Creating a great looking garden involves commitment, application, skill, some experience and normally plenty of hard graft. So having made all that effort and achieved something to be proud why wouldn’t you want to make use of it as often as possible? Unfortunately for many gardeners, enjoying their creation all year round is not possible due to damp weather and wet conditions underfoot. One answer to improved access to the garden is the simple patio. An area of natural stone or block paving that can be used even when the lawn is wet during the winter and perfect for outdoor entertaining during the warmer months. Garden patios are also useful for other purposes such as safe play areas for smaller children, a place to sit and relax after a hard days at work, a place to hang out the washing or somewhere close to the house to site a small herb garden perhaps.
Garden patios come in many different shapes, sizes and types, but there’s no doubt they can be one of the most useful parts of the garden. An attractive, well-built patio will provide many years of useful amenity and should be designed and built with that in mind.
There are various ways of constructing a patio and a whole list of different materials that can be used depending on style and budget. A low cost patio area can be made up using loose chippings or pebbles but this will almost certainly be difficult to maintain and unlikely to look good for very long. The age of wooden decking seems to be a thing of the past in the UK at least. At one time it was all the rage until those who used the technique began to realise its drawbacks. It rarely lasted more than a few years, could quickly become damp, slippery and dangerous and often poor construction methods led to weeds growing up through the gaps in the wood. Now most gardeners will opt for a stone constructed patio, with many choosing to build with natural stone flagstones for the optimum look and sturdiness.
One aspect of patio paving is its longevity, especially if it is constructed well using high quality materials. Natural stone paving is the material of choice for a number of reasons and Indian natural stone is the particular variety that many landscape architects are recommending for use. Of course not all natural stone is suitable for patios so some care must be taken when deciding which to use. Although most authentic stone will look good, not all types have the durability required to take the wear and tear a patio will receive during its lifetime. You may not expect to be stressing your patio too much but even a dropped item or hard frost can easily damage some softer stone types, making frequent repairs necessary. Far better to pick a hard wearing stone like Indian stone or Yorkstone for the patio and while these tougher, heavier stones may be more expensive and slightly more labour intensive to lay, they will almost certainly repay the additional cost many times over during their long lives.