Base

compacted driveway sub base type1

A sub-base consisting of MOT Type 1 granite is installed to a minimum depth of 150mm. Layers of no more than 75mm are individually laid, compacted and levelled to ensure proper compaction of the sub-base.

For large areas or where heavy vehicular access is required, a vibrating roller is used to ensure adequate compaction.



Step 5: Installation of Edge Restraints

Edge restraints act as a frame for your driveway and are set on a bed of concrete to prevent lateral movement or the rotation of the blocks under load. The edge restraint also provides a retaining edge for the compacted sharp sand laying course.



Step 6: Installation of Drainage System

drivelinedrain_block paving driveway

To ensure that your driveway complies with the SUDS (sustainable drainage system) legislation, linear drainage systems and/or soakaways may need to be installed depending upon site conditions. A properly designed drainage system will provide effective management of surface water run-off.



Step 7: Installation of Recessed Manhole Covers

recessed manhole covers block paved driveway

Where necessary, existing manholes are replaced with galvanised recessed manhole covers.  These covers allow for block paving to be installed directly into the manhole cover continuing the pattern of the surrounding paving. This helps the manholes to blend seamlessly into the driveway whilst still allowing access using the concealed lifting handles.



Step 8: Installation of Sharp Sand Laying Course

laying course for block paving installation

The laying course material will consist of 30mm of well-graded sharp (grit) sand to comply with the grading given in BS7533:Part 3:2005. The laying course is screeded and then compacted to create a smooth, even and flowing surface on which to lay the blocks.



Step 9: Laying of Block Paving

laying block paving on a driveway

Once the laying course has been prepared, the block paving can be laid to the chosen pattern directly onto the compacted sand. If you have had multiple packs delivered to site, it’s vital that you take blocks evenly from all packs as you go. This ensures that the colours of the blocks blend in seamlessly as it is possible for slight variations in colour from pack to pack.

Necessary cuts are carried out using a cut-off saw or grinder.

Once the driveway has been laid, a vibrating plate compactor is run over the entire area to compact the driveway.



Step 10: Application of Weed-Free Kiln-Dried Joining Sand

joining sand for driveway

Once all the cutting-in has been completed, and the compliance checks carried out, a fine dry sand, known as ‘kiln-dried sand is used to fill the joints. The sand locks together the blocks of the driveway. We recommend using weed-free joining sand as it helps to prevent weed growth on your new driveway.

The blocks are then compacted a final time using a vibration plate to complete the installation.

The jointing sand may settle over the first few weeks and should be topped up as soon as this becomes apparent. A supply of jointing sand will be supplied for your convenience.

A final tidy of the site is carried out and your new driveway can be used immediately.




Block Paving Planning Permission: Do I need it?

driveway block paving planning permission

From 1st October 2008 the permitted development rights that allow householders to pave their front garden for hardstanding without planning permission changed. Planning permission is now required to lay traditional impermeable driveways that allow uncontrolled runoff of rainwater from front gardens onto roads, because this can contribute to flooding and pollution of water courses.

If a new driveway or parking area is constructed using permeable surfaces, such as permeable concrete block paving, or if the water is otherwise able to soak into the ground you will not require planning permission. The new rules will also apply where existing hardstandings are being replaced. The new rules apply to hard surfaces exceeding 5m²

Achieving a well balanced driveway design within the guidelines of the legislation need not be complicated. You simply need to decide how you would like to manage the rainwater that lands on your driveway. If your planned driveway exceeds 5m² you have three options available to you:



Option 1: Direct rainwater to a flower bed or another area of the garden which has been designed to allow water to drain away.

No Planning Permission Required.

This is the most common option taken and involves using linear drainage systems or a driveway channel. It may also involve installing a soakaway underneath part of your lawn. The size of soakaway required will vary depending on a number of factors. SE Landscape Construction Ltd can handle all aspects of assessing the requirements needed and installing the necessary drainage systems to ensure your driveway is fully compliant with the latest legislation.

What types of paving are permitted with option 1?

With this option you have access to the full range of block paving currently on the market.



Option 2: Use permeable paving to allow water to filter through the driveway and drain harmlessly away in the ground below.

No Planning Permission Required.

Permeable paving allows surface water to pass between the blocks into a specially calculated sub-base, which allows the water to drain away in a slow and measured way

What types of paving are permitted with option 2?

With this option you have access to the full range of block paving currently on the market.



Option 3: Do not make any provision for the rain water that falls on your driveway

Planning Permission is Required.

