Choosing the right paving for your garden is clearly a matter of taste and budget. You need to consider what you feel the garden space is to be used for. Is it socialising with friends and family, or is it a space to be enjoyed by children. Are you a keen gardener where plants and borders play an important role or do you prefer an easy to look after garden? With regard to style it is helpful to consider if it is a contemporary modern look you are seeking or a more traditional rustic feel. The answer to these questions will help you choose the right paving for your garden, and in many cases your garden design will involve a mixture of all uses and styles.
A key point to appreciate is that the overall garden design will change over time, as you and your family grow older or younger, but it us unusual to keep changing the main paved (hard standing area), so it is important to choose a paving that will last and fit your changing lifestyle.
A question many people are now asking is why choose handmade or natural stone, what are the key differences?
In order to help you choose which type of paving stone is right for you, it is first of all necessary to explain the characteristics of handmade and natural stone and to point out their differences.
HANDMADE STONE (reconstituted stone)
Each handmade stone product is manufactured by hand in casting moulds using selected raw materials largely consisting of cement and aggregates (often referred to as concrete or reconstituted stone). The casting moulds have been created from original stone masters and have been selected for their stone and textured appearance. It is possible to create a range of colours that are not available in natural stone, and to produce paving that has a consistent thickness and texture. It is our opinion that over time the weathering process enhances the character of handmade stone, but in the short term the weathering process is responsible for possible colour fade and staining. Another feature of reconstituted stone is the appearance of concrete fines, which may or may not be evident, but are more likely to be visible on paving that has been cleaned using a pressure washer. None of this should detract from the fact that reconstituted stone paving has for many years and continues to be a very popular choice.
Natural stone has been used as a paving for millennia. When thinking of natural stone paving we usually conjure up thoughts of traditional York flagstones, which has always been expensive and usually difficult to source. Over the last few years, the choice and availability of natural stone paving has expanded enormously, and consequently is now more affordable. You have the choice of a variety of stone types, sandstone, limestone, slate, granite and travertine, each with its own characteristics.
Sandstone is characterised by a granular surface and its range and depth of colours. A hard yet very porous stone. The majority of sandstone products display a blend of colours and shades. There are of course exceptions to this, one being the light grey sandstone. Limestone tends to be harder than sandstone. The characteristics of each limestone will vary, the blues and blacks will usually display a more even or uniform colour throughout the paving. Slate is a fine grained classic rock available in a variety of colours. Granite is the hardest of the rocks in our range, and is usually associated with a contemporary look. Travertine is naturally honey combed in texture, and tends to be light in colour. Our internal range of travertine is available filled or unfilled. The external range is usually unfilled and has a greater thickness.
A traditional down side of natural sandstone paving was the inconsistency of thickness, making it more difficult to lay. However, many of the sandstone ranges are now more consistent in thickness and some are even calibrated.
If choosing a natural stone paving you will need to appreciate that it is a natural product and as such the blend of colours will vary from pack to pack, and a specific colour can not be guaranteed. It is very difficult to appreciate the degree of colour variance by looking at the shots on this website or even seeing one sample.
In summary, consider your lifestyle and try to appreciate how this will affect your garden and the type of paving stone. So long as the construction and design of the paved area is sound, whatever your choice, either handmade or natural stone both will last for a long time, and hopefully will make you feel at home in your garden.