Garden design solutions: 5 paving materials to consider for your new garden
Most new gardens include an area of paving in one form or another, but with so many different paving products available it can be difficult to know which is the right paving material for our project. Budget and aesthetics are two key considerations, but sustainability should also be a factor. The garden design and landscaping industry is (far too) slowly acknowledging its environmental impact, but fresh thinking is beginning to emerge and welcome changes are starting to come.
Here is our quick guide to five of the more popular paving options currently available:
1. Natural stone: UK
Whilst the UK produces vast quantities of walling stone, not all of our quarries can produce hard-wearing and durable paving stone. Yorkstone is arguably the most well known exception to this and is available as ‘new’ or reclaimed. A beautiful colour and extremely hard-wearing, Yorkstone has a timeless quality which complements period properties. Often only available in random sizes, it can take time to lay well and is often better suited to a more ‘traditional’ look.
2. Natural stone: imported
For several years, much of the natural stone paving laid in the UK has been imported. Whether its sandstone from India, limestone from Egypt or granite from China, imported paving is often considerably cheaper than UK-quarried stone. With a range of colour and size options, good quality imported natural stone paving can complement a variety of properties. A lot of imported stone is rather porous and can be susceptible to build-up of algae, but sealants are available which can reduce this if they are applied correctly and regularly.
Slate paving can be an interesting and attractive alternative to sandstone, limestone or granite. It can be sourced from Scotland or Wales, but imported options are also available. UK-produced slate is said to be harder-wearing than some of the imported products, but all should be able to cope with our winters. Sealants are often recommended to help keep slate clean and easier to maintain.
4. Porcelain (pictured above)
Usually produced in Italy, Spain or India, porcelain paving has become increasingly popular in recent years. Arguably more suited to a more contemporary look, porcelain is available in a range of colours and sizes. It is also often marketed as being easier to maintain than natural stone paving because it is less likely to support algae growth. Porcelain for external use should have an appropriate slip-rating and is thicker and stronger than internal porcelain (which should not be used for outside applications). It also needs to be laid with a suitable drainage fall to eradicate the risk of water pooling when it rains.
Concrete paving seems to have largely fallen out of favour in recent years, possibly because of an association with public footpaths or some of the low-quality paving ‘installations’ on many new-build estates. Available in a range of colour and styles, concrete paving can be very cost-effective and does still have a place (particularly if it has been produced here in the UK).
Too many options? Hopefully this short guide will help you more easily find the right paving product for your new garden.
Tythorne Garden Design provides professional fixed-fee garden design solutions for customers in Grantham, Stamford, Newark and surrounding areas. Let's see how we can help you to enjoy your garden more. Call us on 07900 224 239 or 01529 455 355.