A complete garden redesign is a chance to be creative. Outdoor flooring for your drive, patio or path, plays a big role, but it can be expensive. Here are guidelines for finding quality, attractive materials within budget.

The right materials

Stick to just three or four materials to avoid an overly busy look and maintain design unity. Your look could be interwoven with building supplies such as granite, brick, and oak. If you are stuck on one material, be creative. Lay knapped flint with clay bricks, as is often seen in rural settings. Use varied sizes and shapes of the same material. Imagine a ribbon of narrow, rough granite setts among larger sandblasted slabs offsetting a picnic area.

Colour, finish, and style

Consider your home’s architecture in choosing the color and finish of cheap paving stones for your patio, path or drive. For traditional, older British architecture, you might pick dark brickwork, earthy brown colors or a darker grey shade. A deck floor complements modern homes with exteriors of wrapped glass or wood. Use subtle colors. Pass up imitation pink or yellow imitation concrete and sandstone in rainbow colors. Style is the key. For example, a hard surface may or may not enhance your design.

 

For traditional homes, try river-worn gravel, rustic clay pavers or hewn sandstone. Hazel hurdles may complement traditional looks. For modern settings, choose sawn limestone, planed oak or quartzite. Polished concrete accents modern styles. Mix up styles with stone planks or porphyry for a unique texture and look. Beware of higher costs for special finishes like cut, planed, or sanded products.

The neighborhood

While everyone wants their own style, each home impacts the overall neighborhood. Follow local trends, and use materials from the area. Buff stone chips on a Cornwall driveway would clash with the granite surface common to the area.

Quality and durability

Beautiful materials may not weather well or be safe.

If you want an aged appearance, oak, copper or stone will get a weathered look over time. To maintain the same look, consider imitation concrete which is not changed by the elements.

 

For safety, pavers or decks should be slip-resistant. Structures meant to retain water should remain solid. Also, consider the maintenance needed for each material.

Weigh the costs of cheaper materials against the product’s lifespan and safety.

Rules and regulations.

Environmental impact is a key issue, and water run-off is part of that. Towns and cities are rushing to improve aging sewage systems and regulate water flow changes resulting from more tarmac and paving.

 

Laws passed in 2008 limit impermeable surfaces to exceed five square meters in a front garden unless you angle that surface. To do this, you must request planning permission.

Fortunately, alternatives to impermeable surfaces exist. Gravel or block paving has style, and a drive of “rumbled” blocks give a natural look. Permeable tarmac, bound gravel or porous paving also work.

Calculating Costs

Cost factors into your building supplies choices. Some are mentioned above, but there are other considerations.

 

The price of slabs varies by design, size construction, quantity, and quality. For example, a split stone is cheaper than cut, and resin-bound gravel is more expensive than loose.

When considering labor costs, get quotes from at least three contractors. These costs vary by area, but you likely will pay between £75 and £100 per square meter for the prep and bedding of paving slabs on to a mortar mix.

 

For machinery, consider what you will need for how long, and check rates with at least two vendors.

 

Cutting costs

The best way to cut costs is to research prices, product availability and local contractors. Look around building stores, and check for deals at do-it-yourself sheds. Using local supplies can save money, but be careful, there are exceptions. For example, Brazilian slate is cheaper than Welsh. Also, reclaimed or recycled materials are usually not cheaper than new products.

Redesigning your garden is a chance to express your style. Materials for patios, drives, and pathways can be an expensive element of the project. You can cut costs by researching your options in materials, contractors, and machinery. These guidelines are a good way to find the best looking and most cost-effective materials for the look you want.

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