Preparing the site.
Firstly you should plan out your area and remove any weeds or debris from the area. When digging out the site include a fall to ensure water will drain away. Also take into account the thickness of the paving, sub base and bedding layer to ascertain how deep you need to dig out. Remember that if you are laying paving up to a building then your finished top level needs to be at least 150mm below the DPC. (damp proof course) or leave a 100mm gap between the building and slabs, this should be filled with chips.
The bedding layer is the material that holds and supports the paving slabs. The Bedding material is a coarse grit sand mixed with dry cement to the right level which will leave the stones flat and level.
This can be either a wet or dry mix.
Before laying the slabs spread out an area of bedding mix and compact it down. Take care to check the thickness of the slab to be laid and level the mix accordingly. Use a trowel to slightly ripple the mix this will allow the stone to bed down. Now it's time to lay the slabs. Smaller ones can be lifted into place but larger stones should be carefully tipped from an already paved or solid place. Use a maul or an elephant's foot (a big, rubber-headed hammer) to help you a level the slabs taking care not to hit the slabs to hard. When you're satisfied, stand on the flag and check that it doesn't rock around, that the bed is good and the stone is flush with the surrounding stones. If the stone is too high or low, you'll need to lift it, add or remove some bedding, and start all over again.
Jointing and pointing.
As you start to lay the slabs in place decide if you would like gap to be pointed or simply butt joint each slab against each other.
Pointing the slabs is more time consuming but can achieve longer lasting results that stop weeds finding there way in to the small gaps between each slab.. Mortar is mixed so it is just damp, you then start to trowel into the joints. I use two trowels for this, one large for holding the pointing mortar and a smaller one for feeding it into the joints. This will also help minimise any staining on the edges of the paving slabs. The mortar will need to be pressed down into the joint and then finished with a jointing trowel.