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How Slate Can Create a Stunning Effect in Your Garden

Non-slippy, durable and effortlessly modern, this versatile stone brings instant appeal to outside spaces

Houzz Contributor and homes and property journalist with a passion for interiors…. More

Slate looks good for a lifetime, whether it’s honed, brushed or riven. Use it to bring a sense of style to outdoor dining areas, zone a space, or mark a transition from inside to out. Choose regular or mixed-sized slabs, paddlestones or decorative chippings and make the most of its versatility on steps, wall facings, garden features and paths. If your budget is tight, confine it to a small but prominent area – or use a lookalike.
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Be bold with boundaries
Separate lawn from patio with a square, hard-edged border. In a smaller space, simple rectangles of patio, lawn, fence and hedging are great for creating an orderly design that’s relaxing and easy on the eye.

To prevent the space looking too square-edged, however, use planting to introduce some softer shapes and pleasing curves.

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Insert planting
Set a border into slate paving to break up a patio. Use the footprint of your property to guide the way, making use of sharp angles and boundaries. Here, the designers have kept the planting firmly confined to the beds, with no foliage hanging over, to ensure the clean lines of the slate paving aren’t broken.

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Match inside to out
To merge the boundaries between inside and out, use the same slate for the interior flooring and the patio. This will help to fully integrate your kitchen and garden designs.

Look for tiles that are generally darker toned, but with a mottled mix of shades, as they’re less likely to show footprints tramping into the kitchen from the garden.

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Make a courtyard in the sky
Turn a balcony into a patio with paving. This uncovered outside space uses a mix of white and gentle greys, including Welsh slate, for a soft-touch coastal feel that’s fresh, appealing and a perfect fit with the interior. So much prettier than artificial turf!

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Find an angle
Let the beauty of slate shine through with a mix of patio and stepping-stone features. Use lines and diagonals to draw the eye and make the most of the stone’s inky and reflective qualities when wet.

In this compact walled garden, Nero riven slate works wonders with coloured aggregate, brilliant white planters and potted shrubbery as accents.

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Coordinate those greys
Fully integrate a home design by matching rear wall facings or paintwork to a slate patio. Here, the owners have picked wooden furniture with a slight grey hue, too, to add another layer of the colour.

If all that grey is a bit too much, break it up a little by adding natural colour with potted plants and boundary hedging.

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Add a hint of slate
If you lack the space or budget for a traditional patio, use slate tiles to clad a garden feature instead. These raised railway sleeper pools have been topped with slate, bringing an Eastern, contemplative feel to the outside space. Subtle planting and a mix of paving and aggregates add character.

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Bring in copper notes
Mix materials, sizes, patterns and shades for an outdoor space full of interest. The owners of this low-level patio have used multi-sized midnight blue slate tiles laid cottage-style for the main patio; single-sized granite slabs laid square for the steps and wall copings, and copper dry stack walling to clad the step risers.

They’ve completed the look with galvanised planters and red oxide furniture, fencing and accessories to add warmth without cluttering the calm design.

Should you paint your garden fence black?

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Go for chippings
Here, the designers have created a secluded patio with a covered, decked seating area bordered by a pathway of slate chippings. The chippings add visual texture and a satisfying crunch to the sounds of the garden.

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Segregate seating
If you love the look of slate, but are on a tighter budget, black limestone can be treated with an intensifying sealant to make it darker, providing a slate look for less.

Use alongside a contrasting material to mark out a lounging area. In this small garden, a timber deck forms the main walkway and dining space, while the stone makes the seating area special.

If you want to demarcate a zone in your garden further, use a drop in level and ‘room-divider’ raised planters to separate the areas.

Tell us…
What are your top tips for creating a beautiful slate patio? Share your experiences in the Comments section.
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