How to Choose the Right Paving for Your Garden and Patio

Garden paving comes in a huge range of colours and textures and the choice can be quite overwhelming. We’ve put together some extremely reliable, quality product suggestions for you, based on over 25 years of selling paving for gardens to landscapers and homeowners.  Just something to think about as you explore our Merchant Depot paving slab ranges! If you're keen to get a project up and running soon, you might like to have a quick read of our Merchant Depot advice on paving slab availability and your current options.

Choosing paving colours and styles: features to consider

  1. Colours: explore the classic natural stone buffs, greys and browns or the wider palette of colours available in concrete and porcelain paving ranges
  2. Textures: will naturally riven stone and textured concrete slabs suit your project best perhaps, or the smooth finish of sawn stones and porcelain slabs?
  3. Maintenance: Is finding the time to keep your patio looking good a concern? Choose non-porous, algae-resistant porcelain slabs with low moisture content if time is at a premium.
Stonemarket - Beachside Natural Stone Paving

Popular grey and silver patio paving for gardens

Marshalls Argent Coarse Garden Paving

Marshalls Argent Coarse Garden Paving Slabs

Captures the look of natural granite
Fairstone Alverno grey sandstone paving

Marshalls Fairstone Antique Alverno Garden Paving

Natural stone with traditional tumbled edges

Natural stone - perfect grey paving for gardens

Natural limestone provides subtle, restful landscaping in the grey colour palette. Marshalls Sylvern Limestone Paving Slabs offers delightful grey tones and natural stone textures.  Clean sawn edges give the Sylvern a contemporary feel and we think it also makes a great alternative to natural slate.

Another great patio option for your garden would be Stonemarket Namera Limestone Garden Paving - it's a beautiful natural limestone paving and despite its name, Desert Brown is a soft, warm grey. With the immense durability and character of natural limestone, these quality flags make beautiful outdoor spaces.

Porcelain in natural slate greys for low maintenance

You'll find a great choice of contemporary cool grey colours in our porcelain range. Marshalls Symphony Urban Porcelain Paving comes in three shades of grey - Ash, Steel and Stone. It's the ultimate in chic high performance technical paving produced by paving market leaders, Marshalls.

Urban Porcelain's large format lightweight slabs are non-porous and easy to maintain.  Part of the extensive best-selling Symphony porcelain range, it's a fantastic choice for achieving that smooth, seamless patio finish.

Grey sandstone is a timeless favourite

Soft grey Indian sandstone is just what you need to make your a garden a harmonious and relaxing refuge from the visual busyness of our fast-moving digital lives.   Marshalls Fairstone Antique Alverno Garden Paving has all the character of delightful period garden flagstones; Alverno Silver Birch and Silver Limestone Multi are stunning classic grey sandstones which look fabulous against strong architectural plants and natural wood structures.

Our top picks for cream, sand and buff paving for gardens

Marshalls Indian Sandstone

Marshalls Indian Sandstone Paving

Beautiful sandstone shades
Marshalls Saxon Garden Paving

Marshalls Saxon Textured Garden Paving

Family-friendly best seller
Symphony Classic Porcelain Paving Slabs

Marshalls Symphony Porcelain Paving Slabs in Barley

Classic sandstone look in porcelain slab
Stonemarket Bourton Riven Garden Paving

Stonemarket Bourton Riven Garden Paving

Riven character and warm colours

Classic Indian Sandstone paving for gardens

The warm soft tones of classic Indian sandstone paving  creates a gentle, natural landscaping colour palette. Marshalls Indian Sandstone Paving Slabs are a budget riven natural sandstone option in varied warm buffs and browns.  Alternatively, look at Riven Harena Golden Sand Multi for an exceptionally beautiful sandstone with guaranteed colour consistency.

