How to Choose Your Ideal Slabs and Patio Design

How to Choose Your Ideal Slabs and Patio Design

Whether it's a full brick driveway, intricate patio design, or laying a couple of paving slabs, we'll answer the key questions you need to consider when planning your project.

What do I want to achieve?

To state the obvious: different areas provide different functions. Ask yourself what end benefits you want your project to deliver: 

  • Do you want to improve the overall appearance of your property? Try natural, manufactured and porcelain patio paving, edging, cobbles and circles.
  • Do you want improved access to your property? Driveway products such as concrete block paving and setts are ideal.
  • Do you need external seating or a dining area? Natural and manufactured patio paving or circles and shapes are for you.
  • Are you trying to tidy up or stop damage to certain areas? Utility paving can solve your issue, including our value range products.

Next, look at the products that fit your desired function. At this stage you'll be considering:

  • Does it match my tastes?
  • Do I prefer contemporary or traditional styles?
  • Should it blend or contrast with existing features (house colour, existing walls and landscape features, etc.)?
  • Does it fit my budget?

To save flicking through page after page trying to find what's right for you, remember – we're here to help. For expert personalised advice, get in touch. We can help find what's right for you, without breaking the bank.


Don't limit yourself. Landscaping projects can mix and match different types of stone and colours. In fact, a uniform area randomly laid flagstones may not have the same overall impact as an area which also use a circle feature or interspersed setts.

You could try mixing sandstone flags with sandstone setts, even in two contrasting colours, to define areas or borders. This can even be done when using concrete block paving for driveway areas.

For driveways, a stylish alternative to a raised kerb is to border the drive area with a contrasting block either in the same style or a standard 200×100 block.

Decorative aggregates are worth considering to seamlessly add definition to different areas. As an example, you can combine aggregates in certain areas of your patio, planted with perennials, herbs, grasses and alpines. Patio designs are not all or nothing. Find an option that works for you.

Planning the Area

Firstly, the area to be landscaped will have to be carefully surveyed. Measure the area, noting existing features (including any obstacles, trees or manhole covers etc) and determining the levels.

Calculate the levels and gradients of your chosen area to ensure adequate water drainage. Standing water can be a slip hazard and may deteriorate the surface and the structure of your patio.

How much fall do you need? It depends on your material:

  • Smooth surface flags are quicker to drain than riven flags due to their surface profile, so need less of a gradient.
  • Products with a smooth surface require a minimum fall of 1:60.
  • Products with a riven profile will require a minimum fall of 1:50.

How do I calculate the gradient?

You need to take two measurements: the depth or vertical height and the horizontal distance of the paved area.

Example Calculation

You are laying an area of sandstone flags, 5 metres in length x 3 metres wide.

At the end of the 5 metre length, there is a drainage gully into which you would like the water to run. You decide that the minimum fall of 1:60 is sufficient for draining the patio area:

1:60 = 1/60 = 0.0167
Length = 5000 × 0.0167 = 83.5mm
Patio to fall 83.5mm towards drainage gully.

The area can then be set out as a scale drawing, either on paper or in a software package, while making note of any features and their relation to each other.

If necessary, large areas or those with complicated shapes can be divided into smaller, more manageable sections. The scale drawing will then enable you to calculate the total area you need to pave.

Using this area total, Simply Paving can give you an accurate quote for your paving requirements, VAT and delivery (if applicable) inclusive.

Don't feel as if you have to make all these decisions alone. We want your landscaping project to be perfect. For advice, assistance, or inspiration, Simply Paving is here to support you at every stage. Give us a call on 0800 032 6306. We would love to hear from you.

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