Love your garden: Episode four

By The Secret Gardener


The centrepiece of the garden involved recreating the bow of a ship with a patio. We used upright, sunken sleepers as edging to shape the arched point and then Madera paving in Birch as the deck floor. This marvellous porcelain paving comes in long thin tiles which makes it easy to lay and gives a sharp finish that has tons of character. As they’re made of porcelain they will last incredibly well and can actually be more hard-wearing than concrete pavers.

The tiles also give us the incredible ability to have printed surfaces. And this is no average print; it will last for years and years, taking whatever the weather can throw at it. This particular tile gives a stunning wood effect that looks like the real thing. We chose a lighter colour that makes it look weathered and silvered like wood that’s been out in the elements for years. On a wide space like this patio it adds so much definition and really compliments the sleepers at the edge creating a rustic and nautical feel.


I don’t know why as a nation we don’t try to create more inspiring shapes with our patios than just rectangles bolted to the back of our houses. We should embrace paving and use more interesting shapes such as Paisley teardrops, diamonds, circles and ovals. You can make some phenomenal shapes just by cutting the tiles or by edging the paving with aggregate. Bradstone have a fabulous range of decorative stones which can go a long way to adding personality and character to your patio design.

You see, patios are not just about function; they are a feature too. You might even have space for more than one patio so you can catch both the morning and the evening sun. Use this to play with more than one design in the garden.


Another great option if you are looking for a rustic feel are Stonewood sleepers. They are made from cement but look like wooden sleepers. Or even Carpet Stones which give an old fashioned cobblestone style and make it very easy to create a more interesting and creative patio shape.

We also used Grand Natural Sandstone in Grey Ochre along the side of the house. As you can see in this photo, the cameraman has just walked all over it with his muddy boots. Brilliant. The hardest part of these shoots is keeping the paving clean!

This garden was an absolute treat to work on and, even if I say so myself, the patio looked ship-shape and Bristol fashion.

Meet the author

The Secret Gardener

The Secret Gardener is an award-winning landscaper, specialising in bringing colour and ambience to any space.

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