Patios have become a must-have feature for homes across the country as they help create a low-maintenance space that’s not dependent on the weather or season, and easily extends the living space of your home. It’s a great place to relax with a good book, dine out, set up the barbecue, and chat with friends. Better still, a quality patio will improve the value of your home.

However, even the most perfectly-laid patio needs a little TLC to keep it looking its best. With a little care, your patio will not only look as good as the day it was laid, but it will also last longer, too. As experts who install patios and driveways day-in, day-out, we know exactly what it takes to keep a patio in top condition for decades. Read on for some of our best tips to help you extend the lifespan of your patio.


How can I increase the lifespan of my patio?


Most patios need more than a monthly bucket of water and some dish soap to keep them looking their best, so here are a few simple cleaning tips to help you increase your patio’s lifespan:


1. Thoroughly sweep your patio every other week or so. This will remove all the dirt and debris while preventing moss and algae from building up.Sweeping the patio


2. Jet wash your patio on a low setting, ideally using patio cleaner attachment (if your patio has been sealed, check with sealant care information before you use a jet wash) to remove ingrained dirt. If you’ve ever seen jet washing videos online, you’ll know just how satisfying this can be! If you don’t own a jet wash and don’t want to invest in one, a local handyman (or woman) will be able to do this for you regularly.Jetwash cleaning


3. Use a vinegar wash to get rid of stubborn patches. Mix water and white vinegar in a 1:1 ratio, with more vinegar for stubborn stains. Pour the mixture and let it work for 30 to 60 minutes before scrubbing at stubborn patches and rinsing to clear away debris.Vinegar Wash


4. Keep an eye out for weeds growing in the cracks of your paving and pull them out. If you use a weedkiller, ensure that it has been specifically developed for this use to avoid your patio from becoming stained or discoloured. If you find plants growing up through cracks and joins, make sure you repair them so they cannot continue to do so. You’d be surprised how tough weeds can be, and they can cause more damage over time.Weeds growing


5. Treat your patio with a specialist cleaner, depending on how quickly your patio gets dirty.Specialist Patio cleaner


6. Move your furniture from time to time. If you have furniture, pots, or anything else on your patio, move it around regularly or put it away in your shed or garage when it’s not in use, if possible. This will ensure you don’t get algae build-up and other moisture issues under your furniture and decor.Move your furniture from time to time


7. Seal (or reseal) your paving. Before you do this, check with your paving supplier and ensure you have the correct sealant as there are different sealants suitable for different types of paving. You won’t need to do this often; an application of paver sealer should last you between three and five years.Pave Sealing


8. You may also need to repoint the patio slabs if they come loose. This involves removing residue of the jointing compound around the loose paver with a hammer and chisel, then refilling the gaps with fresh joining compound, grout or mortar. It’s best to outsource this job as it takes knowledge of paving to do well.Repoint the patio slabs


9. Avoid using harsh de-icers and chemicals, as these can harm the sealant or even discolour your paving. If you need to de-ice your patio, salt is the safest way to do so. If you have snow, avoid using a metal shovel to move it off your patio as you may accidentally scratch your paving stones.Snowing patio

Cleaning, washing, and sweeping your patio is an excellent way to prevent moss and weed growth and should be done three to four times a year at a minimum. While these are all great ways to extend the lifespan of your patio, it’s worth noting that some of the best ways to ensure your patio lasts is to have it installed properly. If your patio is past the point of repair, it may be time to think about having it replaced.

A new patio will ensure you can safely use your patio, increase your satisfaction with your home and garden, and increase the value of your home, so it’s well worth the investment (click here to find out more about how much your new patio may cost). We specialise in hardscaping and so we know the value of good preparation. The best thing you can do to extend the lifespan of your patio is to ensure the right drainage is installed and quality, hard-wearing paving is used. A quality sealant can seal the deal and ensure you don’t find yourself weeding your patio after just a few months of it being installed.


Patio Experts in Essex

Whether you’ve just moved to Essex and are ready to give your new garden a makeover or simply want to give your patio a new lease of life, SE Landscapes is here to help. We install garden paving that will transform the appearance of your entire home. Every patio we install is uniquely designed to match each client’s requirements and suit their garden’s surroundings.

Choose from slate, natural stone, block paving, brick paving, porcelain, Indian sandstone, York stone, concrete slabs/flags, cobbles, and many more. We also offer a wide range of colour options, so all you need to do is tell our team your requirements, and we will make your dream garden a reality. Click here to find out more about our patio and paving services.



How Much Does it Cost to Have a Patio Installed in Essex?


‘How much does it cost to have a patio installed?’ is a question we get asked a lot.

Unfortunately, however, it is not a straightforward question to answer. We do not have a set price per square metre.

The reason for this is that there are far too many variables that can impact price.

Paving choice, existing levels, the size of the area, whether or not retaining walls are needed, and site access, just to name a few, all make a difference to the cost.

But of course, having a ballpark figure in mind is helpful for when it comes to budgeting for your new patio so that you know roughly how much you’ll need.

We will get to some ballpark figures later in this article, but first it’s important to understand some of the factors that can affect cost.

Let’s take a look at some of these variables.



Existing levels

symphony porcelain patio essex

The levels of your existing patio (if you have one), lawn and garden as a whole make a big difference to cost.