To obtain the necessary planning permission you will need to contact your local planning department. There is a fee to submit a planning application and can take around 8 weeks for a decision to be made. SE Landscape Construction Ltd will not offer advice on seeking planning permission or submit an application on your behalf.

If you are unsure of what the best option is for you, then please do not hesitate to contact us and a member of our team will be more than happy to help you.


What Type of Driveway Surfacing Should You Choose?


driveway in essex

Choosing the best type of driveway surfacing for your property can be a difficult task.

Simply advising you to choose the type of surface that you think would look best isn’t good enough.

That’s because there are many other factors that you should consider before choosing the best type of driveway surface.

Things such as budget, drainage and practicality should all be considered before making a decision.

In this latest blog post, we’ll be looking at the different options you have when it comes to surfacing your driveway and we’ll give you some of the pros and cons of each.

After reading this article, hopefully you’ll be able to make an informed decision that ensures you get the driveway of your dreams.

A new drive has many benefits and its sure to transform and add significant value to any property, large or small.

Let’s start by looking at the different options you have available to you.



What Different Driveway Options Are There?


There are 6 main types of driveway surfacing that are popular within the UK.

Concrete, Tarmac/Asphalt, Loose Gravel, Block Paving, Paving Slabs or Resin Bound Gravel.

Each type of surfacing has a unique look and of course, each varies widely in cost and aesthetic appeal.

Each surface also has its pros and its cons.

So, let’s take a closer look at each type of surface one-by-one.





tarmac essex

Tarmac is probably the cheapest type of driveway surfacing.

Its quick and easy to install which makes it ideal for large driveways and car parks.

However, it’s not always the most attractive of surfaces and may not suit your style of property.

Another issue with Tarmac is that if certain areas begin to dip in places, you’ll find that you continuously have standing water on your driveway as tarmac is not porous.





concrete driveway

Concrete is another low-priced form of driveway surfacing. Its also quick to install.

The downside to concrete though is that staining can be an issue. Once it has been stained by oil it can be extremely difficult to remove.

Then there is also the issue of cracking. If the concrete hasn’t been installed correctly, there is the chance of it cracking. And the cracks will only get worse as time goes on.

Unlike block paving, you can’t easily replace sections of your driveway.

A correctly installed concrete driveway may last over 30 years and it’s also a cost-effective option too.

Rather than just plain concrete, you can make it unique by adding coloured dyes or by using a stencil to imprint patterns in the concrete.



Loose Gravel


gravel driveways essex

Loose gravel is a very popular method for surfacing a driveway.

Its relatively quick and cost effective to install which like, tarmac, makes it ideal for large driveway areas.

Gravel driveways tend to work best for older style properties and countryside homes but with such a wide choice of aggregate available these days, there’s always something that will match your priority whether its traditional or ultra-modern.

Another big benefit of this type of system is that it is fully SUDS compliant. That’s because when laid on a permeable sub base, it will be free draining.

This also saves on the cost of drainage install – which is required for most other types of driveway surfacing.



Block Paving


block paving in essex

For the last 20 years or so, block paving has been the most popular type of driveway surfacing in the UK.

And rightly so as there are many benefits of block paving.

With such a wide range of styles, patterns and colours to choose from, you’re sure to find something that suits your property and its surroundings.

Block paving can also be cost effective too.

Standard blocks start around £10 plus VAT per square metre, but prices can go all the way up to around £60 per square metre for something such as Marshalls Drivesys.

Another great benefit of block paving is that its easy to replace any block that gets stained or cracked in the coming years.

Weeds can also be kept at bay by installing weed free jointing sand to the joins or you could even seal your paving – which has the added benefit of enhancing the lifespan of your driveway too.

Unless you are using permeable block paving, one of the downside to this form of paving is that in the majority of cases you’ll need to install drainage.

This usually involves linear drains and a soakaway, which can add significant cost to your driveway installation.



Paving Slabs


paving slab driveway

Another option for your driveway is paving slabs.

Unfortunately, not every type of paving slab is suitable for vehicular traffic so choose your slab wisely.

But there is still a large variety of paving slab types and colours to choose from that are suitable for driveways.

Paving slabs are not quite as straight forward to replace as block paving and tends to be more expensive than using blocks too.

That’s because each slab needs to be individually laid on a concrete bed, whereas block paving is laid on a compacted bed of sharp sand.

Again, like block paving, you’ll need to ensure that you install adequate drainage to comply with SUDS regulations.



Resin Bound Driveways


Resin bound driveway installation essex

Our last, and often the most expensive type of driveway surfacing, is resin bound gravel.

