Paving Ideas 2023: Inspiration For Garden Patio Designs

Welcome to our garden design blog, where we explore the latest trends and timeless techniques to transform your outdoor space into a haven of tranquility and beauty. This year, paving options have expanded to include a diverse range of materials and design elements. From contrasting borders to integrated water features, let's explore the world of garden patio design and gather some inspirational ideas to elevate your outdoor living experience.

1. Large Format Paving: Bold and Beautiful

Talasey Porcelain 'Vitripiazza Colosso - Athos - large format sizes 1200x600 & 1200x1200mm

Large format paving slabs continue to be a popular choice for this year. These oversized slabs can make a small space appear larger and provide a clean, contemporary look. Opt for materials like porcelain or granite for a sleek, sophisticated finish that complements modern architectural styles. Here's some popular ways of using large format paving:

    • Expansive Retreats One of the most striking applications of large format paving is in creating spacious, welcoming retreats within your garden. Opt for generously sized slabs in a light, neutral shade to visually expand the area. By minimising the number of joints, you'll establish a seamless surface that invites leisurely strolls or relaxed gatherings.
    • Stylish Entertaining Spaces Transform your garden into an inviting hub for social gatherings by integrating large format paving into your entertaining area. Consider using porcelain or granite slabs for a sleek, contemporary finish that complements modern architectural styles. These materials not only exude sophistication but also offer durability, ensuring your outdoor space remains functional and beautiful for years to come. Arrange the slabs in a precise, grid-like pattern to create a sense of order and elegance. This structured layout provides a clean backdrop for outdoor furniture, allowing you to arrange seating and dining areas with ease. Incorporate plush cushions, vibrant textiles, and potted plants to infuse warmth and personality into the space.
    • Majestic Pathways Large format paving lends itself beautifully to crafting majestic pathways that beckon exploration. Whether leading to a secluded garden nook or connecting different areas of your outdoor space, these oversized slabs make a bold statement. Opt for natural stone varieties like limestone for a timeless, earthy aesthetic, or choose porcelain for a more contemporary look. Consider flanking the pathway with low, well-manicured shrubs or ground cover plants to create a delightful contrast against the expansive slabs.

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2. Steps: Elevate Your Design


Marshalls Versuro Caramel Cream Sawn Sandstone Bullnose Step Treads

If your garden has varying levels, incorporating steps into your patio design is not only functional but also adds an interesting visual dimension. Use the same material as your patio, or opt for a contrasting shade for added flair. Steps can create a graceful transition between different areas of your outdoor space. Here are some ideas using steps in your patio and garden design:

    • Seamless Transitions Steps play a pivotal role in establishing smooth transitions between different zones of your outdoor space. They guide the eye and the foot, creating a harmonious flow from one area to another. Opt for steps crafted from the same material as your patio for a seamless, unified look. This design choice not only maintains visual continuity but also ensures a cohesive aesthetic throughout your garden.
    • Contrasting Elegance For a touch of flair and sophistication, consider using steps in a contrasting shade or material. This design strategy creates a striking visual impact, turning the steps into a focal point of your garden. Dark granite steps against a light sandstone patio, for instance, can exude a sense of modern elegance. This contrast draws attention to the steps, transforming them from a purely functional element into a design feature.
    • Solar-Powered Lighting Incorporate steps with embedded LED lights to enhance both safety and ambience in your garden. Solar-powered lighting along the edges or on the risers of the steps not only illuminates the path but also adds a captivating visual element in the evenings. This practical addition ensures that your garden remains accessible and enchanting even after the sun sets.