Installing a patio typically involves excavating and installing a sub-base, most often using MOT Type 1, levelled and compacted to a minimum depth of 100mm. Then you’ll typically have a 40mm mortar bed which the slabs are laid onto.

The typical excavation depth, assuming your chosen slab is 20mm thick, would be 160mm. This allows for 100mm Type 1, 40mm mortar, and a 20mm slab. Of course, some types of paving are thicker, so would require further excavation.

However, excavation is always measured below finished height.. More often than not, but certainly not always, the finished height is 150mm below the damp proof course on your property.

So, while in theory we need to excavate 160mm, you may in fact need to excavate and dispose of more than 160mm. For instance, your existing levels could only be 75mm (1 brick course) below DPC. To get down to a finished height of 150mm below DPC, you’d need to excavate 235mm.

Of course, this can work the other way, too. You may find that your existing level is much further than 150mm below DPC. Say you want to install a raised patio with a finished height of 150mm below DPC, this would reduce the amount of the excavation.

In a nutshell, the more that needs to be excavated, the more expensive your patio will be.



How deep will your sub-base need to be?

Compacted MOT Type 1 sub-base

After excavating your existing patio, the next step in the installation process is to install your sub-base.

As we explained in the last section, the more that needs to be excavated from your existing patio, the more the job is likely to cost. So, surely, the lower the existing levels are against your building, the cheaper the patio installation cost will be? Well, unfortunately, that’s not quite the case.

Let’s look at an example.

Let’s say you’ve just had a new extension built that extends your Essex property further into the garden.

The new damp proof course is around 400mm higher than the lawn level and you decide that you want the finished height of your patio to be 150mm below the DPC to allow easier access to the house. Now, assuming the new patio slabs are 20mm deep, we need to be 160mm below finished height. Therefore, there is a shortfall of 90mm.

In this example, there will not be any excavation required (although there may be some ground prep involved and you would need to remove any existing grass); instead we have an additional 90mm to build up. This would mean additional sub-base material, in the form of Type 1, imported into the garden as backfill, providing a total sub-base of 190mm.

The additional Type 1 required often negates any saving on the excavation costs, and so the depth of sub-base has a significant impact on cost, too.



Will you need any retaining walls?

symphony steps

Retaining walls can be used to create raised patio areas

If, as in the above example, you’re looking to create a raised patio, you’ll need to install a retaining wall. Conversely, if you’re looking to build a sunken patio, again, you’ll need a wall to retain the ground around the patio paving.

Retaining walls are built using various materials, depending upon site conditions, aesthetic requirements and the strength required to retain the ground.

Sleepers are one of the most cost-effective forms of retaining wall and tend to work well for small walls. Another popular option is to use brick and/or concrete blocks. These types of wall can be finished with exposed brick or, as is very popular right now, clad with some form of stone.

Sometimes, additional reinforcement may be required, too.

The requirements for retaining walls, and the nature of the wall, can have a significant impact on price.



Can the site be accessed by a mini excavator?


Next on the list is site access. In an ideal world, a mini excavator would be used for any digging required.

Not only does it make life easier, but the huge difference in time needed for a machine dig compared to a hand dig can result in very significant labour savings.

You may be wondering how on earth you would be able to get a mini digger into your garden. Well, it is possible if you have an opening no less than 750mm and no tight turns to manoeuvre the machine around in order to access your garden.

A typical garden gate is normally 900mm wide, so if you have a standard size gate with an alleyway no less than 750mm, getting a machine into your garden shouldn’t be a problem.

If that’s not possible, you still have the option of removing fence panels (most panels can easily be removed) and accessing your garden via your neighbour’s side or, if your fence backs onto a road or pathway, via that route.

However you attempt to get a digger into your garden, you will need a reasonably straight run with no tight turns as, while micro diggers are very narrow, they are comparatively long, and therefore difficult to turn in tight spaces.



Can the site be accessed by wheelbarrow?


If you can fit a micro digger into your garden, then you can definitely get a wheelbarrow through.

However, for those struggling with tight access, being able to access your garden with a wheelbarrow is pretty much essential.

Luckily, it is very rare for this to be unachievable. Worst case scenario is to set up a wheelbarrow run through your property. As long as you take sufficient precautions to protect the flooring, and any doorways and corners that may get damaged if clipped by a wheelbarrow, although far from ideal, this is still possible.

If a wheelbarrow run is not a practical consideration, then your last option is to carry materials through the property in buckets. This will mean a high labour cost due to the time needed, so unless you have a very small patio, it may make a patio installation unfeasible. If that’s the case, you may be best off considering decking or artificial grass.



Do you have any manhole covers?

Sandstone patio - rayleigh

Most gardens do, especially new build properties, which often have several. These, of course, are nothing to be concerned about.

What we do here is install what is called a recessed manhole cover. This is simply a tray with handles that we can lay paving inside to seamlessly blend it in with the rest of the patio, whilst still allowing access.

While we are certainly not talking large sums of money, depending upon the size, a recessed manhole tray is likely to cost around £50. Then there is the additional labour to install the tray, and the additional cutting necessary.

Again, this doesn’t make a huge difference, but it’s a cost to consider nonetheless.



What type of paving do you want to use?

grey porcelain patio in chelmsford


The type of paving that you choose has a bearing on the final cost.

