The visual impact of extra-large patio slabs is undeniable. We look at garden designs which make the most of XL paving.

Yard Porcelain 1200x1200 paving slabs laid under pergola and as pool surround in large garden.
Yard Porcelain king size paving slabs provide a smooth contrast to the other textures in this project by Isola Garden Design.

Keeping joints to a minimum

“We were looking for a large-format porcelain tile to keep the amount of joint detailing to a minimum, whilst giving us a fresh and modern feel.” James Brash, of Isola Garden Design, encapsulates one of the main reasons why designers opt for extra-large paving—fewer joint lines. The effect is a smooth, expansive feel that promotes the flow of space from seating area to swimming pool.

The larger dimensions also complement modern, minimalist lines, such as the pergola and rectangular settees in the picture, and emphasise the crisp lines and length of planted beds.

Staggered extra-large patio slabs as floating steps with downstand edge profile in front of modern front door.
Yard 1200x1200 Porcelain creates an ultra-modern approach to the entrance, with the sleek finish to floating steps in this design by Greencube, built by Landscape Design Partnership.

Allowing colours to sing

 Minimal jointing has another effect—of giving other textures, patterns and colours room to breathe. Where large, dark-coloured slabs might overwhelm, our selection of extra-large patio slabs offers soft tones. Subtle markings add interest, but they give space to other elements.

“The light grey warm tones and soft texture of the pavers create a simple and effective solution to frame the planting borders,” said James.

This was also appreciated by Alan Williams, of Landform Consultants, who designed The Parsley Box garden for Chelsea Flower Show 2021.

“The large slabs with their soft grey and a hint of grain instantly made my small garden feel bigger. The soft grey finish acts as an amazing base colour to enable any planting to shine and sing in the garden."

The Parsley Box show garden with Sidewalk Porcelain extra-large patio paving, raised beds and dining set.
Landform Consultants' Alan Williams used Sidewalk Porcelain in The Parsley Box, RHS Chelsea 2021, making a feature of the XL sizing.

Note that the size also increased the sense of space in a small area. It’s something of a debating point, whether large outdoor tiles always make a space feel bigger. Some people suggest that large slabs draw attention to the limits of an area. It’s all in the skill of the design.

Here Alan makes a strong feature of the 1200x1200 format with contrasting grout and striking, metal-edged joints, so the eye is led across the space by the straight lines.

Altogether, it made a hit with visitors, gaining the garden the much-coveted People’s Choice Award, in addition to the judges’ Silver.

Wooden table and 6 chairs on patio of Sidewalk XL porcelain slabs, next to water feature and lawn.
Extra-large paving often pairs well with water, where the smooth surfaces complement each other, as in this design by Gadsden Gardens.

Playing with texture

The larger the paving slab, the less interrupted the surface of the paving, thanks to the minimal pointing needed. And the paving has been chosen to accompany water in two of the projects featured here. That's no coincidence.

The large expanse of uninterrupted paving complements the smooth, flat surface of both the pond and the swimming pool.

Yard-xl-paving slabs step up to courtyard of clay pavers in design by Gadsden Gardens.
Steps in Yard Porcelain paving show the textural contrast achievable between extra-large outdoor tiles and clay pavers in this design by Gadsden Gardens.

In complete contrast, extra-large patio slabs contrast strongly with busier textures. Like Alan, James Brash alludes to the way the outdoor tiles contrast with plants. “The light grey warm tones and soft texture of the pavers create a simple and effective solution to frame the planting borders.”

And extra-large slabs are an ideal choice when you want a strong contrast with other paving materials. You can’t get a more extreme difference than between the Yard Porcelain and clay pavers in the design pictured above, by Gadsden Gardens. The effect is a strong transition into the courtyard, giving it a definite character of its own.

Things to think about

Extra-large paving slabs aren’t for every situation. On a practical level, the larger the outdoor tile, the faster an area is covered. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that large slabs are heavier and more awkward to manoeuvre than smaller sizes, so you’ll probably need to work with someone.

Like all porcelain outdoor tiles, the XL format can be laid on a pedestal system, but we recommend that a central support pedestal is added along the edge of each tile, to prevent cracking under weight.

For looks, do these outdoor tiles seem just a little too big? Then you might like to design with 800x800 porcelain paving, for similar benefits on a slightly smaller scale.

Porcelain paving guarantee

Whatever you choose, all our porcelain paving is covered by our 10-year guarantee, so you can rest assured it will retain its good looks for a long time to come.

Our large and extra-large paving awaits!

Updated: November 2022