In recent years this type of surfacing has grown at a quite an astonishing rate.

With such a huge variety of decorative aggregate to choose from, there is a style that will suit any property to create a stunning driveway.

A major benefit of resin bound driveways is that there are completely permeable.

Because you won’t need to install additional drainage, sometimes the cost becomes more in line with block paving, as installing drainage can often be an expensive endeavour.

It’s also UV stabilised to prevent against fading and will last over 20 years if installed correctly.





Marshalls Drivesys Split Stone (Grey Green)

Choosing the best type of surfacing for your driveway is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Hopefully this article has armed you with a better understanding of some of the pros and cons of the different types of driveway surfacing.

The next step would be to contact a local installer to obtain some quotations for your preferred driveway surface.

If you live in the Essex area, why not give us a call on 01245 697 688?

We would be more than happy to visit your property, talk you through the options, show you samples and help you decide on the best driveway surface that not only transforms your property but adds significant value to your home too.

Our many years of experience will ensure that you have a long-lasting driveway that will stand the test of time.

If you have any questions regarding driveway surfacing, then leave us a comment below, we look forward to hearing from you!



How Much Does a Block Paved Driveway in Essex Cost?


block paving cost

How much does bock paving cost, or how much do you charge per square metre for block paving is one of the most common questions we get asked here at SE Landscape Construction.

It’s completely understandable as you need to know whether you have enough in the budget to get the work done.

But, unfortunately answering the question is almost like trying to answer, ‘how long is a piece of string’?

No two jobs are the same and each has its own challenges. Being able to charge a fixed cost per square for every job we undertake is impossible.

We must price our jobs on a case-by-case basis.



A Long-Lasting Driveway is Built on a Solid Foundation


Paving Basildon AfterMany people believe that the main cost involved with block paving are the blocks themselves. In reality, that’s not quite the case.

The costliest part of the job is in the groundworks.

The groundworks are vital in every job we carry out. Why? Because that’s what give your driveway or path its strength. The blocks are just the icing on the cake.

You can have the best paving money can buy, but if the groundworks aren’t completed correctly then your paving will likely fail regardless of the blocks used.

There’s also many have factors we must consider when providing our clients with quotations, which we’ll be exploring later in this article.




How Much Does Block Paving Cost?


To give you an idea or how much it may cost to have your driveway block paved, first we need to take a closer look and some of the factors that need to be considered when installing block paving.

This should help you understand where some of the cost variations may lie.





driveway cost essex

Typically, assuming we are using a standard 50mm thick block, we need to excavate approximately 230mm below the finished height, for a driveway installation.

This allows us to install a 150mm sub base consisting of MOT Type 1, followed by a 30-40mm sharp sand laying course, which the 50mm thick blocks are laid upon (your chosen blocks may be 60mm or even 80mm thick, therefore requiring deeper excavations).

However, the 230mm we need to excavate is below finished height. Therefore, this may mean that we need to excavate more or less than 230mm, depending upon your existing driveway.

For example, if your existing driveway is only one brick course below the damp proof course (DPC) on your property, we would need to excavate further material to ensure that the new driveway complies with the regulations by being two brick courses below the damp proof course.

There are many instances where we may need to dig out +/- 230mm.

Of course, the more we need to excavate from your driveway, the more it will cost to carry out the works.

The less excavations, the cheaper the job will become.



Sub Base Installation


block paved driveway sub base installation

Type 1 Sub Base

As mentioned above, for a typical driveway sub base installation, we need to lay and compact 150mm of MOT Type 1.

Again, like the excavations, more or less may be required depending upon your driveway’s circumstances.

Its very rare that we can use less than 150mm of Type 1 for a driveway but there are several instances that may require more than the standard 150mm.

For example, if your driveway slopes from left to right, across your property, you may wish to raise the right-hand side to create one level across the top of your building.

In the below example, you can see how we raised the right-hand edge by building a retaining wall from concrete blocks to create a more user-friendly level across the top of this driveway.

cost of block paving driveways essex

Of course, the right-hand edge required a base of more than 150mm of Type 1 to obtain the required level.

The amount of Type 1 required for each driveway installation may vary depending on the circumstances and of course this has a bearing on the cost of your block paved driveway.



Paving Choice


The cost of paving, as you might imagine, can vary quite widely depending on the style and quality chosen.

Standard block paving

In the Essex area, standard block paving (i.e. 200mm x 100mm x 50mm) may cost somewhere around £10 plus VAT per square metre.

