Making Your Hard Landscaping More Sustainable

Hard landscaping using slabs and blocks has a bit a bad rep for sustainability. Bradstone product manager, Lee Dunderdale explains how the right choices can give beautiful results with less ecological impact

What different types of paving material are available and how do I choose the right one for the job?

Porcelain Paving
When it comes to creating a stunning patio look that requires less maintenance, little comes in the way of competing with porcelain paving.
Porcelain offers an impressive aesthetic appeal along with a range of hard-wearing characteristics. It is exceptionally dense meaning it is scratch-resistant and lower maintenance than other paving materials. What’s more, smoother surfaced, 10mm thick versions are also available in selected ranges to allow homeowners to use the paving indoors, creating a harmonious flow from the house to the garden.

Importantly, while porcelain paving can be slightly more expensive than other options, its associated lower maintenance and exceptional durability make for a very cost-effective, long-term solution.

Concrete Paving
Being constructed from one of the most durable materials in the world, concrete paving slabs offer superior strength and longevity, making for a very attractive proposition for those seeking a cost-effective and hard-wearing paving solution.

Plus, today’s options offer a myriad of design possibilities. From different colours, textures and styles, through to designs that have been carefully constructed to offer an incredibly realistic imitation of high-end natural paving, the concrete category offers unparalleled design flexibility – plus, it comes in a range of prices to suit all budgets.

In terms of upkeep, while concrete requires very little day-to-day, regular maintenance and suitable good quality sealer will help protect against stains and algae.

Natural Stone Paving
For those seeking a paving solution which offers true individuality and character, nothing quite beats natural stone.

Natural stone paving, such as sandstone and limestone, offers an unparalleled distinctive beauty and rustic charm. With no two pieces ever the same, this paving lends itself to design possibilities whereby homeowners can choose between many variations of colour and texture to create a truly unique look.

Practicality is accounted for too: natural stone is strong and hard-wearing and can last for decades if properly cared for. However, it is important to note that many natural stone products have a high porosity making it easy for moisture to seep in – meaning regular maintenance, particularly in areas of high traffic, is vital to ensure stones do not become weathered and worn.

Block Paving
There are numerous benefits to choosing block paving for your outdoor area. Not only is it incredibly versatile, but it is also available in countless designs and colours, meaning homeowners are afforded a world of design freedom. There is also the option to choose a permeable block paver as well to assist with overall drainage. However, perhaps the biggest pro is that block paving is incredibly cost-effective, requires little in the way of upkeep, and in the event an individual block becomes damaged, homeowners can simply replace them as needed.

Can you help me visualise what my garden would look like with different types of slab?

To check out how the different products in our range would look in your garden, try out our new Pave My Space visualiser. The online tool allows you to design your new garden from the comfort of your sofa, by uploading an image of your outdoor space and dropping in paving products to see what they’d look like in situ.

What are the SUDS requirements?

Typically, houses do not need planning permission if using either a permeable solution, such as gravel, permeable block paving and porous asphalt, or if the design leads to a border or lawn where surface water can run off and soak away naturally. However, if the area you’re landscaping exceeds 5m2 and you’re not installing a permeable surface, you will likely need planning permission. If in any doubt, check with your local council before beginning your project.

What are some of the ecological problems with conventional paving?

One important ecological concern is flooding. When installing garden paving, a landscaper will lay pavers on an impermeable mortar bed using cement. This means rainwater can’t drain away naturally and a solution will need to be built in to prevent the possibility of flooding. This could be a permeable patio surface, directing surface water onto a lawn or planted bed or building a drainage channel into the design.

Another ecological consideration is the type of stone you choose for your patio. Commonly sourced natural stone and porcelain paving is transported several thousand miles by sea and road to reach your back garden, which impacts the overall carbon footprint of a project.

How does Bradstone ECO paving make a carbon reduction?

Using Bradstone ECO products, a typical patio measuring 30m2 will generate a CO2 saving equivalent to three mature trees over one year. This has been achieved through improvements in manufacturing and design mix to help reduce the carbon footprint of each of the Bradstone ECO products. In addition, our innovative Old Town ECO Evolve product is more than 35% lower in carbon compared to the previous Old Town product. The paver is lighter and easier to handle as well and the reduced weight means larger quantities can be transported at the same time, helping to further reduce CO2 emissions.

Is Bradstone ECO easier to lay than previous products?

Old Town Eco Evolve is lighter and therefore means it is easier to handle. Also, unlike most concrete patio packs, Old Town Eco Evolve includes a larger 900 x 600mm size and relatively few smaller pavers, which can make it faster to lay.

Can Bradstone help me to find an Assured installer?

Yes, absolutely. Bradstone Assured is our national network of professional installers carefully selected and approved by us for the superb levels of quality and craftsmanship they provide. Each has met strict selection criteria to ensure only the best and most capable landscaping professionals are recruited. With the Bradstone Assured seal of approval, customers have peace of mind that their garden project will be completed on time, on budget and to a high professional standard. You can find your nearest Assured installer by using the ‘Find an Installer’ search tool on the Bradstone website.

Where can I find out more about Bradstone and Bradstone ECO products?

Visit the product pages on our website to find out more. You can now also view our full 2022 brochure online now at

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