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Planning your patio project

Plan your patio

Plan your patio

A new patio can transform not only your garden, but your whole living space, both visually and practically. Whether you’re starting from scratch or replacing an existing area, we have an amazing range of beautiful paving to suit your taste and budget. You don’t even have to work out the combination of different sizes you need if you choose a patio pack, it’s all done for you.

Plan your patio location

Location

A patio adjacent to the house can be ideal, especially if doors lead out from a living area, but it depends on what you want to use it for. This will be convenient if you want to dine al fresco but if you want the patio to mainly be a place to sunbathe, it’s best to locate it in the area that gets the most sun. You can provide shelter from gusty breezes with screening shrubs and decorative timber panels.

Plan your patio space

Space

Your options depend of the amount of available space and how you want to use it. In addition to area size, consider what garden furniture you need. Whether you want a two seater or a six seat patio set, the area needs to be big enough to accommodate it with plenty of room left to move around. You’ll also need to factor in room for a barbecue, plants and anything else you wish to incorporate.

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Plan your patio shape

Shape

Your patio can be any shape you like – a square, circle, rectangle or even a free-flowing design. The size and shape of your garden will affect your choice to some extent but you can still be creative with the space. Whatever you choose, you can soften the edge with plants that blur the lines between the patio and the rest of the garden. Hard edges between paving and lawn can be difficult to maintain so a transitional edge of stone chippings is also a practical way to beautifully integrate your patio with your garden.

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Choosing the right paving

Plan your patio

Ensure the paving is the right size, colour and material for your needs in summer and for its appearance in winter. Your patio should look attractive through the windows of the house, enhancing your living space throughout the year. To avoid it looking bare during the colder months, use pots, evergreens or ornaments to add interest. All year round appearance should also influence your choice of furniture. Hardwood furniture that can be left out in all weathers will look inviting in any season, so you may find you use your outside space more throughout the year.

Marshalls Firedstone Autumn

To choose the right paving, look at your house, take a few pictures and take them along when you go to look at paving in-store.

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If you are making the choice online, really consider what your paving options will look like against the material and colour of your house and the style of your garden.

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It’s a good idea to get some samples, put them in situ and imagine what a larger expanse will look like.


Plan to integrate your patio with other aspects of your outside space. Transitioning the edge of your paving with stone chippings, timber or soft planting to join the lawn and patio is a practical way to really enhance your space. Garden walls are also a great way to achieve this and are easy to build – see how to build a garden wall. Walling with the inclusion of steps is essential if the site is sloping. If the change in level is gradual, you can use timber sleepers. A patio wall or a wall around a raised bed or water feature also has the added bonus of being able to be used for seating.

Make your entrance

Plan your patio

Just as a patio enhances your garden, a beautiful driveway can have a real impact on the appearance of your home. A driveway is more than just a place to park the car, it’s the setting for your house. It should look welcoming but also be hardworking and resilient. Using block paving or natural stone is pretty straightforward. The paving stones need to hold together and settle so they are best laid on a base they can settle into, rather than on solid concrete. They’re also lighter and easier to handle than paving slabs, tougher and more resistant to damage. Once laid, they form a hard-wearing, load-bearing surface that is permeable and allows rainwater to drain through.

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Softening the edges

A driveway will always look more attractive if you leave some space around it for planting or decorative stones. Planting dwarf hebes, euonymus, lavender, sage or evergreens along the driveway can really integrate it with the garden landscape and stone chippings will create beautiful contrast and framing.

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Choosing the right paving

Whether you lay the paving yourself or get someone else to do it, think about drainage. If building your patio next to your house, the surface must be at least 150mm below the damp proof course and it should have a gradual slope away from the house to ensure water drains away. A drainage channel filled with gravel, pebbles or stone chippings along the wall of the house and around the patio really helps with drainage on heavy soils. In a sunny, open position, well-laid paving should be maintenance free.

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Lighting

Once your project is complete, carefully chosen and positioned lighting is very practical, can increase security, be decorative and create the perfect ambience for relaxing or entertaining. Pergolas are great for downlighting and string lights, as is any foliage. We offer a wide range of lighting options so you can create the exact look and feel you want.

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Help and advice

How to lay a patio

How to lay a patio

Our helpful guide will show you how to prepare and lay your patio to get the best results.

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