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3. Porcelain Mosaic Patterned Style Paving: Intricate Elegance for Your Outdoor Space

Marshalls Paving Porcelain 'Symphony Matte Vitrified' Botanic - Mosaic Style Paving

Porcelain mosaic style paving brings a touch of intricate artistry to your outdoor space. These porcelain crafted tiles offer a wealth of design possibilities. Here are some inspired ideas for incorporating porcelain mosaic style paving into your patio and garden:

    • Mediterranean Courtyards with Intricate Patterns Transport your outdoor space to the sun-soaked terraces of the Mediterranean with porcelain mosaic style paving. Opt for traditional patterns like arabesques, quatrefoils, or intricate geometric designs. The blend of delicate details and vibrant colours adds a touch of exotic allure, creating an inviting and captivating atmosphere.
    • Timeless Elegance with Monochrome Mosaics Embrace the classic allure of black/grey and white porcelain mosaic tiles for a look that never goes out of style. Create artistic centre pieces and focalpoints within your patio to bring the interest and impression of using outdoor rugs upon your paving. This sophisticated palette complements a range of architectural styles, adding an element of understated elegance to your patio or garden.
    • Subtle Accents with Mosaic Borders Frame your patio or garden areas with delicate mosaic-style borders. Use them to define the edges and add a subtle touch of artistry. Choose colours and patterns that complement the overall aesthetic of your outdoor space. This understated yet impactful design element provides a polished finish to your paving.

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4. Contrasting Borders: A Striking Statement

Talasey Porcelain Cava Quartz Lustre Border Tiles

A contrasting border is a classic design element that can add definition and character to your patio. Consider using a different colour or material for the border to create a striking visual impact. For instance, pairing a dark grey limestone patio with a light-coloured granite border can create a stunning contrast that catches the eye. Here's some ideas to inspire you:

    • Visual Depth and Dimension A contrasting border introduces a captivating visual depth to your patio. By using a different colour or material, you create a visual separation between the main surface and the border. This subtle shift in tones adds layers and dimension, making your patio more visually interesting and inviting.
    • Framing the View Imagine your patio as a work of art, and the contrasting border as its elegant frame. This border not only defines the edges of your patio but also draws attention to the central space. It guides the eye, directing focus towards the heart of your outdoor oasis, be it a vibrant garden bed, a serene water feature, or a captivating sculpture.
    • Defining Functional Zones In larger outdoor spaces, a patio often serves multiple functions. The contrasting border can play a pivotal role in defining these functional zones. Use it to demarcate areas for dining, lounging, or recreational activities. This not only helps organise the space but also guides the flow of movement, creating a well-structured and purposeful patio layout.

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5. Integrated Water Features: Serenity in Motion

Adezz Corten Steel Water Feature 

Water features have an innate ability to bring a sense of calm and serenity to any space. Imagine a small, elegant fountain gently trickling in the corner of your patio or a sleek, modern water wall as a focal point. By integrating water elements into your design, you can infuse your garden with a touch of luxury and relaxation. Here are some inspirations suggestions on incorporating water within your patio design:

    • Cascading Waterfall for Tranquility Emulate the sights and sounds of a natural waterfall by incorporating a cascading water feature. This can be achieved by using tiered stones or installing a pre-fabricated waterfall structure. The gentle flow of water creates a soothing atmosphere, making it the perfect spot for relaxation and contemplation.
    • Reflecting Pool for Zen Vibes A reflecting pool is a timeless addition that brings a sense of serenity and reflection to your patio. By positioning it strategically, you can capture the beauty of surrounding plants and architectural elements in its mirror-like surface. Add floating plants or ornamental fish to enhance the naturalistic ambiance.
    • Cascading Waterfall for Tranquility Emulate the sights and sounds of a natural waterfall by incorporating a cascading water feature. This can be achieved by using tiered stones or installing a pre-fabricated waterfall structure. The gentle flow of water creates a soothing atmosphere, making it the perfect spot for relaxation and contemplation.
    • Smooth Water Table for Modern Elegance A smooth water table is a contemporary twist on traditional water features. This sleek design involves a flat surface with water gently flowing over its edges. It adds a touch of sophistication to your patio and provides a soothing auditory experience. Consider incorporating built-in seating around the water table for a relaxing lounge area.