You can purchase basic concrete utility paving for around £10 per square metre. Or you could source reclaimed Yorkstone at £150 plus per square metre.

So, on a 50m2 patio, the slab cost could vary between £500 and £7,500. That’s quite a difference!

But they are, of course, the extremes.

Porcelain has been extremely popular in recent years and this tends to vary in price between £25–£50 plus per square metre. The ever-popular Indian sandstone is typically around £18–£20 per square metre.

Concrete slabs are available in a wide range of colours and styles, and the average price bracket is anywhere between £10–£35 per square metre.

The paving type, of course, can have a big impact on cost.



What drainage requirements are there?


A good patio installation always takes into consideration drainage. The last thing you want is for your patio to have standing water after rainfall.

Of course, every patio should have a slight fall to allow surface water runoff. Exactly where the water is to run off to really depends upon each individual site.

The best-case scenario here is to be able to fall the patio so that the rainfall runs to a lawn or flower bed.

This is the most cost-effective method, but this is not always possible.

You may need to install drainage in the form of a French drain or ACO drain, and/or potentially a soakaway, too.

Drainage depends upon site conditions and the requirements can only be determined on a case-by-case basis, but it’s important to know that drainage can have a significant impact on the cost to install your patio.



Do you want to seal the paving?


Often, sealing paving isn’t essential and, of course, it is always something that can be done further down the line (always wait at least six months to avoid sealing in any potential efflorescence). Alternatively, you may wish to seal the paving before it’s laid.

This is often a popular choice when installing Indian sandstone and some manufacturers do, in fact, recommend it.

Sealing paving involves manually applying the sealant with a masonry paint brush or roller. Good quality sealants can potentially add £20 per square metre to the cost, plus the additional labour time of applying the sealant.



Some ballpark patio estimates for the Essex area

As you can see, there are many factors that can affect how much it will cost to install a new patio in Essex.

However, knowing some ballpark figures is especially useful in knowing what you need to budget, so let’s look at some very rough, approximate costs.

These costs are for the patio paving only and do not include the cosy of drainage, retaining walls, steps, manhole covers, etc. They also assume a standard excavation and sub-base installation.

As the type of paving can have a huge impact on price, we’ve broken down the costs into the most common paving types:

Indian Sandstone – £140–£200* per square metre, including VAT.

Porcelain – £150–£250* per square metre, including VAT.

Concrete Paving Slabs – £120–£220* per square metre, including VAT.

*Based upon 2021 costs. Includes labour, waste disposal and materials.

Due to the number of factors that affect price these are very rough guide prices, but should be useful in giving you an idea as to whether or not your project is feasible.





Of course, every job is unique, and the list of variables explained in this article is by no means exhaustive. There are still further factors that can impact price.

The only way to know the cost to install a patio in Essex is to arrange a site visit and a quote.

If these ballpark figures are within your budget, then why not give us a call to discuss your patio project?

We operate throughout Essex, including Chelmsford, Brentwood, Rayleigh, Wickford, and Leigh-on-Sea.

We’re always on hand to help and love discussing all things landscaping, so give us a call on 01245 697 688 and we can answer any questions you may have and arrange a site visit if necessary.

You can also ask your questions in the comments section below.


11 Reasons to Install a Porcelain Patio in Essex


With such a huge variety of garden paving available these days, choosing the best type of patio paving can be difficult.

In recent times, we have seen a steep rise in the number of our clients opting for porcelain paving for their Essex patio or pathway. But why is this? What is so great about this type of paving? Well, today, we look at 11 reasons why you should choose porcelain for your next patio or pathway, along with some of the drawbacks.



1. It’s Low Maintenance

porcelain patio Chelmsford

One of the biggest advantages for many of our clients is the fact that porcelain is incredibly low maintenance. We all lead increasingly busy lifestyles and it can be difficult to find the time to do many household chores. And who really needs a patio that needs regularly jet washing and sealing? Well, that’s where porcelain is so good – unlike many other types of paving, porcelain never needs sealing to ensure that it retains its fresh look.



2. It’s Extremely Hard-Wearing

The best porcelain is very dense and capable of withstanding lots of foot traffic with ease. This means that it generally lasts far longer than most other types of patio and pathway paving.



3. It’s Easy to Clean

Again, unlike most other types of paving, porcelain is very easy to clean and does not require any specialist cleaning products. More often than not, porcelain paving is easily cleaned with just a hose and brush, without the need for a jet wash.



4. It’s Fade-Resistant

One of the problems with natural stone and concrete paving is that, over time, the colour tends to fade. However, porcelain is unaffected by the sun so the tiles will not fade or lose their natural colour, meaning your patio or pathway will look just as good as the day it was laid, even years down the line.



5. It’s Stain-Resistant

Porcelain is not only excellent at holding its colour, but it’s also extremely good at preventing staining. That is down to its non-porous nature, meaning that liquids remain on the surface of the paving rather than being absorbed.



