In our guide to transforming your garden from Mucky to Marvellous this month, we will be considering paving!
It is all-important, in fact, it is crucial for the design of our gardens to have areas of hardstanding in the form of a patio, most probably paved. This will be somewhere to site your dining table, a path from the garage to the back door perhaps or a solid surface from your French doors into the wilderness that is your outdoor space.
When choosing your patio/hard standing, you need to consider your priorities; we are all different and want different things from our gardens. Generally, the division of priorities is colour, price and maintenance!
If minimum effort to maintain is your desire, your favoured choice would be a porcelain product. Porcelain is a fine ceramic material that is fired to make a dense and durable tile. As such the tiles clean well and do not stain easily. However, they are very hard to cut and require special methods to cut and lay, making them expensive to install. They come in many colours and even wood effects. The minimum cost to install would be a riven Indian sandstone. This material is much used; you will recognise it in the above photo. This mined stone comes in various colours from different regions for the most part in India (you can get UK-mined stone though this affects the price): grey, rainbow, autumn-mixed or mint fossil. It is porous and as such is liable to staining from a spilt drink or the build-up of algae in the pores which hold water and can turn into black spots. This can be avoided with regular sealing, though regular jet washing without sealing will exacerbate the problem.
Limestone also behaves very similarly to sandstone but can come in a darker grey colour. Granite is denser, reducing the staining potential and giving a modern look to the space. There are other choices but the above cover general products available for installation and sourcing at a reasonable cost. All these options are from a natural resource and are not therefore renewable. The Landscaping industry is working on alternatives for sustainable options, for the most part, construction has a high impact on the environment and your budget, and good design works to conserve both your finances and the environment with green spaces to offset and selective locations for your seating areas.
There are obviously other options for your hardstanding, for instance: gravel, bonded aggregate, asphalt, rubber surfaces, bespoke concrete or bonded resin.Good design will consider a product that will suit your budget, style and situation.
With love, Lucie x
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