GARDEN GURU: with the spell of lovely weather we’ve been having I’m sure your thoughts have turned to summer days on the patio. However, not all of us have our dream patio or terrace sorted so if you think you’d like one for summer you should be thinking about it now.
There are five things you will need to decide upon: size, materials, design, budget and lastly landscaper. Of course one thing affects another so your budget might mean a smaller size, but a cheaper material would give you more for your money. Explore the basic elements and then make a plan. As a quick guideline to creating a solid new terrace in reasonably priced Indian Sandstone, as shown here, think of a budget of about £150 per square metre, all inclusive.
It sounds a lot but there’s more to it than laying a carpet. The site has to be dug out and soil removed to the appropriate depth, then a base of hard core is laid and this is compacted to take a layer of bedding mortar on which the slabs are laid and finally pointed and brushed down.
The material you choose will also affect the cost and final look. I find a York Stone works well in most London gardens but it is expensive compared to products like Indian Sandstone. This comes in a variety of natural shades and is reliable as some natural materials, such as slate, can have salts and minerals which cause staining when laid and weathered.
The size of the slabs will also affect the cost: moderately large even pieces are generally easier to handle and quicker to lay, so will work out cheaper. A herringbone pattern in brick is really pretty but much more time consuming, so more expensive. Remember your terrace must have a slope away from the house and provision for drains and manholes. Like in all things you get what you pay for but that does not mean that you can’t be clever and mix materials to get possible result for your budget. Next week I’ll be discussing decking.