6. It’s Anti-Slip

porcelain patio paving in essex

Isn’t porcelain slippery, though? This is an extremely common question we get asked by clients during site visits and, fortunately, porcelain is anti-slip. Many people wrongly believe that porcelain will be slippery, but that may be down to most people associating porcelain paving with kitchen or bathroom tiles, which tend to have a polished surface. However, external porcelain is designed for external use and therefore has a rough surface texture, which is usually only felt and not necessarily seen. Of course, some porcelain tiles have a higher anti-slip rating than others, so check the anti-slip rating on your chosen paving and obtain samples to feel the surface texture before purchasing.



7. It’s Available in a Wide Variety of Colours & Styles

symphony porcelain patio essex

There is such a huge array of styles and colours of porcelain available these days that, admittedly, it can be difficult to decide on the best one for your garden. It was at one time predominately used for modern and contemporary gardens; however, in recent times, more and more porcelain is being manufactured to replicate more traditional styles of paving.

Right now, grey is extremely popular among our clients, but there are also many other shades of buff, beige, black, white and brown to suit the surroundings of just about any garden.



8. It’s Scratch-Resistant

Another major advantage of choosing porcelain paving for your Essex patio is that it is far less likely to be scratched than most other types of paving. This is especially appealing for those wishing to place tables and chairs on their paving, along with those installing paving for family use.



9. It Can be Profiled for Steps & Coping Stones

symphony steps

Porcelain tiles can easily be profiled to give them a ‘bull-nosed’ edge, whereby the edge of the tile is rounded off. This is perfect for creating steps and coping stones, where a rounded edge will not only look more aesthetically pleasing but also reduce the chances of injury should slips and trips occur.



10. It’s Moss, Mould & Lichen Resistant

For many years Indian sandstone has been an extremely popular choice of paving amongst our clients, and to an extent, it still is to this day. And for good reason, too, as the natural look of sandstone can create stunning patios and pathways. However, one of the biggest problems with sandstone is that it tends to draw in moss, mould and lichen, particularly in north-facing gardens. Porcelain, on the other hand, is resistant to moss and mould growth, keeping it looking fresh in even the most sheltered of gardens.



11. It Can Also be Used for Driveways

marshalls symphony plus

A newish way of surfacing your driveway is to use porcelain. One of the main players in the UK paving industry, Marshalls, recently released their brand new range, SYMPHONY® Plus Drive, which is porcelain paving specifically designed for use on driveways.

Using porcelain is a great way to achieve a long-lasting, low-maintenance, fade-resistant and stylish driveway.



Are There any Downsides to Porcelain?


Well, yes, unfortunately nothing in life is perfect and neither is porcelain.

One of the drawbacks of porcelain is that, generally, it tends to be more expensive than concrete slabs and a little more expensive than natural paving. However, with the ever-increasing demand and competition between suppliers, costs have reduced in recent times. Of course, you do need to be careful about choosing good quality porcelain, ideally one that has been vitrified, to avoid problems.

Another downside to porcelain is that it requires specialist tools and materials to install. Firstly, each individual slab will need a coating of primer applied to the back of the slab to ensure it properly adheres to the mortar bed. Porcelain is also more difficult to cut than most other types of paving and requires specialist cutting blades and, ideally, a table saw for accurate cutting.





With a long list of benefits, it’s little wonder that so many of our Essex customers are opting to install porcelain for their patios and pathways.

If you would like a free no-obligation quote then please contact us here or, alternatively, call us on 01245 697 688 to arrange your free site visit.


How to Choose the Best Patio Paving For Your Garden


Patio in Danbury Essex - After 1

There are many reasons to have a new garden patio installed.

By combining attractive paving and a creative design with top quality professional installation, you can transform any garden large or small and create an additional outdoor room to your home.

It will add enormous value to your property.

But with such a wide range of paving available these days, how do you possibly decide on which is the best for your garden?

Indian Sandstone, Porcelain, Granite, Slate, Limestone, Concrete, York stone, where do you start?

It can sometimes feel like a daunting task deciding on the best paving, but it needn’t be.

In our latest article we’re going to be offering up some advice on choose the right paving to suit your garden and your budget.



Research Online


The best place to start is by researching online. You can use google image search to get ideas or you could visit the websites of paving manufacturers such as Marshalls, Natural Paving and London Stone.

You could also look at the portfolios of local landscaping contractors too.

Patio installation in Essex

Always pay particular attention to any captions that may accompany the pictures.

That’s because many of the pictures you may see online are when the paving is wet. Many contractors take pictures of the paving when it’s in this condition if they believe the paving looks better.

Often it does as the dampness usually enhances the colours, particularly of Indian Sandstone.

Don’t despair if you only like the look of a particular paving when it is wet though, you can always seal your paving with a ‘wet-look’ sealant to achieve the look semi-permanently.



Obtain Brochures


If you prefer looking at pictures in print rather than online, again many manufacturers are more than happy to send you copies of their brochures.

This is especially useful if you are intending on creating a mood board as you can cut out the pictures and attach them for ideas and inspiration.

Sometimes brochures also have pictures and information that you might have otherwise missed on websites.



Obtain Samples


Pictures are all well and good but there’s nothing quite like viewing paving in the flesh.

Many manufacturers, including Marshalls, offer a free sample service. This means that they will send you a small sample of your paving directly to your door.

It’s always best to view your samples outside, where they will be laid. As of course, different lighting conditions will make the paving appear different.

We also recommend that you soak the paving with water to give you an idea of how it may look when wet. In the British climate, its probably how your paving will look most of the time!