Buff concrete slabs with riven character

Marshalls Heritage Garden Paving and Marshalls Firedstone Garden Paving are both manufactured paving ranges moulded from original Yorkstone flags with real stone aggregate components to give them authentic colour and surface textures.  Choose one of these popular riven paving designs to introduce sandstone colour and character into your garden.

Porcelain: a great sandstone alternative

While smooth sandstone is short supply around the world, high performance porcelain paving offers a smooth, slip-resistant and very beautiful alternative in a full range of cream, gold and buff sandstone colours. The Marshalls Symphony range has a number of options for you: popular pale creamy Symphony Classic Porcelain Paving in Barley or warmer, richer Buff. Like sandstone, Symphony Classic comes in mixed size patio project packs and lightweight slabs in three single sizes.

The best traditional riven slabs and textured paving for gardens

Marshalls Riven Harena Sandstone Paving Slabs

Marshalls Riven Harena Sandstone Paving Slabs

Premium natural riven sandstone
Marshalls Symphony Vitrified

Marshalls Regent Garden Paving

Practical riven Buff paving

Looking for a traditional cottage garden look?

You can buy terrific concrete garden paving with appealing rustic character.  These slabs have riven, textured surfaces and come in soft, warm stone colours, echoing the look of old weathered flagstones. They are often made from paving moulds cast from original flags, so they replicate all the surface variations of a hand-split natural stone slab.

Patio paving for gardens with character

Marshalls Heritage Garden Paving replicates traditional Yorkstone paving slabs.  Heritage concrete slabs are pressed from moulds based on reclaimed York flagstones which gives every slab a characterful surface profile.  They come in five different slab sizes, too, so your patio design can have that lovely authentic 'random' laying pattern that evokes a more traditional garden.

Natural riven stone

Classic natural stone slabs are timeless and full of character, explaining why our riven stone paving bestsellers never go out of fashion with our customers. Stonemarket Trustone Fellstyle Indian Sandstone Paving are split and hand-selected at the quarry face for looks and colour consistency.

The soft colour palette and surface texture of grey and buff riven sandstone makes it a real winner in both traditional and contemporary settings. For a beautiful riven Indian sandstone slab, Marshalls Riven Harena is unbeatable. It has the real wow factor, with hand-finished creamy slabs in large patio project packs.

Undecided whether riven or smooth slabs are best for your project?

Smooth paving doesn't mean slippy, of course. We offer smooth paving with high R values, which have been subjected to a pendulum Coefficient Of Friction (COF) test. Check out our Merchant Depot guide to textured and smooth paving surfaces.

Smooth paving slabs for a contemporary garden

Sawn Versuro Jumbo King Size Sandstone Paving

Marshalls Fairstone Sawn Versuro Garden Paving

Sandstone with a smooth fine-grained surface
Marshalls Argent Smooth Garden paving

Marshalls Argent Smooth Garden Paving

Cool smooth granite look
Marshalls Symphony Classic Black Porcelain Paving for Gardens

Marshalls SYMPHONY Natural Porcelain Paving

Tough, non-porous smooth surfaces
Stonemarket Fortuna Porcelain Paving for Gardens

Stonemarket Fortuna Porcelain Paving

Six contemporary colours

Porcelain paving: a great choice for a contemporary patio finish

Slabs that have smooth sawn surfaces and edges are the best paving for gardens with a contemporary, minimalist look.  Large slab formats, laid with extremely narrow joints, create elegant entertaining areas.  Smooth doesn't mean these paving designs are slippery - they all have grippy, slip-resistant finishes.

With uncertain availability of some of our popular smooth sawn sandstone slabs, we recommend you take a look at porcelain paving, increasingly the choice for landscape designers wanting smooth paving to complement contemporary homes. Porcelain is lightweight, and is available in large format slabs that are easier than comparatively sized natural stone to install.

Porcelain from Marshalls and Stonemarket has rectified edges, requiring only narrow 5mm joints, for desirably precise lines. Marshalls Arrento Porcelain Paving is a good-looking single size slab in five colours at an entry-level price.