Marshalls Drivesys Original Cobble

Compare this against the Marshalls Drivesys Original Cobble or Marshalls Drivesys Split Stone, which comes in at around £55 plus VAT per square metre.

For a driveway measuring 60m2, that’s a £2,700 plus VAT difference right there.

Therefore, the paving that you choose has a significant bearing on price.



Access Requirements


Another key factor in the cost of block paving, is dictated by the access you have to your property.

Of course, 90% of driveways in Essex are by the roadside, which usually means that access will to your driveway will be good. The better the access the quicker we can do the job and therefore, the lower the labour costs will be.

Worst case may be that a vehicle no bigger than a standard car can reach your driveway.


This would mean that it could not be accessed by a grab lorry or delivery lorry, resulting in a higher labour cost to move the materials to where they need to be.



Waste Disposal


An average driveway in Essex may measure somewhere around 60m2.

When excavating a minimum of 230mm across the entire driveway area, we’re looking at 13.8m3 of excavations to dispose of.

In nearly all instances, the most cost-effective method of disposing of the hardcore and earth is via a grab lorry.

how much does a driveway cost

A grab lorry in action

Normally a grab lorry can hold around 11m3 of waste and may cost somewhere around £250 plus VAT per load.

When you compare this against an 8yd skip, typically costing somewhere around £200 plus VAT for around 6m3 of waste, you’ll save £150 by using a grab lorry when disposing of more than 6m3 of waste.

It’s quite clear that using grab lorries are a much more cost-effective way of disposing on hardcore and earth.

Although as mentioned above, a grab lorry may not necessarily be able to access your driveway.



Aggregate Delivery Methods


When constructing a block paved driveway, we’ll need to have both MOT Type 1 and Sharp Sand delivered to your property.

This can be done in one of two ways.

It can either come delivered as a ‘loose load’ which is tipped onto your driveway using a tipper vehicle.

Or it can be delivered in bulk bags, which are craned off the delivery vehicle.

Normally for anything more than 12 ton of aggregate, the most cost-effective delivery method for aggregates is via a ‘loose load’.

This is of course because we are not charged for the material to be ‘bagged up’ into bulk bags.

However, for some properties, it may not always be possible to have a loose load delivered.

Access may be too tight for an 8-wheeled lorry or there may be low overhead cables preventing it from tipping.

In this case, bulk bags might just be the only option.



Block Paving Patterns


There is likely different block paving patterns in which your chosen block paving can be laid.

For example, the Marshalls Tegula block paving, a block that we commonly use, can be laid in 14 different patterns

The chosen pattern may also have an impact on price, as some patterns may take longer to lay than others.



Drainage Requirements


Another very important factor to consider is drainage.

Since 2008, its become a legal requirement for every driveway to be SUDS compliant.

Linear Drainage System

It may be possible that your driveway will need a soakaway installed.

Installing a soakaway involves excavating a large hole, lining the base with shingle, installing Aquacell soakaway crates wrapped in weed membrane and back filled.

The additional labour and materials of carrying out these works will of course have a significant bearing on the cost of your block paving.



Driveway Size


Driveways Essex After 5

In general, the bigger the area, the cheaper the cost per square metre.

This is because you benefit from economies of scale and the initial setup costs are similar for 300m2 as they are a 50m2 driveway.

The larger the quantities of material needed, the better the prices our supplies will offer to us.

We can also cover large open areas much quicker than we can a narrow pathway for instance, as there are typically large amounts of cutting required for narrow pathways.



What is a ballpark figure for an average driveway?


As we have explained, it’s impossible to give an accurate quote, without first conducting a site visit, but many of you may still be looking for a rough ballpark figure to know whether you have the budget to have your driveway in Essex block paved.

To help give you an idea, lets assume an average driveway is 60m2.

We’ll also assume that we are using standard block paving, that is to be laid in a 45-degree herringbone pattern, access is good, and we are to excavate 230mm across the entire driveway area.

With this in mind, as a rough guide price, you may be looking at somewhere between £4,000 – £4,500 including VAT.

Obliviously, any of the various factors described above could have a significant impact on the cost, so always bear this in mind when you are obtaining quotes.

Of course, drainage and other costs such as steps, kerbs, retaining walls and other features would be a further cost too.





Block Paving in Essex - After

Hopefully, you’ll now be a little more aware of some of the costs involved with block paved driveways and have learnt that it’s impossible to give someone an accurate quotation without carrying out a site survey.

As reputable block paving installers in Essex, the only way for us to provide our clients with accurate quotations is for us to conduct a free site visit.

