Wondering where to start with your new garden layout? We’ve collated some of the garden paving ideas found across our website to get you thinking. Use the links below to find more info in each section.

Garden paving ideas from Matt Haddon, combining black granite paving and clay pavers with bench and DesignClad Volcano Roco clad walls.
Matt Haddon's Silver-Gilt winning show garden at RHS Tatton 2018 combined Black granite paving with clay pavers.

Defining the style of garden

So much choice in garden paving can be daunting. Narrow your field by thinking about the style of garden you'd like.


Flowerbeds, winding paths, lawn. Is this your ideal? Generally, when people design a traditional garden they opt for sandstone paving, tumbled paving or even reclaimed Yorkstone.  This is because these are more rustic in their style and blend in well with traditional architecture.  People usually opt for random-sized paving. 


Minimalist gardens with clean, straight lines and bold, contrasting colours.  Porcelain and sawn paving are particularly popular for this type of design. Paving is usually laid with single-sized slabs in uniform patterns.

Traditional meets contemporary with reclaimed Yorkstone paving complementing the old brick wall and contrasting with the crisp lines of a sawn sandstone bench.

And of course, there are plenty of gardens which combine both elements in varying degrees. Knowing the underlying feel that you want, though, helps focus attention on the paving that will suit you best.

Garden paving ideas with DesignBoard traditional edged on 2 sides with urban grey porcelain. Downstand steps up to seating area.
Crisp linearity made possible with Urban Grey Porcelain paving and downstand steps and DesignBoard Traditional in this design by Tom Howard.

Porcelain paving for modern, linear designs

Porcelain paving is first port of call for clean straight lines and bold contrasting colours. A manufactured paving, it offers choices that are very uniform in appearance with very precise dimensions, which is ideal for contemporary designs. In designs like these, it’s usually laid with single-sized slabs in regimented patterns. Porcelain offers plenty of advantages for the modern lifestyle.

Sawn natural stone alternative to porcelain paving

Sawn stone paving also fits cleanly into a modern rectilinear layout, making it a viable alternative to porcelain, but there is likely to be more variation in colour.

2 brick steps up to patio of Autumn Brown riven sandstone with bench and table. Design by Steve Hooper Landscapes
Calm and traditional, Autumn Brown riven Indian sandstone looks the part in this shady patio by Steve Hooper Landscapes.

Riven natural stone paving for a traditional feel

There’s a reason why riven limestone and Indian sandstone paving options are so popular. Robust, with a natural, traditional feel and in a variety of colours and slab sizes, they need little maintenance and blend with and enhance so many of the domestic homes in the UK.

It good value and colour variations make this a good paving for large areas. A perhaps surprising option is dark paving designs. Deep colours, in natural slate or limestone, are a way to add sophisticated drama to your garden, if you've rejected porcelain colour options.

Tumbled paving

An additional treatment to riven sandstone and limestone and clay pavers, tumbling creates the softer outline to paving slabs. This weathered appearance has a more relaxed feel and is an attractive choice for patios.

Play with the shape of paving slabs

The size of paving slab is an important element. This is partly down to the amount of jointing required, as pointing lines influence the feel of your design, but the flow of space can be greatly enhanced by larger slabs. Small gardens require carefully chosen paving, perhaps even more than larger areas.

Tumbled mint sandstone mixed size paving on patio with tree in planter and adjacent lawn.
Tumbled mint sandstone project packs are combined with matching setts for a random pattern than complements the house brickwork in this design by Piers Lidbury and Thistle Garden Services

Mixed-size slabs

Project packs contain a mixture of sizes which blend well together when laid. When you use paving slabs that are all the same size, joint lines are continuous in one or both directions, depending on whether you lay stack bond or running bond.

This mixture of sizes make a laying pattern with a random feel. This can give a more laid-back vibe to patios and is often chosen to blend with older buildings.

Mirage sawn sandstone planks jutting into planting and gravel, in fenced garden with L-shaped bench in corner
Bespoke Mirage sawn sandstone planks combine with gravel to create an interesting paving outline in this show garden by Amelia Bouquet, built by Urban Meadows.

Plank paving

Among the many design ideas for plank paving, one of the most popular is combining it with gravel. This introduces plenty of crisp lines,  while softening the effect with aggregate. Choose a gravel that contrasts with the paving to emphasise the linearity of the paving, or a matching colour to draw attention to textural changes.

Sidewalk large format porcealin paving by white raised bed, lawn and pergola-covered area
Sidewalk 1200x1200 paving creates a spacious-feeling patio in this design by Gadsden Gardens.

Large format paving

A modern approach, designing with extra-large paving slabs reduces joint lines, creating a sleeker, more seamless surface, especially if pointed with matching grout. These larger slabs are made possible by the porcelain material, which is lighter than natural stone. The contemporary feel is bolstered by porcelain's precision-cut edges, with no tolerance, allow very straight, slim pointing.

Other garden paving ideas

There's no need to limit your choice to natural stone or porcelain.

Path of Delta Blue Brown clay paving with steps runs parallel to modern building with white walls and brick entrance.
The modern shape and finish of Delta Blue Black clay pavers blends with the linear design of a modern building.

Brick Paving

A traditional material that’s been used for centuries, clay paving adds warmth, texture and pattern, Clay brick pavers fit harmoniously into a range of gardens and are often used to complement older architecture and surroundings. However, the wide range of colours, as well as sleek, modern options such as the Delta collection, mean that clay paving is suitable for modern properties too.

An alternative garden paving option, DesignBoard composite deckin is a low-maintenance option. Designer Dee Stewart chose Silver for this garden patio, built by Brockstone
DesignBoard composite decking is a low-maintenance, contemporary choice as an alternative garden paving. Designer Dee Stewart chose Silver for this garden patio, built by Brockstone Landscape Construction.


Not the orange-stained wood that gets dangerously slimy in winter. Decking has become so much more clever. Good composite decking gives you the warm feel of timber without the headache of maintenance. Choose between the real-timber look of Millboard or add sleek lines with DesignBoard decking, with its variety of modern colours.

Find more garden paving ideas in our landscaping design articles. Alternatively, gain inspiration by viewing our garden paving at a showroom near you.

Post updated: October 2023