Love your garden: Episode Seven

By The Secret Gardener

This was a wonderful garden created for a very brave and inspirational family. They had a little girl with severely limited vision, and our aim was to try to create a sensory garden for her, while making the garden as practical as possible for the family.

One of the important areas was just outside the house. There were two doors out into the back garden: one was to a side passage and the other was the main doors that lead out to the patio area. We wanted to put a landing space for people as they come out of those main doors into the garden, and paving obviously fits the bill.

Natural limestone

We used Bradstone Natural Limestone paving in the Azure shade, which gave a stunning effect. Natural stone is actually carved from a rock face and cut into slab-size pieces. You can see from the slab edges in this picture that they have been rough sawn; in other words, the edges look as if they have been chipped away rather than a precise straight cut. This really adds character to each of the paving stones, and clearly highlights that this is a natural product rather than something that has been handmade or reformed in a factory.

I love the colour of this stone. There are two different shades of this particular product, but this greenish-blue colour, which is called Azure in this range, worked particularly well in this garden. I actually used this at one of my previous homes and I absolutely loved it.

Another great thing with natural stone is that it really soaks up the heat from the sun and reflects it back in the evening. So when the evening draws in after a warm day and you step out onto your patio with your bare feet, you can still feel the warmth of the sun captured within the stone. It really is a beautiful material to work with.

Laying pattern

With this particular patio we used four different sizes to create the effect you can see in the picture.  This kind of pattern and material creates both texture and interest for your patio, and natural stone is perfect because it doesn’t change or discolour over time, as it is the natural colour of the stone itself and not made with a dye. Another cool feature, especially for the kids, is that in some of these stones you can actually see fossilised plants and creatures from millions of years ago embedded within the stone. 

Tips to remember

Many people will build a patio that is big enough for their table and chairs, but they don’t leave enough space around it. When you are sitting at a table and you need to get up, you often need to push the chair out significantly to give yourself room to stand comfortably and get out. The paving needs to take this into account or suddenly you’ll have chair legs going into your borders or people struggling to untangle themselves from the furniture. Make sure you sit down and test it out first. We put in quite a sizeable dining area for this garden, and I got to make an oak table and benches out of sleepers, which I must say looked the business.

There are a variety of ways to point between the stones. Bradstone has its very own product called Bradpoint, which make the job of pointing up stones really easy, and the finished look is absolutely amazing.

If you like the natural stone effect and you want to do it in your own garden, there’s plenty of different natural stone products to look for on the Bradstone website. And if you want to have it laid professionally, take a look at the Bradstone Assured installers scheme, where you only find accredited hard landscapers that will do a marvellous job, and you get a 5 year guarantee on the installation.

For this last picture you can see something that just adds a little character and personality to your patio area. The family have made their own paving slab using concrete, marbles, beads, and things like that. It’s a lovely touch, making the paving more than just functional, but personal and aesthetic as well, and a great way to put your family’s stamp on the garden.


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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