We can then assess each job individually and calculate a written quotation from there.

All our quotes are free and you are under no obligation to accept.

If you are in Chelmsford, Brentwood, Basildon, Southend, Braintree or anywhere in the Essex area and would like a free written quotation or further advice on block paving, you can send us a message or call us on 01245 697 688.

Our friendly team will be happy to help.

If you have any other questions regarding this article, please leave them below.

Thanks for reading!



Driveway Block Paving In Essex

There is now a wide range of block paving available on the market from various manufacturers such as Marshalls, Brett and Bradstone. It can now be quite a difficult task in choosing the correct type of block paving that suits your needs as well as matching your property. The main decision that you will need to make is deciding between concrete or clay block paving.


Concrete Block Paving


Concrete pavers are manufactured by pressing concrete into a mould. The concrete is formed by mixing small stone hardcore, dyes, cement and sand. This type of block is more popular than the clay variety; mainly due to the lower price. There are a wide range of shapes, colours, textures and styles available and there is a block that will suit every type of property. The only downside to concrete blocks is that they don’t have the same strength that clay blocks do and are more prone to wear and tear as well as colour fading. Although the average concrete block will easily last 20 years.


Clay Block Paving


Clay pavers are produced by firing clay bricks in a kiln. They are higher in price but the quality is much greater and the styles that clay blocks come in are more elegant and stylish than the concrete variety. Although more expensive, as with everything, you get what you pay for and you can expect clay pavers to last hundreds of years with very little colour fade.


SE Landscape Construction Ltd are a hard landscaping specialist operating throughout Essex and the south east. As a Marshalls Approved Landscaping Contractor they offer their clients FREE 10 Year Guarantees on all paving installations. Their expert team has the knowledge and experience to install many different types of driveway and patio paving. To find out more about block paving installation click here or call 01245 80 71 80 for your free consultation.



If you are looking to invest a few thousand pounds on your property in the form of a new driveway or patio, it can be difficult to find a credible firm in an industry notorious for rogue traders. Below are a few tell tales signs:


Not providing a written quote


Verbal quotes are worthless as you cannot prove whether a builder agreed to a price or not. Unscrupulous contractors may give a price verbally, which will sound like a good deal and then when the work is complete, invoice you for 2 or 3 times the price of the verbal quote. If this situation arises there is really very little you can do as you cannot prove otherwise. A written quote forms a contract between the customer and the builder and both parties should have copies. Always insist on getting quotes in writing.


Saying they can start tomorrow


The best driveway and paving contractors usually have a lead time of around 4-12 weeks as they are in high demand. Always be suspicious if a contractor can start the next day as he is probably not very good at his job.


Door to door canvassing


A reputable block paving contractor will not canvass door to door simply because they don’t need to use those kinds of tactics to get work. Our main source of work is through referrals from many of our satisfied customers meaning that we are busy throughout the year. Builders who participate in door to door canvassing are usually only in the area for a short time before moving on to somewhere else as their poor standard of work usually results in angry customers.


Using a non-geographical phone number e.g. 0800 or 0845


Credible firms always use a local number such as 01245 as they only work within one particular area of the country. Shady firms will just use a mobile number or a 0800 or 0845 to mask their itinerant habits.




Are you looking for a professional paving contractor in Essex? Why not call us today to find out how we can help you completely transform the look of your home. Our experienced team of expert craftsman have the skills to dramatically improve the look of any garden or driveway – big or small. To book your free consultation call us today on 01245 80 71 80 and arrange a visit from our landscape advisor – at a time that suits you!



Efflorescence Definition


All concrete products such as block paving, brickwork or paving slabs are susceptible to a naturally occurring phenomenon known as efflorescence. In chemistry, efflorescence is described as a growth of salt crystals caused by evaporating salt water and this white, powdery substance is an unavoidable fact of life for many concrete products.


In other words, as rain water moves through the wall or paving, the rainwater is then driven out, bringing salts to the surface and as the water evaporates it leaves the salt behind, forming a white, fluffy deposit. Efflorescence is very unsightly and is often the cause of distress for some of our clients and is completely understandable.


The good news is that efflorescence will disappear eventually and will not harm your concrete surface in the slightest. It’s difficult to say how long it will take to disappear, as there are no hard and fast rules as to when it will stop forming. It could only take a couple of weeks or it could be a couple of months or even as long as a year.


