Types of Patio – What works best for your garden?
A patio is a garden design essential. It provides extra living space. But which patio is best for your garden? Somerset based garden designer Dan Richards Somerset’s favourite garden designer offers some advice.
Where to site your patio
What will you be using your patio for? If it’s for morning coffee, Sunday breakfast al fresco or for the children to play on safely, then it needs to be within easy reach of your indoor living space – otherwise you simply won’t use it.
This limestone patio has easy access from the house via bifold doors. We’ve added some shallow steps so that it’s easy to carry food, drinks etc without tripping
Different sized pavers have been used to create an interesting pattern.
Try to site your patio where it catches the sun for at least part of the day. That might mean that you need to position some of the paving at a short distance from the house. That’s OK – just be sure to have a wide, sturdy path leading to it. Perhaps add a seat or a small table close to the house and some pretty borders to make the journey worthwhile.
If you love outdoor cooking but need to build your patio away from the kitchen door, consider an outdoor kitchen with worktops, water supply and storage cupboards. That way you won’t need to keep running backwards and forwards for ingredients and condiments.
How big should your patio be?
A patio should be as big as your budget can manage, but not so big that it dominates the whole garden. Hard landscaping does impact on drainage so the bigger the patio, the more likely you are to need extra engineering beneath it to cope with excess rainfall.
Even the smallest of paved areas can be beautiful. If you can fit a seat onto it and some lighting, a tiny patio can become an intimate retreat. Somewhere to read a book, write that blog or snuggle into a blanket and gaze at the stars.
Can you put a patio in a sloping garden?
You can put a patio anywhere. It’s all about getting the design and the construction right. If you have a sloping garden, your patio needs careful thought. There will be groundworks involved and you’ll need to think about how you access the rest of the garden (steps or slopes) and whether you need a balustrade for safety.
If your garden slopes away from the home, there are a myriad of different ways to adjust levels. This patio wraps around the house and has steps down to the lawn.
Recessed lighting is not just for looks – it’s for safety too.
A retaining wall is one way of coping with a garden that slopes towards the patio. These pavers tone beautifully with the colour and texture of the property’s brickwork.
Which type of pavers are best?
There is a vast choice of pavers on the market. Porcelain is trending at the moment. These manufactured paving slabs remind me of holidays abroad, 5* hotels and poolside havens. They are contemporary, easy to care for and non-slip.
Porcelain pavers typically have a high gloss finish but they are not at all slippery. There are dozens of colourways from jet black to pure white. You might want a marbelled finish, or perhaps you want your pavers to look like natural wood? Porcelain is particularly attractive when installed indoors and continued outside.
Natural stone is beautiful too. In terms of carbon footprint and sustainability these probably have the edge on porcelain – provided you are careful how you source them.
Never be afraid to be adventurous with your patio. Natural stone can be cut into bespoke shapes so you can design your own pattern
Your pavers need to suit your property. After all, they will be there for a long time. If you would like your garden style to contrast sharply with the outside of your property, be sure to ask for advice. Contemporary gardens with traditional properties can look stunning – or they can look completely out of place. There’s a fine line between the two and if you’re investing in a patio you’d want it to add value to your property.
Nature is amazing! believe it or not this is natural stone.
A good garden designer will be able to make suggestions and show you samples of pavers.
Need help to design or build a patio?
Dan Richard’s of Silver Birch Gardens is just bursting with ideas for patios. He can help you settle on a size, shape and type of patio to suit your property, your lifestyle and your budget.