Requesting samples will also give you a better idea of the texture that the paving might have and how non-slip it may be.

patio installation in essex

It’s extremely important to remember – if you are requesting samples of natural stone, then don’t expect every slab to look the same, as they won’t. Samples of natural stone really only give you a rough idea of how the paving may look.

Part of the beauty of natural stone is that each slab is unique and there is nobody else in the world who will have exactly the same slab as you!



Visit Local Builders Merchants


It’s also a great idea to take a visit to your local builder’s merchants.

Many of them have display centres where you can often see different types of paving laid to create small patio areas.

Not only will you get to see different types of paving in the flesh, but you should also get a good idea of how your chosen paving may weather over time.

Always ask the staff how long the display has been laid for to give you an idea of how well the slabs have weathered.



Choosing the Correct Colour


patio paving essex

When it comes to choosing the colour of your paving, you basically have two choices.

You can either try to match the colouring of your property or contrast it.

You’ll need to consider how much direct sunlight your patio will receive too. If it’s a dark area, then choosing a light-coloured paving is recommend, as it will brighten up the space.

Whether you contrast or match your property really is down to personal preference, there is no right or wrong.

Generally, it’s advisable to pick the colour you like the most, and as long as it doesn’t clash with its surroundings, there is no reason why your colour choice wouldn’t work.

You can always tie in your paving with your property by choosing a colour edging that complements the property.



Enhance Your Garden’s Surroundings


You’ll also need to consider the surroundings and style of your property.

Older properties tend to look better with more antique or riven styles paving, as it will give your patio a more cottage garden or stately home feel, such as Indian Sandstone or Yorkstone.

For more modern looking properties, you’ll want to choose a paving with a modern feel.

Granite, Porcelain and Slate tends to work best in this instance.



Consider Flow


In recent years, it has become very popular to choose outdoor paving that matches the tiles that you have inside your home.

Choosing a matching paving slab or tile can help to blur boundaries and provide a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors.

This is especially true if you have bi-folding doors, which have increased considerably in popularity in recent times.

By installing your paving up to the threshold, during the summer months you’ll have extended your indoor space and it will feel like you’ve created an extension to your home.



Natural Stone or Man-Made?


Natural stone can be anything from Indian Sandstone to York Stone or Granite to Slate.

Part of the beauty of natural stone is that every slab is unique. You’ll get various shades of colour throughout your patio for a more natural look.

Argent Paving

To save on costs, you can often achieve the look of natural stone by considering a man-made alternative. Slabs such as the Marshalls Argent, Heritage or Coach House paving make for excellent choices.

However, for a more uniform look, why not consider some of the vast array of concrete paving slabs available such as Marshalls Saxon?

In recent times, Porcelain has become a more and more popular choice. It comes in a vast array of colours and textures whilst being extremely hard wearing and stain-resistant. It offers the best of both worlds.



What Type of Edging Should You Choose?


Edging your patio isn’t always essential, but it can add interest and detail and enhance the aesthetic appeal.

More often than not, most of our customers like to use a contrasting coloured edging, but choosing to edge your patio using the same material and colours often works too.

You can use either bricks, blocks or setts in various sizes and colours to compliment your patio.

It’s always best to choose the main paving first and then obtain samples of the potential edges and match them up to a sample of your chosen paving.





Patio paving in Billiericay Essex

If you follow the advice set out in this article, choosing the perfect paving for your garden needn’t be difficult.

Its worth taking some time to consider the options and get it right first time.

If you do, you’ll completely transform your garden, creating an additional outdoor room perfect for relaxing and entertaining as well as adding serious value to your property.

If you are looking for professional, you’ve come to the right place.

Our custom designed and installed patios throughout Essex have won us several awards in recognition of our high level of creative workmanship.

We serve Chelmsford, Brentwood, Southend, Wickford, Billericay, Braintree and surrounding areas.

Why not give us a call today and we’ll arrange for your free consultation?

We’ll talk you through the different options available to you, help you choose the perfect paving and design a patio that perfectly compliments and enhances your garden environment.

Call us on 01245 697 688 or contact us here.

If you have any questions or would like some help on choosing patio paving, why not leave your comments and questions below, we’d love to hear from you!



6 Things to Consider Before Installing a New Patio


Patio in Essex

There are many benefits to installing a new patio in your garden.

Not only are patios practical in that they provide a suitable hard standing to walk on and to put your garden furniture on, but they can also completely transform any garden, large or small into a beautiful outdoor room.

If you have recently decided to have a new patio installed, before you proceed, you may find it useful to run through this list of considerations.

As you’ll learn, there are many different options to consider and it’s very important to take your time to properly plan every detail of your patio to ensure that your new paving transforms your garden into the garden of your dreams.

So, let’s have a look at our list of 6 things to consider before installing a new patio.



1. What type of paving should you choose?


Eclipse Natural Granite

Probably the biggest consideration you’ll have to make when having a new patio laid is to decide upon the type of paving you would like to use.

You have a choice of either block paving or slabs to create a traditional patio or you could even use resin bound gravel.

By far the most common form, and best suited in our opinion is to use paving slabs.

Here, the choices are endless.

There are many different types of paving to choose from including Indian Sandstone, Yorkstone, Granite, Limestone, Porcelain, Concrete, Slate or Marble, just to scratch the surface.