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6. Circles: Curves of Elegance

Bowland Stone Concrete 'Stratford' Sun Paving Circle Feature Kit

Incorporating circular patterns into your paving design can soften the overall aesthetic and create a sense of flow. A circular patio area can be a charming gathering space, ideal for intimate gatherings or simply a quiet spot to enjoy your garden. Use circular paving kits or arrange stones in a circular pattern to achieve this elegant look. Here are some imaginative design ideas to help you incorporate these circular features into your outdoor space:

    • Central Patio Focal Point Make a statement by creating a central circular patio as the focal point of your garden. Use large, eye-catching paving circles in materials like sandstone or concrete for added drama. This circular gathering spot can be a perfect location for outdoor dining or a stylish seating area, surrounded by lush landscaping.
    • Pathway to Tranquility Design a meandering circular pathway that guides visitors through your garden, providing a sense of discovery and surprise at every turn. Use smaller paving circles in a contrasting material to delineate the path. Add seating nooks or small garden vignettes along the way for moments of repose and reflection.
    • Circular Fire Pit Gathering For a warm and inviting atmosphere, design a circular fire pit area. Use circular paving to create the seating and fire pit platform. Encircle the fire pit with comfortable seating for family and friends to gather around, creating a cosy haven for evening conversations and marshmallow toasting.

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7. Illuminating Ambiance: Creative Lighting Ideas for Your Patio

Lighting is a crucial element in patio design, adding both functionality and ambiance to your outdoor space. Here are some imaginative lighting ideas to help you create a captivating atmosphere around your patio:

    • String Lights for Enchanting Canopies Hang string lights overhead to create a captivating canopy of light. Whether it's from pergola beams, tree branches, or posts, these twinkling lights add a touch of magic to your patio. Opt for warm, inviting tones to set a cosy and inviting atmosphere for gatherings and relaxation.
    • Recessed Deck Lighting for Subtle Elegance Incorporate recessed lighting into the surface of your patio or deck. These discreet fixtures provide a soft, even glow, illuminating pathways and defined areas. Choose energy-efficient LED lights for a sustainable and cost-effective lighting solution that enhances the overall aesthetics of your patio.
    • Candle Lanterns for Rustic Charm Infuse your patio with a touch of old-world charm by incorporating candle lanterns. Place them on tables, hang them from hooks, or scatter them strategically around your patio. The warm, flickering light of candles creates an intimate and inviting atmosphere, perfect for quiet evenings or romantic dinners.

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8. Elevated Elegance: Incorporating Raised Beds into Your Patio and Garden

Marshalls Sawn Sandstone Walling Versuro Autumn Bronze

Raised beds are a versatile and stylish addition to any outdoor space, offering a range of design possibilities and practical benefits. Here are some inspired design ideas and practical suggestions for seamlessly integrating raised beds into your patio and garden:

Integrated Seating or Edging for Multi-Functional Beds Maximise the functionality of your raised beds by incorporating built-in seating or using them as edging for your patio. Choose materials that are comfortable to sit on, such as smooth, rounded stone, and add cushions or outdoor-friendly upholstery for a cosy touch. This dual-purpose design adds versatility and style to your outdoor space.

Tiered Garden Beds for Visual Interest Create a visually striking display by incorporating tiered raised beds. Staggered at different heights, these beds not only add depth and dimension to your garden but also provide ample space for a diverse range of plants. Utilise the different levels to showcase complementary or contrasting foliage, creating an eye-catching botanical masterpiece.

Herb and Kitchen Garden Beds for Functionality Designate a raised bed specifically for herbs and edible plants. This functional addition not only provides easy access to fresh ingredients for cooking but also adds a touch of practicality to your garden. Consider using materials like untreated wood or stone for a natural, organic look that complements the culinary theme.

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9. Cobble Setts: Timeless Elegance for Your Patio and Garden

Natural Paving Sandstone Cobble Setts - Pewter

Before delving into design ideas, let's explore what cobble setts are. Cobble setts, often referred to simply as "setts," are small, square or rectangular stones, typically made of natural materials like granite or sandstone. They are often known for their durability, rustic charm, and timeless appeal, however more recent additions made from porcelain and sawn sandstone appeal to more contemporary style gardens. Setts have been used for centuries in various forms of construction, and their enduring popularity stems from their ability to add a touch of old-world elegance to modern outdoor spaces.

