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Hyde Heath, Amersham, Buckinghamshire
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Cottage gardens are well known for their majestic buildings and blooming flower borders. However, the question is often asked, what the best paving for a cottage garden?
The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer. Historically cottages have been surfaced with whatever was contextual to the area or most convenient.
For example cottages in North Wales were regularly paved with local slate. However, most of the time, paving around traditional cottages has a rustic and weathered appeal.
Traditional, rural, cottages utilised paving materials out of necessity and not choice. Nonetheless, here I have listed the top 5 paving materials for cottage gardens.
I have based the list on both historical and visual precedents.
Brick paving is normally constructed with either; recycled bricks or clay pavers. Utilising old bricks for cottage garden paving was a common occurrence due to necessity.
However brick paths and patios do lend themselves to the quirkiness of the cottage garden style. In some cases it is even expectable for grass to grow between pavers and mowed with surrounding lawn.
New clay pavers do not hold the same rustic appeal and are much more expensive. However, the bright red tones of clay pavers compliment many English cottages.
For many years York stone was the premium paving material of choice within the UK. This led it to become a familiar paving around wealthy estates and large cottages.
Originally produced by quarries in Yorkshire this paving was transported across the country. Typically cut into varying sizes, random York stone paving became common within cottage gardens.
However, later in the 20th century, global supply chains brought many cheaper alternatives to market.
Indian sandstone became the follow on and cheaper alternative to traditional York stone. Like York stone, Indian sandstone is made up of similar sandstone geologies
However Indian sandstone being softer is easier to work and process. It also comes in a wide variety of colour tones making it extremely versatile.
This has made Indian sandstone also a paving of choice for cottage gardens. Although in truth it’s really because it’s a cheaper and easier to lay version of York stone.
Rustic slimsett block paving
Probably a surprise for many there is a type of block paving which works very well in cottage gardens.
This is probably because it has a ‘cobble effect’ surface which is always associated with historical surfaces. Having said this it would be unlikely most historical cottages would have been paved with granite.
This would have been too expensive for most rural farm workers. However, rustic looking ‘Slimsett’ block paving is extremely effective for cottage garden paths and patios.
Victorian style tiles
Victorian tiles were certainly not originally used to surface around cottages. Many cottages that were renovated during the Victorian era however did.
Surprisingly, these tiled surfaces do work very well in cottage gardens. The most common examples of these are front entrance pathways and small seating areas.
This is probably because such tiles are expensive and labour intensive. However, such patterned tilling is very effective in traditional cottage gardens.
Paving for modern cottage gardens
Not all cottage gardens today are trying to replicate past styles. There are plenty of contemporary cottage garden designs which celebrate both old and new.
Some of these involve modern landscaping around traditional cottages or new cottage gardens in a contemporary style. Some garden designs have adopted traditional cottage garden planting while keeping the hard landscaping modern.
Below I will list the three best paving types for modern cottage gardens.
Slate is well known for its durability and beautiful natural tones. Slate paving can look exceptionally contemporary and clean in modern garden designs. In cottage gardens it contrasts very well with white rendered walls, formal lawns and bold planting.
Granite has been used as a building material for many centuries. Due to its light colours and fine visual textures it’s a favourite paving material for modern gardens. In modern cottage gardens it can create very premium looking patios and pathways.
Porcelain paving is about as modern as you can get when it comes to paving. Typically, porcelain paving is well known for its light grey tones and cream colours.
Surprisingly, porcelain does work in well designed, contemporary, cottage gardens. Such a material works better in primary paving areas such as seating and pathways.
Larger areas of porcelain will benefit from contrasting colours and borders. This could be a brick edging or long narrow borders of a contrasting material such as black slate.
Thank you for reading our article on the best paving for Cottage gardens. If you require Cottage garden landscaping or paving do not hesitate to contact us.
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Hyde Heath, Amersham, Buckinghamshire