All of course coming in various styles and colours. But there is something to suit every taste and environment.



2. What pattern will your paving be laid in?


patio installation in essex

Depending upon the type of paving that you choose, there may be a wide range of possible laying patterns that your paving can be laid in.

Deciding upon the best pattern to use is purely a question of taste as there is not normally any structural advantage by choosing one pattern over the other.

For quite some time now, a popular laying pattern for most types of paving is a ‘random pattern’ which involves using different sized slabs to create what appears as a random layout.

This design choice was popularised by the huge demand for Indian Sandstone, which is most commonly found in project packs.

However, in more recent times, there has been a bit of a renaissance for single size paving patterns once again, which is mainly due to the ever-increasing popularity of Porcelain paving.

To help you decide on the best pattern to use, take a look through your chosen supplier’s brochure or website to learn about the different laying patterns.



3. Do you want to seal your paving?


Although certainly not essential, sealing your patio will help prevent its lifespan, make it easier to clean and prevent staining.

The sealing process can either be carried out prior to laying the slabs or alternatively a few months further down the line.

It’s very important that you don’t attempt to seal your paving immediately after laying as you don’t want to seal in any potential efflorescence that may appear on your paving.

When it comes to sealing your paving, we highly recommend Resiblock’s range of sealants.



4. How should your patio be pointed?


When it comes to pointing you have several options.

Firstly, pointing can be done the traditional way, using sand and cement. There are various styles that can be achieved using sand and cement including ridge or bird beak pointing, grooved pointing or weather struck, to name but a few.

Indian Sandstone Patio Chelmsford

Patio Pointed Using EASYJoint

A more modern alternative is to use a resin jointing compound. For the homeowner, these types of resin have several advantages. It doesn’t crack, it’s cheaper to install and comes in a wide variety of colours.

For the contractor, it’s great because it can be applied even in the rain.

Sandblasted Sandstone Patio in Chelmsford

‘Butt-Jointed Paving’

Another option is to use kiln dried sand. However, this is only a viable option if your paving is ‘butt-jointed’, i.e. laid so that each slab is touching the next without leaving a visible join.

Finally, you can also use an exterior grout. This is becoming an increasingly popular option due to its incredible strength and long lifespan. It’s also available in a wide range of colours.

When considering a patio, it’s very important to consider which type of pointing will suit your paving and your budget



5. Will you need a retaining wall?


Sandstone Retaining Wall

If you are looking to create a raised patio, then you’ll need some form of retaining wall. How high it will need to be of course depends on the level you want your patio to be.

Retaining walls are vital to prevent the sides of your patio from collapsing.

You can create a retaining wall using a wide variety of materials.

The most common form of retaining wall is constructed from brick. You have many choices when it comes to brickwork and you could go for the same brick as used on your property or something complimentary.

Bricks don’t have to be man-made either, you could choose something like the Marshalls Natural Stone Walling.

You can even apply render to your wall and paint it any colour you can think of.

Or for a softer look, you may wish to use sleepers.

Either way, for raised patios, retaining walls are a key element and shouldn’t be overlooked.



6. How will you manage drainage?


In an ideal world, all new patios would fall away from your property and channel any water that hits it onto a lawn or flower bed.

However, the levels in your garden may mean that this is not possible. But you needn’t worry if your patio will fall towards any buildings as there will be alternative methods of handling the surface water runoff.

For example, you may need to install a ACO drain or hopper along the length of any buildings that can then be connected to a storm water drain or soakaway.

An important thing to remember when deciding upon the finished height of a patio in relation to any buildings, is to ensure that it will be 150mm (2 brick courses) below the damp proof course (DPC) in order to comply with the regulations and avoid damp getting into your property.

Rest assured, with properly planned and installed drainage, puddles and standing water won’t be a concern for your new patio and you won’t be getting any damp issues in your home.





Sandstone Patio Chelmsford

As you’ll have learnt, they are many different options to consider when installing a new patio. But it’s important to get right as a new patio is a big investment for any homeowner and if it’s correctly installed, it should last over 20 years.

We hope our list of considerations will help you in planning your new patio and if you are in the Essex area and you’re considering having a new patio installed, then why not give us a call?

Our friendly team will arrange your consultation and we can discuss the various options available to you when deciding upon the perfect patio for your garden. We’ll also take away the stress by working with you to advise on best practices and help you design the garden of your dreams.

To arrange for your site consultation and written quote, call us today on 01245 697 688 or contact us here.

If you have any questions or think we have missed something form our list of 6 considerations before installing a new patio, leave us a comment below.

We look forward to hearing from you.


7 Reasons to Install a Patio in Essex


Patio in Essex

Over the years we have installed hundreds of patios across Essex.

Its little wonder when a patio is an almost essential part of the garden; providing a permanent hard standing that is not only practical i.e. enabling you to step out of your property without getting covered in mud, but it will also improve a garden aesthetically.

With a huge variety of paving to choose from and endless design possibilities, patio paving can transform any outdoor space, large or small and there is something to suit every taste and property type.

In today’s article we are taking a closer look at some of the main benefits of installing a patio, with our rundown of 7 key reasons.



