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Garden Flooring: What are my choices for Outdoor Living areas?

It may seem self-explanatory, but garden flooring – that is, various materials used to cover the ground in your garden – can turn outdoor areas into extra living space. Garden flooring can be a variety of things, from stepping stones surrounded by soft grass to a fully surfaced deck. Creative flooring can turn your garden from just the outdoors to an additional room you can use for entertaining or enjoying nature. It may be a beautiful addition to your home's decor if done well. Patios, like rooms, benefit from careful planning and thought before construction begins.

 

In this article, we will look at the different types of garden flooring available and the main benefits and drawbacks of each, helping you to make an informed decision on the best match for your own garden flooring.

Table of Contents:

Why Would You Lay Garden Flooring?

Gardens have become increasingly used as additional living spaces. More homeowners are creating ‘outdoor living rooms and eating areas’ with external heating, summerhouses and insulated hubs as an extension to the household that can be used all year round.  The summer months are no longer the only season where UK households can enjoy their outdoor spaces with so many advancements in materials, products and design ideas that allow comfortable living in an exterior space.

 

Installing a durable surface makes it easier to access certain areas of your garden space.  It allows you to create feature areas and open up sections that can be utilised for relaxing, entertaining, kids play and more. In other words, surfacing a garden space that is uneven, dysfunctional and not being used to its full potential brings about more opportunities to use your outdoor space in the way you like.  You are able to plan and structure the layout of your garden with a clearer vision of how and where you can maximise space.

Garden Flooring Types

There are various garden flooring options on the market from ceramic tiling, stone pavers and slate tiles to softer materials such as wood, rubber, composite and PVC tiles.  Let’s explore each type more closely.

 

Rubber Patio Tiles

Rubber patio tiles are relatively new to the market. These are tough and long-lasting designed to withstand adverse weather conditions such as rain, frost, wind and sunlight. They have advantages over brick and concrete pavers because they offer greater comfort underfoot and provide protection from slips and falls with their slip-resistant surface.

 Super versatile, rubber patio tiles are also excellent for children’s play areas as they can support heavy play equipment.  They are critical fall height approved meaning kids are protected from injury if accidents do occur when playing on climbing frames and swings.

 This contemporary garden floor option is low maintenance and simple to install. Tiles have an inbuilt drainage system on the underside for water to easily pass through and they can be fitted over any surface type.

 The simple but minimal aesthetic enables you to create a functional garden space that looks fresh and uniform.  As these tiles come in neutral shades they blend well with all types of garden decor style and complement natural plant life and decorative features.

Wood or Composite Decking

Hardwood or composite decking is another popular option for garden flooring.  With a natural aesthetic and many colours and styles to choose from, wood decking is a staple for most garden spaces.  Composite is also widely used and replicates the look of wood but tends to be lower maintenance.

 One of the drawbacks about installing wood or composite surfaces is that they can be costly.  They also require specialist fitting and after-treatments to keep them weatherproof.  Furthermore, there is quite a lot of maintenance needed with wood decking as it can become slippy and mossy if not looked after and consistently managed.

Artificial Grass Turf

If you want the appearance of a lawn that has been groomed but without the typical maintenance, synthetic grass is a good option. It is very low maintenance and a lawn can be enjoyed throughout the year without constant upkeep.  It is perfect for gardens with small children as it is comfortable and soft to play on, and it can be vacuumed to keep it clean.  

There are various types of synthetic grass with varying costs, from very economical flat-fibre options to more expensive, authentic types that act and feel more like natural grass. Most advanced products are ultra durable and built to last, although these tend to come with a cost.

 

Stone, Ceramic or Slate Tiling

Stone is a versatile material that may be used to create robust and aesthetically pleasing garden flooring. From intricate patterns to basic slabs, there are many ways to create a patio or walkway with natural materials such as stone, ceramic or slate tiles and the natural appearance works well with all garden styles.

 Although attractive, depending on what design or type of tile material you choose, it can be costly to install.  The hard surface is also not as forgiving if you slip or fall as softer alternatives and the surface can become slippery in wet or colder seasons.

Another thing to consider with hard surfaces such as tiling is damage.  If a tile cracks or breaks it can be expensive to repair.  Some products may not withstand certain weather conditions over time and can discolour or crack after use

PVC Modular Tiles

PVC tiles, often used as a surface solution for outdoor play, sports and garage spaces have become increasingly popular as garden flooring.  They consist of mesh or flat surface tiles with underside drainage meaning they are suitable for outdoor use and spaces with lots of moisture.  

 One of the main benefits of these tiles is that they can withstand heavy loads and machinery and are widely used in car showrooms, garages and places with weighty equipment.

 Available in various styles, patterns, textures and colours, these interlocking tiles are simple to install DIY and can be fitted within a few hours without specialist help.

Key Things to Consider when Investing Garden Flooring

There are a number of important factors to consider when deciding on what type of garden flooring to opt for.

 

  1. Budget & Cost Effectiveness - consider the cost of the product as well as the labour for installation, any specialist accessories or tools needed as well as overall maintenance costs
  1. Size & Shape of Garden - consider the functionality of your existing space and the shape as some garden flooring may not necessarily work in irregular shaped spaces
  2. Durability & Maintenance - to get the most out of your investment, think about the lastability of your chosen material and how easy it will be to keep it performing at its best. Consider low maintenance options to keep costs down
  3. Main Uses - your garden flooring should be suitable for purpose eg would it work well for a Dining and Entertaining space
  4. End User - think about the people who will mostly be using your garden space eg Children, Wheelchair Users, Elderly, Pets and choose flooring that is suitable
  5. Aesthetic - Always get samples of the garden flooring you are considering that way you can test and feel the product and get a better idea of how it will look when installed

 

In Conclusion

There are a number of great garden flooring options on the market that do a great job of opening up the landscape and functionality of your outdoor space.  If you are mindful of the above factors when making a decision on your garden floor type you can be confident that you will find a good match for your specific needs. 

 

 

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