As designers and landscapers become increasingly confident specifying and installing Porcelain we’re going to look at the versatility of Porcelain and how and why it’s become such a staple part of the landscaping diet. In the past, Porcelain has been considered as a contemporary paving material, perfect for the modern pocket garden, but as designers and landscapers become more comfortable with the material we’re starting to see it used more and more in a diverse range of garden styles.
Whatever the style of garden, Porcelain has something to offer. As the Porcelain manufacturing process continually improves so does the range of finishes and colours available. Traditionally, Porcelain was available for external use in just a handful of contemporary base colours, perfect for that contemporary pocket garden. As the demand from the landscaping industry grows though we’re seeing Porcelain manufacturers responding with the continuous introduction of new products. There is so much choice. Wood effect textures, supplied in linear formats, are proving to be extremely popular. We’re now seeing surface finishes that are so realistic that they offer a credible alternative to natural stone not to mention the ever increasing range of textures that imitate the flamed, sandblasted and raked natural stone finishes. Not to mention the colour range, from the darkest black to the brightest beige and with every other colour in between, there is so much choice.
Design and style though, it’s all subjective, let’s look at data. There are some undeniable technical facts as to why Porcelain is proving to be so popular in the UK. Technical characteristics are not the most interesting of subjects, but there are so many technical reasons as to why Porcelain is doing so well in the UK. Virtual zero porosity promises that Porcelain is never going to be a haven for Algae and so will retain its original colour for longer. Porcelain is fully rectified so, unlike natural stone, there is no dimensional tolerance. This speeds up installation and allows the installer to use tile spacers, very handy for creating those lovely clean lines. Finally there is that little matter of consistency. Porcelain offers consistent texture and colour. For certain clients who don’t like the natural variation found in stone, Porcelain offers the perfect solution. While we are on the subject of technical characteristics, lets quickly dispel a myth. We continually hear suppliers pushing Porcelain as a zero maintenance product. Porcelain at best can be described as low maintenance but it will still require periodic cleaning to keep it looking tip top. Luckily, because of the virtual zero porosity, Porcelain is relatively easy to clean and in most cases a jet wash will be perfectly adequate.
Then there is the bespoke side of hard landscaping. Bespoke materials have become a staple part of the landscape industries diet. Applying bespoke processes to Porcelain is difficult but as our experience of Porcelain grows, so does our confidence to push the boundaries and apply increasingly complex masonry techniques. After lots of in-house development work we’ve recently launched a range of 40mm Bullnose steps in Porcelain, very much a first for the UK Landscaping industry and a true indication that when it comes to bespoke Porcelain, with the right skills and machinery, anything is possible.
There really is no downside to Porcelain. The range of colours and finishes, the superior technical characteristics and the option to go bespoke is giving designers and landscapers the confidence to use Porcelain in a diverse range of garden styles, from ultra-urban right the way through to the traditional country garden. To celebrate the diversity of Porcelain we’ve put together a collection of some of our favourite Porcelain projects of the last couple of years.