When paving a garden or outdoor area, understanding which material is best suited to the job is an important factor. Not only do you want your choice to look good for years to come, but to function well for your needs.
Two of the best paving options available are concrete and flagstones. Both of which are best suited to certain projects. Here we’ll go through the pros and cons of each so that you can make an informed choice when planning your paving project.
When planning to do building work, the chances are that the first material you think of using is concrete. It’s exceptional durability, coupled with relatively easy maintenance make it an absolute joy to work with. Concrete is also one of the most versatile materials for outdoor spaces because of the range of colours, textures, and variety of shapes that it comes in.
Benefits of Concrete for Paving
- Versatility – concrete is perfect for a variety of applications when used outdoors. It’s versatility allows it to be laid as pre-formed slabs (BSS slabs), or poured and molded into graceful curves. This ability to be poured and cast into any shape, makes concrete particularly useful when trying to accommodate any unusual or restricted space.
- Decorative Possibilities – with a natural look and feel, concrete blends well with other design elements within your hard landscaping theme. You can also use different dyes, casting and lying techniques to add texture and visual interest to a design.
- Easy Maintenance – concrete is a sturdy material, that is easy to maintain. All it needs is a solid cleaning schedule to clear dirt and debris and it will look like new for years to come.
- Durability – one of the most durable paving options on the market, concrete is able to resist weathering action (rain, frost, ice, snow, heat), chemical attack, and abrasion while still maintaining its desired engineering properties.
- Value for Money – When comparing concrete to other paving options, you find that it is one of the most cost effective materials available. This is because it is much easier to install and can be used just about anywhere in an outdoor space.
Limitations of Concrete Paving
One small limitation for concrete as a paving option is that it’s a job left to the professionals. Not only is this safer than trying to tackle it as a DIY project, but it also means that the finish will look better and last longer.
There is also the issue that concrete tends to crack as it is laid. This is due to expansion and contraction of the mixture as it hardens. This problem can be easily fixed, by installing control joints when the concrete is being laid. This does not stop cracks completely, but stops them happening in random locations on the concrete surface, giving the impression that the concrete is completely crack free.
For an easy, low maintenance paving option to give your outdoor space some character; flagstone is the perfect choice. Formed from natural stone such as sandstone and yorkstone, it comes in a wide variety of colours, sizes and textures to complement surrounding landscapes and buildings.
Benefits of Flagstone
- Texture – thanks to the stone’s texture, it is perfect for walkways and patio’s. The slight roughness on the surface of flag stone’s make it easier for shoes to grip, creating a natural non-slip surface.
- Choices – flagstones work well in collaboration with other stones, or just by itself. This is great for adding character to a paving scheme and can significantly change the overall look of an outdoor space.
- Visual Appeal – available in a wide variety of colours, there is always a flagstone that will match the character of project be it civil, residential, traditional or modern. This accompanied with the uniqueness of each individual stone (no two stones look exactly alike) will bring something new to any outdoor space.
- Flexibility – thanks to flagstone’s unique colours and shapes (due to it being a natural stone) you can use it pretty much anywhere. You can choose the thickness of the stone to suit high traffic areas, or simply use them as a beautiful visual feature.
- Durability – not only do flagstones look great, but it is also exceptionally durable in high traffic areas. This means you will not have to worry about it cracking under pressure, and pay less in the long run for maintenance.
Limitations of Flagstone
Flagstone is a popular paving option, but for a premium product you will always pay premium price. Flagstone is a natural stone, meaning it is mined and transported to the UK which is a costly process. The further the stone has to travel, the more you are likely to pay.
Another small limitation you are likely to find is that because this is a natural product, it’s difficult to guarantee an exact match between samples and end products. Natural colour and pattern variations will occur and this should be borne in mind when researching your paving options.
Concrete and Flagstone are two of the best options on the market, and both will be welcome additions to your garden or driveway.
If you wish to choose concrete, you will receive exceptional durability and value for money, but will need to be wary of cracks. If you choose flagstone you are opening the door to a wide range of design possibilities, but will have to pay premium prices. For more information about either paving options, or any of our other products, please feel free to contact George Lines on 01753 685354 or send us an enquiry.