Marshalls Argent Smooth Garden Paving is made from British granite; it's a very smart, contemporary paving slab and we love the way its quartz and mica elements catch the light . Alternatively, take a close look at porcelain paving slabs if a smooth patio look is for you. There's a huge amount of choice but check out Stonemarket Fortuna - it's a new range in six colours in large smooth square slabs.

To get up to speed with porcelain paving, why not visit our Merchant Depot guide to Marshalls Symphony to find out more about the amazing choice of colours and finishes available, or check out our quick read:  Why porcelain paving slabs could be your best choice for a patio

Deciding on the Best Paving for Your Garden? Your FAQs answered

How do I decide the pattern for laying my garden paving?

Marshalls and Stonemarket offer a wide range of laying patterns for their paving - it's one of the reasons why we stock their products. Their project packs all have laying patterns to follow and contain exactly the right mix of slab sizes to achieve the look.

There's much more on paving laying patterns in our Merchant Depot quick read: Paving Slab Laying Patterns Explained.  Alternatively, give us a call and we’ll gladly help you source the best paving for your project and a laying pattern to suit.

Why do some paving designs have colour variation?

With natural stone paving, there is a possibility that there is a slight colour variant between individual quarried batches. We suggest you order enough paving for your project to avoid having to top up from another batch.

Standard sandstone is much more likely to have batch variation so it’s worth giving the slabs a quick wash to remove any dust and residue before laying; this will reveal the precise colour and then you can decide how to distribute slabs if there is any variation in shade.

We explain in more detail in this article: Indian Sandstone Colours: the choice is yours!

Concrete paving made from natural stone aggregates can also have very slight variations, so again it’s worth checking you are purchasing from the same batch. If colour consistency is a priority, we suggest you look at premium designs which are hand-selected for consistency or porcelain slabs, especially if you are paving a large area.

Do I need to seal my garden paving?

No, Marshalls and Stonemarket paving products do not require sealants, and neither does outdoor porcelain paving. Routine seasonal brushing and cleaning of your paths and patios will keep them clear of debris, moss and algae. High quality paving is less porous, moisture-resistant and is easier to keep clean as a result.

Merchant Depot tackles this FAQ in this quick read: Do I need to seal patio slabs?

Will the colour of my paving slabs fade over time?

Concrete slabs, which get their colour and texture from coloured by natural stone aggregates, and natural stone paving will both fade slightly over time due to sunlight and weathering. Concrete paving coloured with pigments will fade more - and more quickly - than natural slabs. Porcelain paving fades less over a long period of time - it's fired at extremely high temperatures and this fixes the pigments very effectively.

Why porcelain keeps its fresh-laid good looks over time and other useful info about this innovative paving: Why porcelain paving slabs could be your best choice for a patio

Will anything stain garden slabs, for instance fat and oil?

Yes, some household and DIY products will stain your paving slabs. If you spill any fat or oil from a barbecue, it will soak into the paving stones and create marks. The quicker you clean a spill, the less likely it will stain permanently. Avoid using strong or undiluted acids directly on the slabs, as this again might cause discolouration and possibly long- term damage to the slabs.

  1.  The occasional clean with a stiff yard brush and warm, soapy water is all you need to  keep your slabs looking good.
  2. Lighter coloured porcelain paving is still stain-resistant, unlike natural stone and some concrete slabs. But we still recommend you clean up those grease spots from food spills as and when they occur.
  3. Beware commercial patio cleaners - they are acid-based and can be quite harsh on all kinds of paving products,  so test a small area first.

Will my paving look exactly like the online image?

We can offer free samples of most of our products. Both our manufacturers make every effort to produce images that give you as clear an idea as possible of the texture and colour of their paving slabs, but we know it really helps to see a sample before making your decision. Samples can be with you in 3-4 days. Just phone our team or use Merchant Depot Chat to request.