What options are they for Patio Area?

What options are there for a Patio Area?
This is our current situation.
We have a 'slab' patio which is 12 foot deep and 22 foot wide. Although the area is usable, there are two problems.
First (less serious) problem is that it's too small, second problem is that the ground is clay so there is a lot of 'heave' going on throughout the seasons. If we re-lay the patio, in 6 months time it would have gone bumpy again :(
The new surface needs to have the following characteristics.
Required: 1. Totally proof against heave 2. Cheap as possible (max budget is less than a thousand pounds, South Coast UK prices) 3. Size is 17 foot deep, 22 foot wide (we do a lot of outside entertaining) 4. DIY-able (SWMBO's Dad is a ex-builder, so we have the skills, if not necessarily the brawn) 5. Easy to keep clean 6. Nice to stand on with bare feet 7. Able to withstand the heat (and mess) from our Cast Iron Chimnea 8. Will last 5 years minimum without major rebuilding 9. Slightly higher than the existing patio/grass area so that water runs off rather than collect in a pool in the middle.
Nice-to-haves: 10. Able to complete in 80 man-hours or less 11. Retains heat from the mid-day sun. 12. Dog/baby/small Child Friendly 13. Ability to retro-fit floor lighting 14. Winter slipperiness is not a problem.
Do Like: 15. Railway Sleepers 16. Block Paving 17. Red House Bricks
Don't Like: 18. Commercially purchased Decking, it's too 'Ikea' 19. Not keen on pre-formed patio slabs
Our thoughts are so far are: 20. Our budget is unrealistic. 21. A solid concrete base is needed
Um, I guess that's enough to be going on with. All comments gratefully received!
Regards, Steve
Add pictures here
āœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Been a while since it's been mentioned in these parts, I think, but the no.1 resource for paving issues on the web is the truly excellent site of Cormaic (a past frequent contributer to this NG) - http://www.pavingexpert.com /
There's tons of stuff to inspire in there.

Search around the site's various discussion areas - there may well be answers to this question.
<snip>
Agree with you about the decking, btw. It looked good, and very "San Fransisco" (which was actually quite appropriate... ) when some friends had an area done in 1995 as part of an imaginitive garden redesign. Has become the "Black Ash Effect" of garden design now, though....
-- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
Add pictures here
āœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.