At this most enchanting time of year – ‘Sweet the evening air of May’, and all that – what better subject to focus on than paving? Sand and cement, jointing, hardcore and quarry screenings? Unromantic it may be, but good paving is far more important to your garden than pretty flowers.
Planting can be refreshed, updated or even replaced relatively easily, but unless you’re in the one percent that never turns right when boarding a plane, paving needs to last a good long time. It’s probably the single most expensive part of any landscaping project, so it needs to be planned well, laid well and long-lasting if it’s going to be worth the expense.
I’m a firm believer in being able to enjoy your garden all year round – admittedly, it might just be for a few precious minutes here and there in the winter months. A well-planned path, then, that encourages you to step outside on a crisp winter morning and discover the snowdrops in bloom is something you’ll appreciate long after the last rose of summer has faded and gone.
Practicality is the first consideration – what does this paving need to do? So if you’re planning a patio, path or steps, there are a few key questions to consider. Where in the garden does it need to be? What size is needed? Too small and it will always feel uncomfortable, too big and you could end up shelling out a lot more than you had to. What material would work best within your budget? For this last question, things like how easy it is to keep clean, whether it needs to work for wheels or just feet, and whether it will be a good fit aesthetically with the home itself are all things to consider.
Your paving won’t exist in a vacuum, of course – so consider what’s going beside it or around it – raised beds, lawn or planted areas for instance, so that the space flows well and everything works together. Making sure you’re happy with all of these elements before the crates of stone and cement mixers arrive is time well spent indeed – and it will help you to get the very most out of your garden.
Circular paving in the Celebration Garden designed by Anne Byrne Garden Design for the Ardilaun Hotel.
Anne Byrne Garden Design provides easy to follow Garden Plans that you can implement right away or in stages. Anne’s design flair and passion for plants brings a touch of magic to gardens of all sizes.
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