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Setting Out Herringbone
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herringbone patterns
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All block paving for areas carrying vehicular traffic, such as driveways, car parks or access roads, should be laid in a fully interlocked pattern. The most popular such patterns are 45° or 90° Herringbone patterns. On this page, diagrams will be used to show how such patterns may be set-up.
A separate page shows a neat trick for setting-up a 45° herringbone pattern.

90° Herringbone Pattern

This is the simpler of the herringbone patterns to set up. Decide on a "base-line" that will be the start of the pattern. This is usually taken to be a line along the main directriopn of travel or one that is parallel or at right angles to the house or other building. If there is a right-angle corner, the setting out can be based on the two lines, as shown in the diagram below.

Setting out a perpendicular, ie a line at exactly 90° to the base line, is described on the setting-out page.

On a square or rectangular area, a 90° herringbone pattern can be used to keep cutting to a minimum. Only one block width in 4 need be cut to fit, and judicious positioning of edge courses can ensure that the pavement is a given number of full bricks wide.
It is best to start laying tight against a fixed edge, such as against an edging course, but if this is not possible, then a taut string line can be established as the base-line.
Laying sequence
Sequence of laying to establish a 90° pattern

how to - click for animation click here for animated version

90° herringbone
90° herringbone as a car park walkway
90° herringbone
90° herringbone makes for easy marking of parking bays


45° Herringbone Pattern

Click here for a downloadable A4 gif file of 45° 2:1 herringbone pattern which can be printed out.

This pattern is identical to the pattern above, except that it has been rotated through 45°. It can be set out exactly as shown above, by establishing the base-line at 45° and laying the blocks square to this line. Alternatively, a base-line can be set up square to the work, and the blocks laid at 45° to this line. This second method may at first seem complicated, but is particularly valuable for ensuring that the alignment is not drifting out of true with subsequent courses of blocks.

When establishing this pattern, the best visual effect is achieved by laying the blocks in such a manner that the "chevrons" run along the principal direction of traffic or along the length of the driveway (logitudinal), rather than across (transverse).

longitudinal herringbone
Chevrons running in direction of travel
transverse herringbone
Chevrons running across direction of travel
With this pattern, most of the blocks at the edge of the work will need to be cut at an angle to fit in. It is usual to lay all the full bricks first, then once these have been checked for alignment, the edge pieces can be cut in. Leaving out the edge pieces allows the body of the paving to be accurately aligned BEFORE fastening in the work. In the following diagrams, the bricks are the standard 200x100mm plan size blocks most commonly used for domestic paving.
starter course
Setting up the first line of blocks
By using this spacing of 215mm, the amount of wastage on cut blocks is minimised.
Continue to lay as many full blocks as possible and then check the alignment, using a pinch-bar or pavior's mall to 'nudge' blocks into line. Once the alignment is complete, the edge blocks can be cut to shape and fitted in prior to final sealing.
complete starter course

Complete the double starter course as shown. This starter course should be as long as possible, to ensure accuracy

adding further courses

Add further courses, working along one course at a time

check with line

Use taut string line to check for accuracy every few courses, and prevent the pattern from 'drifting'.
The corners of each block should be just touching the line, as shown.

A clever variation of this method is shown on a separate page.
how to - click for animation click here for animated version

See Cutting page for details on cutting blocks.


Other Herringbone Patterns

Herringbone patterns can be created using any rectangular pavior or any combining any 2 paving units. With flagstones, this is sometimes referred to as a Dutch Pattern.

This combination allows distinctive patterning to be achieved by mixing paviors of your choice. You can mix concrete blocks with small concrete flags/slabs, or clay paviors with the smaller clay cobbles. Even the traditional "3 by 2's" can be laid in a herringbone pattern. The possibilities are endless, the diagrams below show a few patterns to set you thinking.

200x100mm bricks with 60x60mm cobbles

herringbone weave

600x600mm flags with 2nr 200x100mm blocks


900x600mm flags laid as herringbone


The following are all drawn to the same scale and rely on using just one block size.
3:1 herringbone 90
3:1 block (200x66mm) laid to 90° Herringbone
3:1 Herringbone 45
3:1 block (200x66mm) laid to 45° Herringbone
4:1 Herringbone 90
4:1 block (200x50mm) laid to 90° Herringbone
4:1 Herringbone 45
4:1 block (200x50mm) laid to 45° Herringbone
3:1 Herringbone 90
3:2 block (200x133mm) laid to 90° Herringbone
3:1 Herringbone 45
3:2 block (200x133mm) laid to 45° Herringbone
4:3 Herringbone 90
4:3 block (160x120mm) laid to 90° Herringbone
4:3 Herringbone 45
4:3 block (160x120mm) laid to 45° Herringbone
3:2 Herringbone
3:2 ratio herringbone
3:2 Herringbone
Two-size herringbone
45 degree retro paving
45 degree 4:1 ratio herringbone
Bishop's Hats
Herringbone using "Bishop's Hats" as starter blocks


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