1.Wide Range of Paving to Choose From


Patio installation in essex

As we have already touched on, there’s a huge array of natural and man-made paving to choose from that will suit any property and its surroundings.

There’s everything from Indian Sandstone to Granite, Block Paving to Porcelain or Ceramic tiles to Limestone.

Contemporary, modern or antique styles can be achieved to suit any property type.

The list of materials is to choose from is so exhaustive you may find it difficult to choose your favourite.



2.Endless Design Possibilities


paving essex

As well as a wide choice of paving types, there’s also endless design possibilities and laying patterns that can be achieved with patio paving.

Some types of paving, such as the Marshalls Heritage paving, can be laid in a whopping 27 different laying patterns!

Factor in different styles of complementary edging, circle packs, octagon and hexagon packs, raised features and steps, you’ll soon realise that the only limit to the possibilities is your imagination.



3.Improves the Aesthetics of Any Garden or Outdoor Space


patio installers in essex

Patio paving can transform tired spaces into beautiful garden areas that are great for relaxing and entertaining.

Old slabs of concrete, grass areas and worn out pathways can be transformed into amazing patio areas that will give your garden the wow factor.

To view some of our patio transformations, please click here.



4.Adds Value to Your Property


paving essex

There’s not only the aesthetic and practical advantages of patio paving to consider, but a professionally designed and installed patio can add serious value to your property.

A well-designed garden with adequate hard standing is a major selling point for many homebuyers and the cost of having a patio installed can easily be recouped in additional value added to your home.



5.Low Maintenance


garden patio installer essex

Generally, most patio paving is very low maintenance in nature.

Some paving types require more maintenance than others, but, in general, patios are far easier to maintain than green areas such as your lawn or plant beds.

By creating a patio area in your Essex property, you’ll be decreasing the amount of maintenance your garden requires, giving you more time to spend doing the things you really enjoy doing with the little spare time you have available.



6.Creates a Long Lasting, Hard-Wearing Surface


Patio paving is an excellent way to form a hard standing in any garden environment.

Patios are perfect for relaxing and entertaining and can be used all year round.

In the UK, BBQ’s are an extremely popular past time during the summer months. And there’s no better place to setup your BBQ and garden furniture than on your beautiful patio area.

Professionally installed patio paving will stand the test of time and can withstand heavy pedestrian use for more than 20 years.



7.It Can Prevent Flooding & Improve Drainage


patio installation in essex

A well-designed patio should always take into consideration your gardens drainage requirements.

In some cases, this may mean incorporating a fall on the patio to channel the water away from your property to either a lawn area or plant bed.

Other circumstances may permit the use of a linear drainage system, slot drain or hopper system. In any case, proper planning or your patio area will prevent puddling on your new paved surface.

If your existing hard surface falls victim of standing water, then having a professionally installed patio will improve drainage and prevent future standing water and puddling from appearing on your hard standing.





patio paving essex

At SE Landscapes we specialise in paving and we have transformed gardens and outdoor spaces right across Essex including Chelmsford, Wickford, Witham, Billericay, Maldon, Brentwood and Basildon.

If you’re considering having a new patio installed in Essex, then don’t hesitate to contact us by clicking here or you can call us on 01245 697 688 and our friendly staff will arrange for your free no obligation consultation.

During your visit our owner Will, will take you through the options and discuss ideas with you to help you create your dream patio and will also provide you with a no obligation written quote.

If you have any questions regarding our patio installation service in Essex, as always, please leave them in the comments section below or give us a call.



If you are looking to invest a few thousand pounds on your property in the form of a new driveway or patio, it can be difficult to find a credible firm in an industry notorious for rogue traders. Below are a few tell tales signs:


Not providing a written quote


Verbal quotes are worthless as you cannot prove whether a builder agreed to a price or not. Unscrupulous contractors may give a price verbally, which will sound like a good deal and then when the work is complete, invoice you for 2 or 3 times the price of the verbal quote. If this situation arises there is really very little you can do as you cannot prove otherwise. A written quote forms a contract between the customer and the builder and both parties should have copies. Always insist on getting quotes in writing.


Saying they can start tomorrow


The best driveway and paving contractors usually have a lead time of around 4-12 weeks as they are in high demand. Always be suspicious if a contractor can start the next day as he is probably not very good at his job.


Door to door canvassing


A reputable block paving contractor will not canvass door to door simply because they don’t need to use those kinds of tactics to get work. Our main source of work is through referrals from many of our satisfied customers meaning that we are busy throughout the year. Builders who participate in door to door canvassing are usually only in the area for a short time before moving on to somewhere else as their poor standard of work usually results in angry customers.


Using a non-geographical phone number e.g. 0800 or 0845


Credible firms always use a local number such as 01245 as they only work within one particular area of the country. Shady firms will just use a mobile number or a 0800 or 0845 to mask their itinerant habits.




Are you looking for a professional paving contractor in Essex? Why not call us today to find out how we can help you completely transform the look of your home. Our experienced team of expert craftsman have the skills to dramatically improve the look of any garden or driveway – big or small. To book your free consultation call us today on 01245 80 71 80 and arrange a visit from our landscape advisor – at a time that suits you!



Efflorescence Definition


All concrete products such as block paving, brickwork or paving slabs are susceptible to a naturally occurring phenomenon known as efflorescence. In chemistry, efflorescence is described as a growth of salt crystals caused by evaporating salt water and this white, powdery substance is an unavoidable fact of life for many concrete products.


