One of the more important principles of garden design is good flow – a well designed garden will fit in and sit well, not just with the home or building to which it belongs, but with the wider environment outside, whether that be town or country, seaside or city centre. It’s well worth keeping this in mind before you make your final choice of paving, as your patio or terrace, steps and paths are probably your largest investment in terms of outlay when you are planning changes to the garden or indeed creating a new one.
A period home or stone clad façade will often make the choice for you, but more modern buildings will allow for a wider range of materials, and the bewildering array of natural stone, man made substitutes, bricks, blocks and aggregates can make settling on a suitable surface a bit of a challenge.
Looking outside is always a good place to start, particularly in a rural area. Here in south Galway, for instance, the landscape is dominated by the grey limestone Burren hills, and the drystone walls found throughout the countryside are almost always the same. So in an area like this, especially if the wider landscape is visible from the garden, grey paving, whether that be limestone, sandstone or even porcelain, can be a good way to help anchor the space in its surroundings.
Your own local area could feature granite, in tones of warm gold or cool silver grey, or perhaps the shales and sandstones found in other parts of the country – you don’t have to rigidly copy the local stone, but it can be a good place to start.
Consider texture and size as well as colour – contemporary architecture is often complemented by smooth surfaces and generously sized slabs, but smaller units can be a welcome contrast. More rustic properties might be set off to perfection by natural riven stone with variations in colour as well as texture.
It’s a very personal thing, but get it right and your garden will fit well, flow well, and repay you for many years to come.
The stone in your local area is a good starting point - here, the warm tones of golden granite complement the nearby buildings.
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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