Creating any new garden should start with the hard landscaping. It’s easy to think of the patio, walls and beds as distinct areas, but you can create a true harmony by using similar hard landscaping materials to link the space together.
This is what we did in this episode of Love Your Garden. We combined the patio and the walling to lift the stone from the ground and up into raised beds. The effect was stunning.
We used StoneMaster 800x200 long aspect pavers in Mid Grey rather than square slabs. One of the best things about these pavers is that they are also considerably lighter than traditional slabs. It makes them much easier to handle – a true blessing, I can tell you!
The elongated shape draws the eye to left to right, creating the optical illusion of more space. If you stagger the joins, you create a contemporary pattern and add interest to the patio.
I also like to leave out a few patio slabs to create planting pockets. It saves having loads of containers and it softens the hard landscaping. Patios are also great spaces for personal touches like bird baths or wildlife feeding stations.
We also put some of these contemporary pavers into the lawn in a random style to create a walkway from the top to the bottom of the garden. The key thing to remember when you set any paving into the lawn is to make sure the slab sits lower than the grass level. This means you can mow right over them without having to get the strimmer out.
We also created raised beds and they worked really well with the design. In fact, I have a lot of them in my own garden. They make it easier to grow crops without digging over the ground, and the height is a great deterrent for pests like rabbits. Though it doesn't stop them completely – I think those bunnies use bamboo canes to pole vault onto my raised beds!
To make raised beds, make sure there is sufficient strength within the wall to hold all the contents. If you’re creating particularly large raised beds, you may need to double skin the wall using breeze blocks as an initial framework. Then you can put Bradstone walling bricks around the outside.
Combining the patio with brick raised beds looks striking and cohesive, but you can do even more than that. Create raised walling to house a pond or a pool water feature. You can even build raised flower beds – great if you garden on very poor soil.
For a child-friendly feature, consider building a square of low garden walls. Line it with plastic and use it as a self-contained sandpit for the kids.
These combinations of floor paving and raised walls go together really well. Once you get the hard landscaping right, you’re ready to put in the plants.
Love Your Garden will be on ITV1 every Tuesday at 8pm.