In the mean time, if you feel it’s necessary to remove the efflorescence we would advise you to scrub the concrete with a stiff broom and a bucket of soapy water. Avoid using a power washer on block paving (unless you know what you are doing) because if it’s not used correctly, it can wash away the sand below the paving which will cause even bigger problems and require a visit from a professional to repair the laying course. Cleaning is however just a short term fix and you will find that within a month, the efflorescence will return.



SE Landscape Construction are a landscaping & driveway contractor based in Essex. We specialise in paving including block paving driveways in Essex and patio paving in Essex. Our experienced team of craftsman have the knowledge and skill to transform your home whilst adding up to 15% to your property’s value. If you live in the Essex area contact our friendly team today on 01245 80 71 80 to book your free consultation.



Setts & cobbles make a fantastic alternative to block paving and can be used either to pave a driveway or garden patio or path. They are typically more expensive than blocks but the Marshalls Cobbletech paving system is very reasonably priced considering the quality of the finish and will certainly give your property a unique curb appeal.


There is a significant difference between setts and cobbles and the differences are explained below.



Fairstone Setts

Setts are made from stone and have a width and depth of between 75-200mm, with varying lengths between 75-450mm. The size can often depend on the workability of the stone as different types of rock are easier to manipulate than others. They can be produced from almost any type of rock including sandstone, limestone, granite, basalt or gritstone. Setts can work really well when used to edge paving slabs on garden paths.




Cobbletech Paving System

Cobbles differ from setts as they are rounded in shape, as opposed to square. They are basically pebbles or small boulders. Natural cobbles can be difficult to walk on, as anyone who has ever walked up a genuine cobblestone path or road would know. For an affordable and attractive option we recommend choosing Marshalls Cobbletech paving system, if cobbles are what you are look for. These aren’t genuine cobblestones but still have the same great look without being difficult to walk on.


Learn about other types of patio paving here 


SE Landscape Construction specialise in the design and construction of paving in Essex including driveway paving, block paving and garden patio paving. We offer all of our customers free driveway or patio design that will not only improve the look of your home but also add significant value to your property. For a free consultation and paving design contact our friendly team today on 01245 80 71 80.



Driveways Essex


There are many reasons why it is considered a good idea to seal your block paved driveway or patio. The obvious advantage is that a good quality sealer will protect your paving from the elements and ensure that the investment you made in your property lasts long into the future; increasing your properties value as a result. There are many other benefits that sealant manufacturers claim to have on your paving and the main advantages are listed below:



• Protects the surface from staining
• Eliminates the growth of algae
• Significantly reduces the chances of weed growth
• Prolongs the lifespan of your paving
• Binds together jointing sand, which increases the strength
• Enhances the colouring and prevents fading
However there are a few things that you will need to bear in mind, should you decide to go ahead with sealing your paving:


If in doubt hire a professional


It’s advised that sealants are applied to block paving by someone who knows what they are doing. This is because once the sealant has been applied, it cannot be removed. A professional will also be able to advise on how many coats should be applied and the best brands to use, which leads us onto…


Always use a high quality sealant

It’s certainly a wise move to choose a high quality sealer instead of going for a cheaper option as you definitely get what you pay for when it comes to buying sealant. Poor sealants tend not to last as long as the better quality versions so you will end up paying out more money in the long run. Inferior sealants are also prone to abrasion and have a tendency to turn yellow with age as a result of UV exposure. We recommend using Resiblock as it is ‘UV stable’ and will penetrate the blocks deeper preventing the abrasion you get from lower quality products.


Never apply sealant to newly installed paving


Sealants should never be applied to freshly laid paving. It usually takes at least 3 or 4 months for the jointing sand to properly settle and for any efflorescence to disappear. We recommend that you do not seek to get your paving sealed for at least 6 months after installation. Should it be seal too soon, you will be sealing in any problems and the application of sealant cannot be reversed.


Always test the product before application


Some sealants may impart a glossy, ‘wet look’ that isn’t always to everyone’s taste and some products may not be suitable for your particular type of paving. Therefore, it is always advised to test the sealant on a small discreet area before applying it to the whole driveway or patio.
In conclusion, sealing block paving is a good idea as it will protect your paving and the investment you made in your property as well as ensuring your driveway or patio stays in tip-top condition for many years into the future. However there are certain precautions to take note of before jumping head first into sealing your pavement.



Looking to significant value and curb appeal to your home? SE Landscape Construction provide a professional, reliable driveway installation service in Essex including block paving in Chelmsford, Brentwood and Billericay? For a free written quotation with a Marshalls Approved Contractor call us today on 01245 80 71 80.




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