Many homeowners believe that garden designers and landscapers focus on the planting design and are unaware of their in-depth knowledge of and training in hard landscaping design. Once a full brief has been drawn up, setting out all the requirements for the garden, a site survey will be carried out in preparation for a scale drawing. In many cases the next step will deciding on the balance between the hard and soft landscaping. Naturally there are practical requirements when it comes to deciding on the size of the paved areas – most gardens now have larger areas of paving to accommodate dining tables and chairs, areas for relaxation and for children to play when the grass is wet.
The brief gives the designer a good idea of the relative importance of these practical areas in the whole scheme. The smaller the garden the larger the proportion of hard to soft landscaping and in the tiniest of gardens a lawn may be dispensed with completely. In rural situations, the well-known ‘rule of thirds’ is abandoned completely.
Having mapped out the scale of seating areas, the designer may then move on to access routes – paths and entrances – these are a combination of practicalities and aesthetics. For example, a wide path will dominate the narrow garden whereas will look in proportion in a wide garden. The exact order in which these decisions are made will depend on the process the designer uses and will usually be a series of revisions until the overall design meets the brief. Account will also be taken to changes in levels across the site and their treatment for the elderly and young children.
For designers and landscapers looking for samples, we are on hand with suggestions for the perfect paving to suit the design. In small areas a proportionate unit of paving, such as setts, may be a good choice. On the other hand, a large terrace across the full width of a large property will suit a larger size of paving. The architecture of the house may also influence the choice of hard landscaping materials. For landscapers looking for a modern look, our sawn sandstone, limestone and granite are popular choices providing a clean, sharp appearance with a smooth surface. In a traditional design, riven paving with its natural surface of random undulations will give a traditional look.
But rules are there to be broken and we frequently see fine examples where hard landscaping is juxtaposed with the style of the building. With a background in hard landscaping design and build, we are able to help our garden design and contractor clients select paving which gives that picture perfect finish.