In other words, as rain water moves through the wall or paving, the rainwater is then driven out, bringing salts to the surface and as the water evaporates it leaves the salt behind, forming a white, fluffy deposit. Efflorescence is very unsightly and is often the cause of distress for some of our clients and is completely understandable.


The good news is that efflorescence will disappear eventually and will not harm your concrete surface in the slightest. It’s difficult to say how long it will take to disappear, as there are no hard and fast rules as to when it will stop forming. It could only take a couple of weeks or it could be a couple of months or even as long as a year.


In the mean time, if you feel it’s necessary to remove the efflorescence we would advise you to scrub the concrete with a stiff broom and a bucket of soapy water. Avoid using a power washer on block paving (unless you know what you are doing) because if it’s not used correctly, it can wash away the sand below the paving which will cause even bigger problems and require a visit from a professional to repair the laying course. Cleaning is however just a short term fix and you will find that within a month, the efflorescence will return.



SE Landscape Construction are a landscaping & driveway contractor based in Essex. We specialise in paving including block paving driveways in Essex and patio paving in Essex. Our experienced team of craftsman have the knowledge and skill to transform your home whilst adding up to 15% to your property’s value. If you live in the Essex area contact our friendly team today on 01245 80 71 80 to book your free consultation.



Setts & cobbles make a fantastic alternative to block paving and can be used either to pave a driveway or garden patio or path. They are typically more expensive than blocks but the Marshalls Cobbletech paving system is very reasonably priced considering the quality of the finish and will certainly give your property a unique curb appeal.


There is a significant difference between setts and cobbles and the differences are explained below.



Fairstone Setts

Setts are made from stone and have a width and depth of between 75-200mm, with varying lengths between 75-450mm. The size can often depend on the workability of the stone as different types of rock are easier to manipulate than others. They can be produced from almost any type of rock including sandstone, limestone, granite, basalt or gritstone. Setts can work really well when used to edge paving slabs on garden paths.




Cobbletech Paving System

Cobbles differ from setts as they are rounded in shape, as opposed to square. They are basically pebbles or small boulders. Natural cobbles can be difficult to walk on, as anyone who has ever walked up a genuine cobblestone path or road would know. For an affordable and attractive option we recommend choosing Marshalls Cobbletech paving system, if cobbles are what you are look for. These aren’t genuine cobblestones but still have the same great look without being difficult to walk on.


Learn about other types of patio paving here 


SE Landscape Construction specialise in the design and construction of paving in Essex including driveway paving, block paving and garden patio paving. We offer all of our customers free driveway or patio design that will not only improve the look of your home but also add significant value to your property. For a free consultation and paving design contact our friendly team today on 01245 80 71 80.



Driveways Essex


There are many reasons why it is considered a good idea to seal your block paved driveway or patio. The obvious advantage is that a good quality sealer will protect your paving from the elements and ensure that the investment you made in your property lasts long into the future; increasing your properties value as a result. There are many other benefits that sealant manufacturers claim to have on your paving and the main advantages are listed below:



• Protects the surface from staining
• Eliminates the growth of algae
• Significantly reduces the chances of weed growth
• Prolongs the lifespan of your paving
• Binds together jointing sand, which increases the strength
• Enhances the colouring and prevents fading
However there are a few things that you will need to bear in mind, should you decide to go ahead with sealing your paving:


If in doubt hire a professional


It’s advised that sealants are applied to block paving by someone who knows what they are doing. This is because once the sealant has been applied, it cannot be removed. A professional will also be able to advise on how many coats should be applied and the best brands to use, which leads us onto…


Always use a high quality sealant

It’s certainly a wise move to choose a high quality sealer instead of going for a cheaper option as you definitely get what you pay for when it comes to buying sealant. Poor sealants tend not to last as long as the better quality versions so you will end up paying out more money in the long run. Inferior sealants are also prone to abrasion and have a tendency to turn yellow with age as a result of UV exposure. We recommend using Resiblock as it is ‘UV stable’ and will penetrate the blocks deeper preventing the abrasion you get from lower quality products.


Never apply sealant to newly installed paving


Sealants should never be applied to freshly laid paving. It usually takes at least 3 or 4 months for the jointing sand to properly settle and for any efflorescence to disappear. We recommend that you do not seek to get your paving sealed for at least 6 months after installation. Should it be seal too soon, you will be sealing in any problems and the application of sealant cannot be reversed.


Always test the product before application


Some sealants may impart a glossy, ‘wet look’ that isn’t always to everyone’s taste and some products may not be suitable for your particular type of paving. Therefore, it is always advised to test the sealant on a small discreet area before applying it to the whole driveway or patio.
In conclusion, sealing block paving is a good idea as it will protect your paving and the investment you made in your property as well as ensuring your driveway or patio stays in tip-top condition for many years into the future. However there are certain precautions to take note of before jumping head first into sealing your pavement.



Looking to significant value and curb appeal to your home? SE Landscape Construction provide a professional, reliable driveway installation service in Essex including block paving in Chelmsford, Brentwood and Billericay? For a free written quotation with a Marshalls Approved Contractor call us today on 01245 80 71 80.




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