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I am advising my friend who has a victorian town house with concrete back patio leading to the rest of the garden.  We both know that a proper patio would be best, but she's not sure she wants to spend the money right now as she may move in a few years' time.

The patio is in the shade between the side of a garage and a brick boundary wall.  I have found an article on putting pavers on top a bit like stepping stones, with slate chippings or gravel in between, which I thought was perfect.  But the space is pretty big really - it's quite irregular, so gravel would be useful, but unless we get a lot of pavers in there will be a lot of gravel - not so convenient for the plant pots she has. 

Any ideas on this?  Do you think pavers and gravel could work?

I know this is gardening on a shoestring - however any ideas appreciated.

Jane

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    So many questions,

    a proper patio would be best for what? what is the intended use of the 'patio'?

    if on a tight budget why bother with gravel et al, try a different approach, cover patio with large pots, like half barrels, fill with plants, use patio as base for raised beds, grow anything you like, distract the eye from the 'patio'

  • I've seen a technique in France, which I know is done in the USA also where a colourant is mixed with a very thick but fine cement mixture, very strong mixture and skimmed over the top. Very cheap and effective visually - but I am unsure of what this method is called, how long it lasts - and whether it even exists in UK.  

  • Hello Geoffrey - thanks for replying.  My friend already has quite a few pots but she works away from home and neglects them.  I'm looking into drip irrigation, and I've kept some pots and added a seat and a wall fountain, and also raised up the herb bed so it will distract.  Maybe all this will do the trick! 

    Re uses of patio- it is really a large corridor to the garden and also to sheds and the garage.  It is mostly shaded so isn't a good place for lingering (though I think a seat will encourage her to sit outside more when she doesn't want to go to the rest of the garden where there is a dining table and chairs in a lighter spot ( I've seen a lovely example of shade seating like this in an NGS garden).

    It would make a difference viewing it from the house, and also I think link the house and garden better, if improved.

    Jane

    Geoffrey King North Yorkshire said:

    So many questions,

    a proper patio would be best for what? what is the intended use of the 'patio'?

    if on a tight budget why bother with gravel et al, try a different approach, cover patio with large pots, like half barrels, fill with plants, use patio as base for raised beds, grow anything you like, distract the eye from the 'patio'

  • Thanks Pip.  That's a great idea - a bit like playground surfaces.  It would be nice to have a pattern on it maybe too.  I will have a search on the internet for it.

    Jane

    Pip Howard said:

    I've seen a technique in France, which I know is done in the USA also where a colourant is mixed with a very thick but fine cement mixture, very strong mixture and skimmed over the top. Very cheap and effective visually - but I am unsure of what this method is called, how long it lasts - and whether it even exists in UK.  

  • I think that gravel would move about too much over concrete, - but have you considered some decking boards or even tiles to go over the top?

    At our french holiday house, we wanted something for one season when we moved in, and put on decking tiles laid on coarse sand - 8 years later they are still lasting really well,  - they were less than 2 euros each

  • Hello Claire,

    I've not heard of decking tiles.  Decking could be a good idea but I don't think it would suit this area - too shady and a bit of a thoroughfare.  I know what you mean about gravel.  The article had slate chippings - not sure if that's any different.  I think I would have to put in quite a few slabs so the gravel didn't drift about.

    I will look for decking tiles now - thanks.

    Jane



    Claire Brown said:

    I think that gravel would move about too much over concrete, - but have you considered some decking boards or even tiles to go over the top?

    At our french holiday house, we wanted something for one season when we moved in, and put on decking tiles laid on coarse sand - 8 years later they are still lasting really well,  - they were less than 2 euros each

  • One important point to consider is not breaching the Dpc of the house. In fact, in many instances concrete patios like existing one have already been laid too high in relation to the house walls, causing damp problems inside. So before the level is raised even further, have a look.

    I would break out the concrete.
  • Thanks, that's very useful Sean.

    Jane

    Sean Busby said:

    One important point to consider is not breaching the Dpc of the house. In fact, in many instances concrete patios like existing one have already been laid too high in relation to the house walls, causing damp problems inside. So before the level is raised even further, have a look.

    I would break out the concrete.
  • What about putting a few nice raised beds/troughs around the edges and creating a green jungle feel that would almost totally compensate for the ugly concrete base?

     

  • Thanks Dan and everyone - great ideas.  I'm suggesting raising the herb garden bed which will enclose the area.  Raised beds would mean less watering than pots so will suggest that too.

    Jane

    Dan Frazer Gardening said:

    What about putting a few nice raised beds/troughs around the edges and creating a green jungle feel that would almost totally compensate for the ugly concrete base?

     

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