Please note: online orders placed after Thursday 20th December 2018 will be processed from Wednesday 2nd January 2019.

How to choose the right paving slab surface

Once you start looking for patio paving, you’ll realise the choice of colours, finishes and patterns are enormous. And price varies as much as design. Whether you’re planning to do it yourself or not, you’ll want something that will last, look good and be an asset to your property.

You can’t beat a natural stone surface


Regular Price: £664.27

Sale Price £625.68 Per Pack

From £40.37 Per m2
Price Includes VAT

Of course, natural stone paving looks the business – it’s timeless, tough, has been there for centuries already and will continue to look amazing in your garden. Marshalls and Stonemarket have slabs that are split to reveal the stone’s natural unpolished uneven surface. This ‘riven’ surface gives a special tactile character and evokes the rougher flagstones of earlier times. Marshall’s Antique Alverno and Riven Harena are nice examples of lightly riven natural stone paving – produced to create character and yet very practical. Really cheap paving reproduces this ‘ye olde’ riven surface but it can be bumpy, awkward underfoot and bad news for toddlers, and anyone a little unsteady on their feet. Try getting patio furniture to sit without wobbling, too!


Regular Price: £1,290.91

Sale Price £1,226.36 Per Pack

From £106.45 Per m2
Price Includes VAT

If riven finishes don’t float your boat, how about the smooth, contemporary stone surfaces achieved by ‘sawing’ or ‘honing’ slabs to create a polished finish. Manufacturers grind the surface of slabs to create a satin look or buff them to bring out the stone’s natural colour and gloss. These paving surfaces look great and are family-friendly. Check out Marshall’s Sawn Versuro sandstone which we think works in any domestic setting - the fine grain of Indian Sandstone resists moisture, grime and grit.  By the way, neither of these natural stone surfaces requires sealant.

Or how about ‘flamed’ paving? The natural stone is exposed to heat after being cut into slabs, and the resulting crystallisation on the surface of the stone creates gorgeous colour and texture. Marshall’s Granite Eclipse has a flamed and blasted finish – lovely colours, and it’s slip-resistant.

Concrete paving - all the character and appearance of real stone

£648.38 Per Pack
£66.84 Per m2
Price Includes VAT

As you’d expect, modern technology applied to paving means greater consumer choice. There’s loads of engineered garden paving out there which replicates the riven, sawn and flamed surfaces of natural stone. Once installed, you really have to look twice at these high quality and premium products to see if they’re natural or concrete. The slabs are often moulded from stone originals – for instance, Marshalls Coach House has six different stone profiles taken from lovely old weathered Yorkstone originals.
Concrete paving often gets its texture and character from real stone – slabs are made using stone aggregates or tiny chippings. The surface of the slab is then washed or brushed to reveal the texture of the embedded chippings. This process makes for a great slip-resistant surface, too. Take a look at Marshalls Argent which uses sparkling granite aggregates, or Saxon, made from specialist Scottish aggregates.

Like many things in life, you get what you pay for, so super-cheap concrete slabs might mean low concrete content and lack of strength, or unstable fast-fading colour dyes or inadequate thickness.

Cobbles or granite setts - something entirely different

£389.29 Per Pack
£78.49 Per m2
Price Includes VAT

If you’re in love with the look of cobbles or granite setts you can, of course, buy the real McCoy to achieve a classic period paving surface. But you can also save a significant amount of money on installation and labour by buying paving which reproduces the texture of Victorian cobbles. Heritage Cobblestones come in easy to lay 12-cobble setts. You can even achieve the feel of timber decking by using a technically consistent concrete option. Woodstone from Marshalls has the texture surface detail of light oak but, hey, no warping or rotting.

The right mortar makes all the difference

Traditional dry sand, gravel or manufacturers’ jointing compounds are your options. Some are more maintenance heavy and technically tricky to use than others. We are fans of Weatherpoint 365 – you can use it all year round (like it says!) without having to wait to lay on a totally dry day. There’s no mixing, no waste and it sets hard quickly so if someone does walk over your newly laid and mortared patio, it’s not the end of the world. Weatherpoint comes in three colours and is frost-resistant and non-hazardous. What’s more - and this is a clincher in some households - it stands up to jet washing and weeds!

When you add it all up, remember only 20% of the cost will be paving - a whopping 80% goes on labour and installation. Paying a bit more for the right product will not make a massive difference to the final amount you pay out.For more information on all types of paving or advice on what paving is right for your project, contact Turnbull’s on 01529 308839 or via our online web chat feature on our site. We have a huge range of paving types to choose from.