Gardening with Jo: Terraces and paving to finish the garden

This week we completed a lovely garden in Limerick. We designed the garden, built and planted it. One of the lovely things about the garden was the different styles of paving, tiling and stone products included in the design, so this week I wanted to talk to you about terraces and paving.

A nice paving can really sharpen a garden and elevate it, but it can also change the feel of a garden immensely. We supply paving and outdoor tiles as well as wood composite and all sorts of pebble options too.

If we look at stone first, which is one of the most popular options for paving, then this can be broken down into natural and manmade products. Trends in stone have varied over the years, but currently we would use a lot of limestone, granite and sandstone in lots of shades and sizes. The natural stone has a beauty that is elegant and classic.

In terms of manmade stone, the most popular option is porcelain and this is probably the most desired current option. The clean lines and non-porous material make it an ideal option for contemporary gardens.

I have two different shades of porcelain in my own garden, a grey in the front garden and then a creamier tint in my main garden and it cleans up perfectly with a quick wash and doesn’t need sealing like some of the natural products. We use All Stone in Kingswood for all of our stone and Seamus has a fantastic range of all the above products.

We have recently been using more European stones and some of the lighter coloured Italian stones are becoming really popular and we’ve been including them in lots of designs.

The Irish stones are fabulous, but are usually darker in colour and do tend to be a little more expensive than other options, but Kilkenny Limestone and Donegal Quartz are amazing products.

One of my favourites to look at over the years is York stone, but my paving team hate laying the stone as its such different thicknesses, it is really hard to lay and super heavy too.

We have been crazy about tiles over the last couple of years, I laid them in my outdoor room and they create a whole different feel for that area. We now use them in lots of gardens, adding colour and pattern to areas of the garden, ideal for a smaller space to create a livelier feel, or to use in a certain area.

We have just designed a garden using them around a new home office that has a more funky tropical foliage feel around it, thus breaking it up from the other areas of the garden and it looks really great.

I love the blues, greens and oranges in the Moroccan encaustic tiles and we use Best Tile in Waterford as their selection is fantastic

Composite decking is another great option and looks great, you may remember that we used this in our Bloom Garden from Millboard and the quality was fantastic.

It’s a little more expensive but the no-fuss, no maintenance product is exceptional and the choice of colours is great too.

Lastly the pebble and fine grits that we use for paths or to break up an area really add texture. Again we used these in the Bloom Garden to great effect. Our favourite, and the one we have on my own driveway is Ballylusk and it creates a lovely bright finish that dulls nicely over time, but doesn’t fade too much.

It does depend on your main stone, or edging products as to what colour pebble you should use, and your stone merchant or landscaper can advise accordingly. We have two paving and hardscaping teams at the nursery headed up by Peter and Ciaran and they do amazing work. Ciaran’s stone walls are second to none, my own granite wall was built by him and even if I say so myself it looks really well.

So there is just a quick guide to paving your garden and next week I’ll go into a little more detail with paths and edging and how to move from one product to another separating garden areas and steps and upraises, until then enjoy the sunshine.

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