Now, let's look into some inspired design ideas for incorporating cobble setts into your patio and garden:

Quaint Courtyards with Cobblestone Paths Create a charming courtyard atmosphere by laying cobble setts in a random pattern for pathways. The irregular shapes and textures of setts add character, evoking a sense of history and tradition. Surround the paths with lush greenery and potted plants for a romantic, European-inspired ambiance.

Cobblestone Edging for Defined Spaces Use cobble setts as edging to delineate different areas of your garden or patio. This provides a clear visual separation between flower beds, grassy areas, and paved sections. Opt for a contrasting colour to make the edging stand out, or choose a complementary shade for a more subtle effect.

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Exploring Paving Materials: Sandstone, Limestone, Granite, Porcelain and Concrete

When it comes to choosing the right material for your patio, the options are as varied as the designs themselves. Here are some popular choices for 2023:


Known for its warm, earthy tones and natural texture, sandstone provides a rustic, inviting look that complements a wide range of garden styles. Sandstone paving is availble as a traditional riven, rippled surface that suits all garden styles in addition to with a smooth or textured flat surface option that works well with a contemporary styled patio. It is available in a wide choice of colour options to suit all settings. Sandstone prices start from around £18/m2 for a riven finish stone and from £25/m2 for a sawn finish sandstone. Prices include VAT

Stonemarket Paving Riven Sandstone - Sahara Multi

Natural Paving Riven Sandstone - Promenade

Paving Superstore Riven Sandstone - Autumn

Natural Paving Sawn Sandstone - Ivory

Paving Superstore Sawn Sandstone - York

Strata Sawn & Honed Sandstone - Barga


With its elegant, muted colours and relatively flat surface, limestone exudes a timeless charm. It's a versatile choice that pairs well with both traditional and contemporary designs. Limestone colours range from buttery yellow and grey through to dark velvety grey. Prices start from around £19/m2

Natural Paving Limestone - Carbon Edge

Natural Paving Limestone - Harbour Grey

Paving Superstore Limestone - Yellow


For a sleek, modern aesthetic, granite is the go-to option. Its flat textured finish and range of colours make it a popular choice for creating minimalist, sophisticated outdoor spaces. Granite is available in shades of grey with prices starting from around £28/m2

Strata Granite Paving - Venetian Ebony

Paving Superstore Granite Paving - Yellow

Strata Granite Paving - Venetian Silver


A relatively new contender in the world of paving, porcelain offers a durable, low-maintenance option with a sleek, contemporary appearance. Its non-porous surface is resistant to stains, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas. Porcelain paving prices start from around £22/m2 increasing to £100/m2 for thicker driveway options

Strata Porcelain - Polar Ivory

Paving Superstore Porcelain - Kandla

Talasey Porcelain - Bellezza Lite

Paving Superstore Porcelain - Aosta White

Marshalls Porcelain - Metallic Brown

Strata Porcelain - Rustic Black


Concrete paving slabs are a versatile and durable option for outdoor surfaces. Composed of a mixture of cement, aggregate, and water, these slabs are known for their strength and longevity. They come in a wide array of sizes, shapes, and finishes, allowing for a range of design possibilities. Concrete paving starts from around £24/m2, ideal for shed bases, utility areas and economical patios. More premium products start from around £34/m2.

Stonemarket Paving Concrete Bourton Buff

Bowland Stone Concrete Cloister Weathered Slate

Bowland Stone Concrete Deckpave Brown Oak


In 2023, garden patio design offers a myriad of exciting possibilities. Whether you're drawn to the timeless elegance of limestone or the bold statement of large format paving, there's a style to suit every taste and garden space. By incorporating elements like contrasting borders, water features, and creative lighting, you can create a truly unique outdoor haven that reflects your personal style and enhances your lifestyle.

So, roll up your sleeves, gather your design ideas, and embark on a journey to transform your garden patio into a space that beckons you to relax, entertain, and bask in the beauty of nature. Happy designing!