8 February 2022
How To Choose The Right Paving For Your Patio
With a plethora of paving styles to choose from including different materials, colours and textures, how do you choose and get your patio right the first time? Patios can be expensive and you will probably only lay one or two in your lifetime so it’s important to avoid costly mistakes. Well-laid garden slabs will enhance your home for years of enjoyment and can be a key selling point when you choose to move on.
Stone is one of the most luxurious of paving materials. It's durable and versatile - offering a range of colours, shapes and sizes. Follow the latest garden trends for 2022 or take inspiration from projects past. Choosing the Right Paving Materials can be key to getting the most out of your outdoor space all year round.
Here are our golden rules for getting it right!
A well thought out design is the key to success, so don’t rush. Consider the following:
- What is the orientation of your property? Locate your patio where it will benefit from sunshine for all or a good part of the day. Don't worry if this means it won't lead directly from your house, a sunny patio will get more use and will age better than one that is sited in permanent shade.
- Are you including steps or walls within the design? If so, look for complementary materials for a seamless finish
- Do you want to include a paving feature such as a circle or octagon? These can be very effective but make sure you have adequate space to make it work.
- What type of furniture do you plan to have on the patio? Robust wide bottomed furniture such as loungers and outdoor sofas will work on most surfaces, whereas more delicate metal or wire tables & chairs may require a flatter texture to stop the wobbles!
There are many styles and textures to choose from depending on your particular tastes. It is common to mix traditional and contemporary styles so don’t be put off using porcelain for instance, with a Georgian house, the effect can be quite stunning.
If possible visit a paving display centre where you can look at lots of different styles in one place, once you have an idea of what you like it is then easier to search online if that is your preference.
The style of paving you choose will affect the texture (smooth, weathered, worn), the edging (tumbled, sawn-edge, hand-cut) and the character; with natural stone, every flagstone will be slightly different whereas, with a porcelain product, every flag or tile will be exactly the same.
The colour you choose for your new patio is a personal choice and should be chosen to enhance the age and style of your home. Just remember that the original colour won’t be the final colour!
Whether you opt for a reproduction (concrete) product or natural stone, the colour will change over time with natural weathering. Reproduction tends to fade with age, whereas natural stone will darken over time.
If you are buying online, always order a sample as the colour of the actual product can be different to how it appears in a photograph. It may also look different in your own environment.
Most ranges come in a variety of colours and there are 'aged’ products which are great if you are planning a conservation or restoration project as they add instant maturity. If you are trying to match to existing paving or flooring, Westminster Stone offer a bespoke service.
This is perhaps the hardest choice you will need to make! There are lots of different types of paving and there are pros and cons to each.
Hand made paving (concrete/ Stonecast) is a very good alternative and will weather less than natural stone. It is also more durable; frost resistant, naturally non-slip and in most cases cheaper. High-quality reproduction paving is hard to distinguish from natural stone. It is also suitable for internal flooring and compatible with underfloor heating.
Porcelain is relatively new as a paving product but its popularity stems from its extreme durability. Non-porous it is impervious to water making it naturally non-slip and frost and algae resistant. Each flagstone or tile within a range is identical which is ideal for those that prefer a uniform finish. Porcelain comes in a variety of styles and finishes which can perfectly replicate stone or wood. It is also beautiful as internal flooring and ideal for seamless indoor/outdoor designs.
Natural Stone is a perennial favourite, it has a beautiful patina and natural colouring and is popular for patios and paths. It is a porous material, so will darken with age and can be susceptible to algae and moisture, making it more slippery in inclement weather. It will also need yearly maintenance to keep it in prime condition.
Sandstone is one of the most popular stones for garden paving. Tough enough for any paving idea while being easy to cut and work than some materials such as granite. It is available in a range of colours and is easy to find in large quantities. Expect some colour variation in each lot of sandstone. As well as occasional bands or blotches in each piece.
Limestone is fine textured, so it takes on a distinctive, velvety finish when cut for paving. Its colour range is more limited than granite or sandstone. Dark grey, blue-grey, pale grey, cream, and tan are the easiest colours to find. Limestone tends to be more evenly coloured than sandstone or granite. It is very fine grain making it relatively easy to cut into all sorts of decorative shapes.
Slate is a beautiful and striking material lending well to contemporary gardens with predominantly grey to black colouring with elements of blue, green or even rustic copper tones. Slate paving is highly durable, has a fine grain texture that's resistant to heat and freezing and has a high slip rating making it an ideal paving choice.
Granite can’t be beaten for strength and durability. For its sheer durability, nothing beats granite. It provides an elegant paving solution for formal outdoor spaces. Granite can be purchased as ‘sets’ of brick-shaped pieces or as uniform-sized flagstones. As well as its hardness and durability, granite offers possibly the widest choice of colours of all paving stones. However, it’s durability and hardness also makes it relatively difficult to quarry and work. This can make it one of the more expensive paving stones.
There are lots of considerations when planning a new patio and hopefully the above has given you some ideas to help you make the right decisions for your property.
Westminster Stone offer a sampling service on all products request a sample here.
Find a Display Centre
Westminster Stone’s UK Paving Display Centres are the perfect location to view Flagstones, Garden Paving & Patio Tiles.
We have displays including Stonecast traditional flagstones, Natural Stone, Porcelain and the prestigious National Trust Paving Collection.