The Landscape Guide

Paving Design Guide

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Good paving is surprisingly difficult. The problems are:

  • it is as easy to make a paved area too small as to make it too large
  • most of the paving materials sold in garden centres are ghastly
  • making crude patterns with crude jointing takes no thought
  • sometimes it is best to align a path on the most direct route (the 'desire line'); othertimes it is best to use the most circuitous route

The safest generalisation about paving is 'use only the best materials'. These are not necessarily the most expensive materials:

  • a good aggregate (gravel) can be cheap but superb
  • precast concrete is almost always wrong in gardens: it looks fresh when first laid but deteriorates thereafter
  • sawn granite, though very expensive, rarely looks good in gardens: perhaps it is too closely associated with banks and tombstones.

Laying good paving is craftwork. It requires good selection of materials, sensitive jointing and well-judged patterning.

Another key point for the paving designer to consider is the use of local materials. They are often the best choice and do much to create local identity.

Greywacke cobbles

Old bricks - showing more life every year

Granite is best in warm colours and small blocks