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What every landscaper knows about Indian sandstone paving

The Turnbull team get you up to speed with this handy guide to sandstone paving

So what’s the deal about Indian sandstone? Valued for its strength and pale beauty, sandstone from Rajasthan, India, has been quarried for centuries.

Affordable imported natural stone alternatives

25-30 years ago, Marshalls began to explore ways of obtaining Indian sandstone for garden paving as an alternative to our native sandstone, natural slates and limestone slabs.  They knew customers would love this natural stone’s characteristics - its cut or split surface reveals tiny quartz crystals which give each slab a subtle, glasspaper sheen.  Landscapers and garden designers were quick to recommend sandstone to clients looking for something different and lovely.

 

Know your sandstone paving choices

Budget sandstone paving

From £245.76 Per Pack
From £25.33 Per m2
Price Includes VAT

Budget sandstone paving comes in two robust, standard slabs, Marshalls Indian Sandstone Paving and Stonemarket Marketstone Riven Sandstone Garden Paving. Both garden patio slabs are calibrated to an essential 22mm, and exceed the industry Stone Standards. They are great buys for anyone wanting tough, quality sandstone.

Mid-range sandstone slabs

From £605.52 Per Pack
From £39.71 Per m2
Price Includes VAT

For hand-selected, more colour-consistent options, take a look at these mid-range sandstone slabs. Marshalls Fairstone Riven Harena Garden Paving are naturally split slabs with a riven texture. Stonemarket Vintage Stone Manor Garden Paving is strong, long-lasting rich buff sandstone paving.

Premium sandstones

From

Regular Price: £1,290.91

Sale Price £1,226.36 Per Pack

From £106.45 Per m2
Price Includes VAT

For the ultimate in hard landscaping, consider one of the premium sandstones. Stonemarket Avant Garde Natural Stone Garden Paving is superb smooth cut, quartzitic sandstone perfect for contemporary garden design. The Marshalls Fairstone Sawn Versuro Jumbo King Size Sandstone Paving range offers a supersized, magnificent paving slab to provide a style statement in any garden.

Sandstone Circles and Sandstone Driveway Block Paving

From £114.72 Per Pack
From £63.73 Per m2
Price Includes VAT

Sandstone Circle Kits are very popular as stand-alone patios and seating areas, or as features within a larger paved space. The Marshalls Indian Sandstone Circle is a beautiful hard wearing 2.84m diameter circle in three colour options. More versatile perhaps, is the Stonemarket Trustone Radius Paving Circle, made from hand-picked slabs with optional 5 piece corner infills.

You can even choose sandstone setts and block paving for your driveway. Marshalls Fairstone Split & Tumbled Stone Setts are graded for colour consistency and quality, and then tumbled for an attractive, timeworn finish. Stonemarket Stonespar Natural Stone Driveway Setts are sleek, cutting edge, linear sandstone blocks which create a stylish contemporary patio or driveway.

English Sandstone

Finally, if you’re wondering, yes, you can still get sandstone quarried in the UK, but it’s more usually called Yorkstone. Stonemarket Scoutmoor is a handsome blue-grey sandstone paving with exceptional performance – so good they’ve installed it in Trafalgar Square.

So, what do professional landscapers say about sandstone paving?

LandscapejuiceNetwork is one of those places where garden landscapers and designers hang out on the web. When asked: What’s the best paving slab on the market? 71% of those who responded recommended sandstone paving!

‘Indian sandstone is the best for me, comes in a variety of colours and sizes, cuts easily to create bespoke shapes/curves, can be laid randomly or to many different patterns and I love using the setts as an edger or interspersed in the paving it self. I believe that it’s good value for money. You cannot beat the real thing compared with concrete slabs.’

‘Our local merchant stocks Stonemarket products, so they always seem to have some of their natural sandstone on offer. I use this when I can as it is all ethically sourced and now are all a regular thickness. I find Stonemarket sandstone consistently of good quality, unlike some of the real cheap stuff you can get.’

‘Cheap sandstone is a false economy. Its widely varied colours - only conceivable use is next to a modern, suburban house - uncalibrated thickness and often varied sizing make for shoddy paved areas.'

'For me it has got to be natural sandstone- many colours available and each slab has its own mixture of colour and patterns, a lot better than the mass produced dull concrete "textured" slabs- and in most cases sandstone works out the same price or cheaper.’

‘My fave is indian sandstone. I just can't get my head round what i call fake paving when you can buy indian for less and its the real deal. There are some great contempary slabs out there but most of my clients seem to want the indian sandstone. Quick and easy to lay. Won't kill your back.’

Stonemarket Indian Sandstone

Pickwell Paving, Lincolnshire used Stonemarket's Indian Sandstone in this patio design

 

Cheapest Indian sandstone paving isn’t always a good buy

Marshalls stone exceeded standard

 

You might be tempted to purchase the cheapest patio slabs you can find, but be careful, paving less than an essential 22mm is more likely to crack or fail. It might also have been quarried from areas in India where the stone is newer (in stone terms!), and is therefore softer and more porous. These kinds of sandstone slabs are not value for money. 

Imported sandstone from Marshalls is the only sandstone on the market with the all-important CE mark, because of its consistent high quality. Their quartzitic sandstone is dense and hard; it takes longer to cut and process,and it’s got a lower water content than the softer stuff. This paving absorbs less moisture, so it won’t get slippery or green with algae; it’s also frost-resistant, important in our UK climate. Paving suppliers Marshalls and Stonemarket test their sandstone slabs in a lab to make sure they’ll take the cold and all their products exceed the industry Stone Standards.

 

Best Indian sandstone suppliers

Marshalls Fairstone

Who you buy from does matter. It might all come from the same place, but how sandstone is quarried and processed can vary. Thanks to the pioneering work of Marshalls we can all buy Indian sandstone that has been ethically sourced.

Marshalls and Stonemarket were the first UK companies to work alongside UNICEF to support and encourage the Indian quarrying industry’s work to improve work and safety conditions. They are signed up to the Ethical Trade Initiative’s Base Code and belong to the United Nations Global Compact.

What’s more, for every 1m² of their Fairstone sandstone paving sold, £1 is donated to UNICEF.  You won’t find all Indian sandstone on the market has been produced within the same transparent, ethical and sustainable supply framework.