With the advent of warmer weather and the news we can now entertain again in our gardens, now is a good time to take a look with a critical eye at the space you have. Being able to entertain in an attractive and functional space is not a necessity but can definitely enhance your experience and there are so many ways you can use hard landscaping such as patios to make your garden a wonderful place to be.
Patios serve many functions. You may want an extension to your indoor space, somewhere to eat, to cook, to socialise, or perhaps a focal point, a different texture and pattern to break up your garden into different zones or ‘garden rooms’. It could be a purely functional patio to create a safe space to add a fire pit or outdoor kitchen, add a hot tub, or make a garden more accessible to those with mobility issues. Whatever your reason for wanting a patio there are a huge variety of ways to create them to suit your taste and budget.
Size, shape and position
The majority of patios are rectangular and positioned next to the house for practical reasons. However, you should feel free to work out exactly what it is you need and what would look right for you. Correctly laid patios will last many years and you should choose a design that you will enjoy for years to come. There are beautiful long patios which look more like paths, snaking down your garden, circular feature patios with seating built in, patios with different levels, indeed whatever your imagination and budget will allow. Obviously the more complicated the shape, the more limits you may have on your material and you are potentially adding in labour costs but they are often worth it for the final look.
Materials and colour
You know what you want from your patio and how regularly it will be used and how, this will help you choose the materials that are most suitable for the project. Limestone and sandstone are the most commonly used flagstones in patios and there are advantages to both. Both will last well; Sandstone comes in a larger variety of colours and its finish is slightly uneven which give a greater slip resistance. They are both easy to work with and can be easily cut into the shapes and patterns you need.
You can also use brick for classic patterns like herringbone which can create a striking patio or feature section of a patio. Concrete can be a cheaper option and can be customised with patterns, stamps, paint or your own materials such as pebbles. Tiles, pavers (interlocking puzzle piece type bricks that don’t need mortar), and cut stone can be used with great effect to create striking spaces. If your areas suits then you can also make patios from loose stones, best for patios that are used less frequently as obviously the material is not permanently fixed so can end up everywhere, this can be a cheaper way of creating a patio due to reduced labour costs but still looks really effective. Whatever material you use, make sure there is a really good edging to finish it off smartly. Combining different materials such as tiles, paving and gravel can give your patio interest with the mix of textures and colour and make it really unique to you.
Colour is a well-used tool for gardeners and using colour in your hard landscaping as well as your planting is a great way of catching the eye. Using a different colour coping or edging stone is a classic for patios or using colours to create patterns with pavers, tiles or flagstones.
Use of colour and pattern for a striking effect.
Don’t forget to consider and budget for lighting, heating and accessories as well as your furniture and any outdoor kitchen items you are planning. There are so many options from solar fairy lights to storm candles, faux fur throws to roaring firepits and planters to statues that you can truly make your outdoor space a reflection of you and a truly wonderful place for a quiet sit or a much needed catch up.
Planting will enhance your space however you wish to go about it. Classic terracotta pots filled with bright geraniums, vertical herb gardens or fragrant plants that will enhance your summer evenings are all classic ways to add the soft landscaping to your new patios.
With the lovely unpredictable British weather in addition to heating, thinking about some kind of shade such as a parasol or a more permanent roof structure will help ensure your patio is used as much as possible.
We have built a variety of patios over the years and are happy to work to your design, help you come up with one or recommend our award-winning designer if you want some professional support. Take a look at our projects section to see some of our latest builds including patios to see examples of our work.
The links below can give you an idea of the variety and prices of different materials and do get in touch if you would like Greengage to create a patio for your garden.
Words: Jennie Eastick, Amateur gardener and Office Manager