Matt discusses options for paving – taken from an article written in Dream Garden Magazine , Summer 2022.

The technicalities of installing your chosen paving are best left to the professionals – Lets face it, it’s hard graft and you need the right kit. That said, an inspired material selection to partner other hard landscaped elements such as planting and lighting can bring a scheme to life.

Paving can add texture, tone and instant character. The key with any project is ask for samples. Any good designer or contractor should be able to provide these for you.

As with any material selection, each has it’s appropriate setting and surrounding, there are so many options, so where do you start!?

The first job is to create a mood-board stick to 3-5 images, keep it concise — get on Pinterest and define the style you are looking for. This will eliminate the options that aren’t relevant and give you some ideas to move forward with. If you’re working with a designer they should do this for you, but a contractor may not, so ensure you guide them as they may not look outside their local/ regular supply chain – God bless google!

The style of space you’re trying to put together will inevitably determine the type of materials you use, so defining this early is key. 


Natural stone comes in all shapes and sizes and can add warmth and character to a space. Be conscious of how it ages and weathers as it can change dramatically over time. Irregularity in colour and texture are all reasons to choose a natural stone option, however it’s not suited to every project. Natural stone tends to come in different finishes- riven, tumbled and sawn so be sure to check samples before ordering as you may get a nasty shock when it arrives otherwise.


Porcelain is a man made option usually in the form of a tile that is easy to clean and machine finished. Available in all shapes and sizes, but often in varying options between 600 and 1200mm. For the wow factor try large format tiles, or perhaps lay planks set in aggregate to form a path or walkway. Ask your designer or contractor to show examples of different laying patterns- a running pattern often looks more contemporary whereas a random pattern can look more traditional. Sharp lines and contemporary colour choices can pair beautifully with outdoor rugs and furniture. Providing the platform for outdoor kitchens and covered seating areas. Many porcelain suppliers now offer an internal and external tile in the same finish- this lends itself to creating a seamless link between inside and outside space.

Bricks and slips.

Laying bricks/ blocks and slips can add a real wow factor, they are smaller, and therefore look more detailed and considered. Interesting patterns can be worked into a design and you can lay them across a large space, edge a path or step or use them to draw your eye in a different direction from a larger stone or tile. They are often darker in colour adding tone and texture to the area. Herringbone and stack bonds are particularly popular at the moment – the devil is in the detail… Bricks and slips look amazing in courtyards/ kitchen gardens and feature seating areas.


There’s no way around it, paving is time consuming and will likely take up a chunk of your budget – Consider ground preparation and sub-base, sealing, laying, spacing and pointing. They all require time, additional materials and most importantly skilled labour.

Although how the material looks is super important, it’s worth considering how durable and user friendly it is. Consider how much sunlight the area in question gets – this will impact the level of cleaning and maintenance it’ll need to ensure it remains useable.

As always good suppliers provide excellent product support and often ideas on how to use them with amazing images…


London Stone-

Vande Moortel-

Mandarin Stone-

Artisans of Devises-

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