Creating a new patio can be fun and an exciting project. Whether you have an old patio that you want to freshen up or want to build a new one, here are a few tips on how to design a stunning and practical patio space for your garden, large or small.
It can seem confusing at first, with so many options available for patio slabs, but choosing the right ones for your garden is very simple once you understand the key differences. To help you, here are the main advantages of the most popular paving types, so that you can figure out which will be best suited to your needs.
Concrete is often the cheapest option for paving slabs and its appearance can go from a clean uniform finish to one intentionally mixed to create an authentic reproduction of fine antique paving flags from a bygone era.
You can also get textured concrete (opens in new window) paving for a unique finish that looks great in any style of garden. Or try a smooth, minimalist, contemporary concrete (opens in new window) paving slab with stain-resistant properties that keeps your patio looking clean. But be aware, concrete paving won’t last as long as natural stone or porcelain, and always make sure you seal your concrete slabs to protect them from stains and algae.
Natural Stone Paving
The more traditional types of patio slabs are made from natural stone materials, such as granite, limestone and sandstone, and these are generally a great mid-range price option.
The huge variety of natural stone available makes it easy to find one that will suit the colours and style of your house. You will also find that natural stone often has a variance in texture with each stone, bringing individuality and depth to your patio. With sandstone paving, you will notice that no two slabs are alike, and that the tone and colour of the paving is different in different lights and weather conditions.
Limestone paving (opens in new window) brings a riven texture, with deep colours that slowly mellow over time, which is a lovely way to add a transformative dimension to your garden; you can seal the slabs to preserve the richer colour.
Slate patio slabs (opens in new window) are available to suit contemporary or rustic settings, from smooth linear blue/grey slabs to complement a modern setting to vibrant riven rusty-toned slabs that look fabulous in traditional country gardens.
Granite paving (opens in new window) is sure to bring your space up to date with its smooth surface and neat, straight lined, contemporary edges.
The latest advancement in paving solutions is incredibly hard-wearing, dirt-repelling, Porcelain (opens in new window) paving.
Despite their convincing appearance, these slabs are not made from stone at all, but are a man-made simulation of carved stone, which is durable, extremely low-maintenance, and frost and algae resistant. They come in a wide range of colours and styles, all of which replicate a natural finish and are ideal for a seamless transition from your kitchen or dining room out to your patio.
Porcelain slabs will not fade over time, so they tend to be very long-lasting and will stay looking clean for a much longer period. They are great if you’re after a modern, easy-care patio solution (opens in new window). Whilst you may pay a little more for the slabs to begin with, your savings on maintenance and cleaning will soon make up for it. And, as for not having to spend hours with the jet-wash every spring, that truly is priceless.
Cobbles & Natural-Stone Block Paving
Cobbles (opens in new window) and Natural Stone Block Paving (opens in new window) offer another paving solution, but due to their smaller size are generally better suited to smaller paved areas such as driveways, courtyards and terraces.
As a rule of thumb, the larger your paved area, the larger the slabs should be in order to keep things to scale. Huge patio slabs in a tiny area tend to make a space look smaller than it is, and similarly, tiny cobbles over a wide expansive space will look a little off-kilter. Cobbles also tend to work really well for driveways, due to their hard-wearing and durable qualities.
Plants and Your Patio
Make sure to think about what plants will go where, as a few well-placed climbers and potted plants will ensure a smooth transition from your patio area to the garden beyond. Climbers, such as, honeysuckle, mock orange, jasmine and roses will also bring wonderful fragrance to your patio, as will a potted herb garden which is in reach to snip off sprigs for use on the BBQ or in your glass of Pimm’s!