Perfecting Your Paving Project: A Planning Guide

Hands holding a blueprint for a garden paving project with a well-maintained garden in the background, featuring annotations and measurements on the blueprint.
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Paving is an essential aspect of landscape gardening, with the ability to transform outdoor spaces and create functional, attractive areas. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the world of paving, from assessing your outdoor space and choosing the right material to design considerations and compliance with UK planning permission and building regulations.

Assessing Your Outdoor Space

Before embarking on a paving project, it’s crucial to assess your outdoor space to determine its potential and limitations.

  1. Analyse the current state of your garden, noting any existing features, vegetation, or structures that may influence the paving project.
  2. Identify the functional requirements of the paved area, such as providing a patio for outdoor dining or a walkway connecting different parts of the garden.
  3. Consider the purpose of the paved area and how it will fit into the overall landscape design.

To ensure your paving project is a success, take time to plan and understand your outdoor space. This will help you make informed decisions about the size, shape, and materials for your paving project.

Choosing the Right Paving Material

There are many types of paving materials available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. To choose the right material for your project, consider factors such as cost, durability, maintenance, and aesthetics.

Paving MaterialProsCons
ConcreteAffordable, versatile, low maintenanceProne to cracking, less natural appearance
Natural StoneDurable, unique appearance, versatileExpensive, can be slippery when wet, heavy
ClayDurable, low maintenance, rich coloursLimited design options, can be expensive
ResinPermeable, low maintenance, wide range of coloursCan be expensive, requires professional installation
Different types of paving materials displayed side-by-side

For a wide selection of paving materials, consider shopping on Amazon to find the perfect option for your project.

Paving Design Considerations

Paving Size and Shape

The size and shape of your paved area will depend on its purpose and the available space in your garden. For example, a large patio for outdoor dining may require a spacious, rectangular layout, while a winding garden path may call for smaller, irregularly shaped paving stones.

Image: A garden with various paving sizes and shapes

Consider the following when planning the size and shape of your paved area:

  • The purpose of the area (e.g., patio, walkway, driveway)
  • Available space and existing features
  • The desired aesthetic and how it fits into the overall landscape design

Paving Patterns

Paving patterns can significantly impact the appearance and visual interest of your paved area. Some popular patterns include:

  1. Herringbone: Interlocking rectangular blocks arranged at 45 or 90-degree angles, creating a zigzag effect.
  2. Basketweave: Pairs of rectangular blocks laid horizontally and vertically in alternating rows.
  3. Running bond: Rectangular blocks arranged end-to-end in staggered rows.
concrete block paving square

Consider the overall design of your garden and the paving materials you have chosen when selecting a paving pattern. For inspiration, check out our blog post on marvellous modern paving.

Drainage and Slope

Proper drainage and slope are essential to prevent water pooling and erosion on your paved area. A well-designed paved surface should have a slight slope to encourage water to flow away from buildings and other structures.

Sawn sandstone paving with artificial grass. Garden design by Acorn Landscape Gardening

Here are some tips for ensuring adequate drainage and slope:

  • Plan the paved area with a minimum slope of 1% (1 cm drop per 100 cm length) to allow water to run off.
  • Incorporate permeable paving materials, such as resin or permeable concrete, to allow water to soak through the surface and reduce runoff.
  • Direct water flow towards existing drains or create new drainage systems, such as French drains, to handle excess water.

For a step-by-step guide on laying paving with proper drainage, check out our post on how to lay paving.

Planning Permission and Building Regulations (UK)

In the UK, planning permission and building regulations may apply to certain paving projects, particularly those involving driveways and front gardens. It’s essential to understand and comply with these requirements to avoid fines or being required to modify or remove your paved area.

Planning PermissionRequired for paving front gardens with impermeable materialsMay not be needed if using permeable materials or directing runoff to a permeable area
Building RegulationsApply to new or altered drivewaysMust ensure proper drainage, access for disabled users, and visibility for drivers

Source: Planning Portal

When planning your paving project, consult your local planning authority to determine if planning permission is required and ensure your project complies with building regulations.


Q: Can I lay paving on top of existing concrete?

A: Yes, you can lay paving on top of existing concrete, provided the concrete base is stable and level. However, proper preparation is crucial, including cleaning the concrete surface and applying a bonding agent to ensure adhesion between the concrete and the paving materials.

Q: How do I maintain my paved area?

A: Maintenance will depend on the paving material used. Generally, regular sweeping, occasional pressure washing, and addressing any weeds or moss that appear will keep your paved area looking its best. Some materials, such as natural stone, may require sealing to protect against staining and weathering.

Q: How do I choose the right paving pattern for my project?

A: When selecting a paving pattern, consider the size and shape of your paved area, the paving materials you’ve chosen, and the overall design of your garden. For example, a herringbone pattern can make a small space appear larger, while a running bond pattern may work well with brick or rectangular pavers.


Paving projects can significantly enhance the beauty and functionality of your outdoor space. By carefully considering your garden’s layout, selecting the right materials, and following design best practices, you can create a paved area that complements your landscape and meets your needs. Remember to consult UK planning permission and building regulations to ensure your project is compliant. If you’re in the Preston area and need help with your paving project, consider using our local services for professional assistance.

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