Are you a DIY and gardening enthusiast?
Designing your own pathways and patios will make the most of your creative skills.
You will find some inspiring ideas here, including finding eco-friendly alternatives, easy-to-follow directions for building a pathway and choosing the perfect paving tiles.
Directions and Tools for Building a Patio
Some patios are simple while others are more complicated. For example, if it is connected to the main house, you will have to ensure safe installation. Here is everything you need to know, starting with the correct base before you lay down pavers.
You will also need specific equipment to build a patio. Having the right tools is critically important and can make or break the final look of your patio. There are a lot of retailers out there who have the tools required, but one good one is Cladding Mate. They stock a good range of Trumpf tools, too.
Keeping it Green
There are a few considerations that will help you design your pathway and patio in a way that is eco-friendly and sustainable.
You are probably already reducing your lawn area to lower water usage and have set up a bird feeder so that insects can be controlled without harsh chemicals. But when you start landscaping your garden with hard materials, there are things that you can do to keep it green.
Always choose local over imported paving tiles. The carbon footprint to transport products over long distances adds to pollution in the atmosphere.
Choose permeable paving if this will fit in with the design you are going with. These have gaps that grass can grow through. More importantly, they permit water to be drained into the ground. This prevents flooding and erosion. Another option is moulds made from recycled plastic that has been resin-bonded with gravel.
For garden pathways, green choices include crushed brick, chipped bark or wood, and recycled or natural materials.
Typically, a path is about one metre in width. However, you will need to determine the best size to fit into the landscape. It can be straight, curved, or meander between trees and flower beds.
The easiest pathway to lay can be completed in four hours or less. Make sure the base is solid by combining stones with stone dust. Create a border from bricks, wood, or cobblestones. Fill in the pathway with gravel leaving a small gap at the top so that it doesn’t spill out.
A rustic stone walkway will take an hour or two longer than a gravel pathway. After marking out the pathway and preparing the ground base, lay out the stones to fit in an effective and interesting manner. Manoeuvre the stones until they sit firmly in the stone dust layer below. Use a level and rubber mallet to ensure evenness and a masonry hammer to cut back stones that don’t fit perfectly.
Choosing Paving Tiles
Your reasons for selecting certain tiles could be based on cost, aesthetics, or low maintenance. The paving tiles that are lowest in maintenance are made from porcelain. This benefit can be offset by falling leaves that leave tannin stains that are difficult to remove. The next best choice is natural stone, followed by slate and granite. Concrete is very porous and weaker than the other options.
In terms of aesthetics, you will want to consider colour, textures, sizes, and shapes. Warm colours are beige and terracotta. Black is cool and provides a nice contrast to planters with greenery. Wood provides a natural look and nowadays it is possible to find synthetic ones that are cheaper and longer-lasting yet look real. Use natural stone as an alternative.
If your patio follows directly from inside the house to the outside area, you can match the tiles. Suppliers produce identical tiles that are suitable for both indoors and outdoors. The outside tiles should be weather resistant and slip-proof. This provides a nice flowing symmetry. When the outdoor area is split-level, make sure that you choose tiles that provide a cohesive theme.
For a patio that extends into a pathway, use the same size and colour paving slabs for both. Separate each paver on the patio with small stones or gravel. Use grass between the outdoor slabs. This looks really great. Complement the paving with patio furniture made from natural materials such as rattan.
Hexagonal paving in granite is offset perfectly by potted plants and wall dividers in soft blue and white. Wooden floors that provide texture from faux timber synchronise nicely with wooden outdoor furniture with thick white denim covers and pillows. Alternate patterned and plain tiles in the same colour. This works well with steps leading from the patio.
Another idea is to use three complementary colours such as grey, white, and black. Arrange these in a pattern for a checkerboard effect. For a more luxurious effect, white Italian marble is made in realistic materials that are cheaper than the original.
These ideas, your creativity and style, and a small investment of time and effort will result in a beautiful patio and pathway.