Designing a patio can be a thrilling and exciting experience, but choosing the right paving slabs for your project can be challenging. With so many options available in the market, it can be daunting to decide which paving slabs to choose from. However, with a few simple steps, you can make an informed decision and select the best paving slabs for your patio project.
Step 1: Determine the purpose of your patio
Before selecting paving slabs, you must determine the primary purpose of your patio. Will it be a cosy corner for relaxation, a space for entertainment with friends and family, or a practical solution for children and pets? Understanding the primary function of your patio will help you decide on the patio size, shape, and type of paving slabs you require. If you only need a small area for relaxation, then there is no benefit in creating a large expansive patio whereas if you need space for entertaining or an area for children to play, a larger patio area will be needed.
All paving slabs are suited to every type of patio project, however you might want to consider the colour of the paving used for different purposes. Light coloured paving may become soiled by muddy feet walking across it continuously and would therefore need more cleaning than a mid coloured stone. Similarly, dark coloured paving can become hot in strong sunlight so may not be the most practical solution for children and pets.
Step 2: Assess the size of your patio
The size of your patio will influence the type of paving slabs you choose.
Large paving slabs can create a bold and dramatic look, especially when used on a large patio. They can help visually unify the space and make it appear more spacious. However, using large slabs on a small patio can overwhelm the space and make it feel cluttered. In this case, smaller paving slabs or pavers may be more appropriate.
On the other hand, small pavers can create a more intricate and visually interesting look, especially when used on a small patio. They can also provide more flexibility in terms of design and pattern. However, using small pavers on a large patio can create a fragmented and disjointed look. In this case, larger paving slabs may be more suitable.
Ultimately, the size of the paving slabs you choose should complement the overall design and layout of your garden and patio. It's essential to consider the proportion of the space and choose paving slabs that are in scale with the rest of the elements in your garden.
Step 3: Choose the right material
The type of material you choose will significantly impact the aesthetic and maintenance of your patio. Some common materials include concrete, natural stone, porcelain and clay. Each material has its unique properties, and it's essential to understand their advantages and disadvantages before making a final decision.
Concrete slabs are often considered to be an affordable option and come in various colours, sizes, and finishes. However, unless you consider the utility concrete slabs designed mainly as an economical hardstanding rather than for the aesthetics, then the more ornamental concrete paving slabs are actually more costly than other alternative options such as natural stone and porcelain paving.
Natural stone slabs such as sandstone, limestone, and granite, offer a timeless and elegant look. They are durable and require minimal maintenance and come in a range of finishes including a natural riven finish option and a sawn flat option that may then have a secondary texture finish. As a generral rule, the natural riven finish is a good value option whereas specialist finishes tend to be a more expensive option.
Porcelain slabs are durable, weather-resistant, and come in various designs and colours, some in plain colours and others designed to look like natural stone, wood and even patterned mosaics. They are also easy to maintain and are quite reasonably priced especially in the square shapes, but larger rectangle pavers and unusual designs such as linear planks tend to be more expensive than some other materials.
Clay pavers offer a choice of styles from either a classic and rustic look to a modern and contemporary finish. Available as both brick style setts and also quarry tiles, they offer an unusual and stylish paving option. They are durable, with rich intense colours, however tend to be more expensive than other stone options.
On the Paving Superstore website, there are several ways of finding the right product for your requirements. If you hover over the Paving Slabs menu, you will see various ways of searching for the product you are after if you know what you would like. If you want some inspiration, just click on the Paving Slabs menu and all paving will be shown in price order by square metre.
From the Paving Slabs menu, you can continue to filter the products on the left hand side. You can choose from
That's a lot of options! This way you can make sure you get the best paving for you.
Step 4: Consider the colour and texture
The colour and texture of your paving slabs can significantly impact the overall look of your patio. Choosing the right colour and texture will help create a cohesive and visually appealing outdoor space. When selecting colours, it's essential to consider the existing colour scheme of your home and landscape. Lighter colours create an uplifting and airy mood, whereas darker tones have more of a striking impact. Natural stone will have colour variations and unique characteristics whereas porcelain paving will be consistent across each batch with only the intended colours for that product.
For a classic look, you may want to consider natural stone slabs with a riven textured surface, such as sandstone or limestone. If you prefer a modern look, porcelain slabs with a smooth or flat surface, choose granite, sawn sandstone or porcelain options.
Step 5: Check for slip resistance
Slip resistance is a critical factor to consider when selecting paving slabs for your patio. It's essential to choose paving slabs that are slip-resistant, especially if you have young children or elderly people in your home. Look for paving slabs with a textured surface or a slip-resistant finish to ensure the safety of your family and friends.
Step 6: Set a budget
The cost of paving slabs can vary significantly depending on the material, size, and quantity you require. It's essential to set a budget before selecting paving slabs to ensure that you stay within your financial means. Remember to consider the cost of installation, which can add to the overall cost of your project. Bear in mind that the cost of the installation can be as much as 80% of the project cost whereas the paving cost may only represent around 20% of the overall cost.
Step 7: Choose a reputable supplier
It's essential to choose a reputable supplier when purchasing paving slabs for your patio project. Look for a supplier that offers a wide range of options, excellent customer service, and competitive pricing. Ensure the products conform to the Ethical Trading Initiative or similar, that guarantees working conditions conform to an agreed standard in addition to looking out for the CE marking / UKCA standard to guarantee the quality of the material is fit for purpose. Paving Superstore adheres to all the necessary standards with the broad range of brands offered for sale.
Step 8: Choose a reputable installer
Finally, it imperative you choose an installer who produces excellent quality work and follows all the necessary installation requirements such as ensuring the sub-base is the correct thickness and the paving is laid on aa full mortar bed. Often, cheaper quotes mean that corners have been cut on the installation methods and these are what ensure your paving will not move or crack over time. Always check their work and speak to previous customers before you make a decision. A good landscaper or paving contractor may not be able to fit you in for the work to be done straight away - this is often a good sign that they are busy and collectively, you and several other customers have also undertaken due diligence and come to the same decision.
Choosing the best paving slabs for your patio project requires careful consideration of various factors, such as the purpose of your patio, the size and shape of your space, the design and style of your garden, and your personal preferences. By taking the time to assess these factors and choosing high-quality paving slabs that meet your specific needs and requirements, you can create a beautiful, functional, and enjoyable outdoor space that enhances the beauty and value of your home. Whether you prefer large slabs or small pavers, natural stone, porcelain or concrete, there are numerous options available to suit your style and budget. With the right paving slabs, you can transform your patio into a welcoming and inviting extension of your home that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.
If you're still undecided after looking, you can always call our friendly sales team on 0800 002 9910 who will more more than happy to guide you through the different options!