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Generally speaking the best location for a patio is at the very rear of the home. Such a patio can become even more ideal if you have large, sliding, patio doors.
Such an arrangement allows a patio to become an extension of the home, maximising space! Having a patio which captures most of the mid day sun is always ideal, especially in cooler regions.
Such, south facing patios benefit from a warm microclimate created when sunlight is captured against a building. This is why south facing sites are generally always the optimum orientation for back gardens.
However, not every site is blessed with such perfect positioning on the earth’s axis. Consequently in this article I give some tips on making the best of a north facing site.
I will also explain what is the best paving for a north facing garden.
Take advantage of the rear boundary
The ultimate way to mitigate not having a south facing garden is to plan in reverse. Instead of creating the patio by your home place it along the rear boundary.
This can be a fantastic way to take advantage of microclimate created by the sun. A large summer house or outdoor room can further enhance a patio area for a north facing garden.
Improve your gardens drainage
The biggest threat to patios in north facing gardens is a lack of direct sunlight. This generally leads to soil with higher moisture content throughout the year.
Such conditions can favour the establishment of algae which can turn paving green. Consequently, if you have a north facing garden with damp soil you may want to improve soil drainage.
This can be achieved in a number of ways including ameliorating your soil and installing drainage channels. For more information read our article on how to drain your garden here.
Paving for north facing gardens
Enhance your north facing patio with colour
North facing gardens are generally much shadier than south facing sites. Therefore, when selecting paving it is always best to go with lighter colours.
Not only will this make the patio look brighter it will help to reflect sunlight. This can make a north facing patio much more visually appealing and warmer.
Choose paving with warm feeling colours such as shades of yellow, orange and pink. An ideal candidate for this would be Indian sandstone.
One of our landscaping projects with Indian sandstone steps: Northwood, Harrow
Dense impervious paving is best for north facing gardens
One of the main problems with north facing gardens is patios do not dry out as well. The lack of direct sunlight means patios are more likely to retain moisture.
This can leave them vulnerable to the establishment of microscopic plants such as algae. Such circumstances can lead to dark and green discolouration which looks unsightly and can become slippery.
Therefore, it is always best to use dense, natural stone, paving with low permeability for north facing gardens. You ideally want to use light coloured paving materials with very low absorbency levels.
Therefore I find granite, slate and porcelain the best paving materials for north facing gardens.
One of our porcelain paving projects in Aylesbury
Indian sandstone can be used for its warm colours and tones but it must be sealed! It is also important that you have an effective patio drainage strategy in place!
This is to prevent the paving becoming too wet during times of heavy rain. Be aware that manufactured paving with concrete aggregates is probably not suitable for north facing gardens.
Eventually acid within the rain can penetrate and erode the paving’s surface. This leads to greater amounts of water absorption over time exacerbating microscopic plant life and algae establishment.
Therefore, I conclude the best paving for north facing gardens; is light coloured, non-absorbent, natural stone.
The best contenders are granite, slate and porcelain paving. Indian sandstone with warm colours is also suitable as long as the paving is well sealed to prevent moisture penetration.
All north facing gardens should have an effective drainage strategy to keep paving as dry as possible.
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