With outdoor projects underway from early Spring right through to late Summer and early Autumn, one of the top questions customers ask is ‘what is the best paving for patios?’. When choosing a tile for your garden, it is helpful to understand the different products on the market, their benefits, and their characteristics. We have put together a simple overview of each material and why they could be the best patio slabs for your own space!
Natural Stone Patio Slabs Ideas
Natural Stone is a material that has been used for centuries across the globe. The beauty of natural stone patio slabs is the variety of colours, finishes and unique physical attributes – there is something for every garden paving project! As direct importers since 1995, we have dedicated much of our time sourcing the most beautiful natural stone patio slabs for your outdoor space.
Limestone Outdoor Tiles
Limestone is a sedimentary rock, formed over millions of years. A combination of sediments, broken seashells, coral and the remains of aquatic animals deposited on the waterbed, slowly compresses over time into a hard rock. This makes limestone an extremely hardwearing and practical material and one of the best paving slabs for garden patios! Quorn Stone’s range of premium limestone pavers are marked as frost resistant – making them suitable for outdoors and in a 20mm or 30mm thick tile. Natural stone exterior tiles will also lighten slightly and season overtime, giving a lived-in and enduring look to your garden space. We advise sealing limestone pavers upon installation which will act as a protective barrier against water and any potential staining.
Large Grey Flagstone Pavers
A favourite for several reasons would be the Farrow Grey tumbled limestone paving. This flagstone paver features subtle tonal variations from dove grey through to soft anthracite with fossil details and warm hues blending effortlessly. Its timeless charm, durable nature, and ability to complement a range of garden styles make it the perfect option for patio slabs ideas – from a cottage garden to contemporary new build garden. Limestone with a ‘tumbled’ texture and finish also provides enough grip for outdoor areas, ensuring they are safe surfaces for those with young children or pets.
Honey Beige ‘Cotswold Style’ Limestone Pavers
Whether you live in the Cotswolds or simply want to create a Cotswold style natural stone patio, there are plenty of ‘honey beige’ limestones that will bring warmth and a rustic feel to a garden. Our top choices would be the Dijon tumbled limestone pavers which we have been importing for over 18 years - the mineral and fossil details evident in this stone, make it a forgiving choice for both interior and exterior applications, with soft beige tones. For a warmer, honey toned tile, the Tuscany seasoned limestone paving ticks the boxes with a grippier and textured ‘seasoned’ finish, as well as rich fossilisation resulting in a characterful and durable patio paver.
Sandstone Outdoor Tiles
Sandstone natural stone paving is a popular material used by landscapers for outdoor spaces, thanks to its tactile surface finish and soft buff shades, working beautifully in gardens next to planting, lawns, and hardscaping. This material is also often known as ‘Indian sandstone paving slabs’ - a versatile stone offering a traditional patio tile yet suiting more modern garden designs. Similarly to limestone paving, sandstone exterior tiles will also season and age overtime, giving a lived-in feel and enduring appearance for country gardens. We advise sealing sandstone pavers upon installation which will act as a protective barrier against water and any potential staining.
Buff Indian Sandstone Pavers
The Abbey time worn sandstone pavers are one of the best sandstone paving slabs showcasing delicate putty, buff tones and a unique ‘time worn’ finish, creating a smooth textured surface with subtle chiselled worn edges and the occasional riven tile. Stocked in a large 600 x FL (Free Length) x 20mm format, this can be laid as a random brick bond to minimise the look of grout joints and draw the eye to the beauty of the sandstone itself. The Abbey sandstone tile can also be used internally for kitchens and ground floors - achieving an ultimate indoor, outdoor flow.
Best Stone Effect Porcelain Patios
When it comes to the best stone effect porcelain for patios, the market can feel a little overcrowded! Porcelain is a man-made product that has seen significant advancements in the last few years. It is made of a combination of materials to form a clay that is then fired at an extremely high temperature – resulting in a strong and robust paver. All our porcelain slabs are sourced from Italy or Spain who are the leading manufacturers with state-of-the-art machinery using the highest quality porcelain clay. Some porcelain paving may be marketed as very cheap, but the quality of tile and realistic print may not match those of a premium outdoor porcelain paver. Stone effect porcelain is a wonderful choice being near enough stain resistant and will not lighten or fade in colour when used for exterior paving. Nearly all porcelains do not require sealing.
Tumbled Effect Porcelain Pavers
Porcelains with a ‘tumbled’ effect edge are increasingly popular options for those who want a maintenance free patio but still love the look of natural stone! These tumbled effect pavers are still rectified (manufactured to a precise tolerance in size, with straight edges) but with a worn edge to the top surface of the tile, so when grouted it gives the appearance of a tumbled stone.
If you are looking for rustic charm in patio slab ideas, then we would recommend the Provence Grigio stone effect porcelain or Dorchester Aged White porcelain. Both in an R11 ‘grip’ finish and 20mm thick, making them perfectly suitable for exterior applications with an anti-slip surface texture. Provence Grigio is a grey stone effect porcelain paver with variation from tile to tile and realistic markings that will emulate a country-style feel to your garden. The Dorchester Aged white is a beautifully creamy white paver with tumbled edging and a veining effect throughout the tiles to give a truly authentic look. Opt for the same matching internal porcelain tile for a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor!
Contemporary Porcelain Paving
For those wishing to create a more contemporary feel to their outdoor space, there are plenty of other porcelain prints and styles that are the best paving for patios with modern designs. Most stone effect pavers come in large format sizes of 800x800 or 900x600 - ‘rectified’ porcelain also allows for ultra-narrow grout joints which helps achieve a sleek appearance keeping the focus on the tiles themselves. Along with its stain resistant qualities, many ranges of porcelain also carry more consistency in colour and tone than real stone, which will really help add to the contemporary porcelain paving look!
White Limestone Effect Porcelain
The Tiverton White Pearl is a best paving slab for its limestone effect look but with clean rectified and straight cut edges. Showcasing soft off-white tones with realistic flecking, this consistent paving tile works wonderfully in our customers outdoor garden space with modern wood cladding. When choosing a grout colour, select one slightly lighter or the same colour of the stone to create a natural and continuous look from tile to tile.
Modern Square Stone Effect Slabs
The Arlington Light Mist stone effect patio slabs are also perfectly suited for contemporary porcelain paving ideas. In a large 800 x 800 square format, this paver has lovely flowing movement throughout with subtle quartzite-effect detailing in a neutral beige to cream tone. These modern square stone effect slabs complement perfectly with Cotswold stone gravel for edging or with the slabs as stepping stones.
Wood Look Outdoor Porcelain Tiles
An exclusive addition to Quorn Stone’s range and an outdoor tile that is becoming extremely popular is wood look or wood effect porcelain paving that can match indoor wood effect tiles. In comparison to real wood, once installed, wood effect porcelain does not warp, bow or fade in colour with time. Wood look outdoor paving is also in a grip ‘R11’ finish – offering a best patio wood tile that is non-slip, unlike traditional wood decking which can be very slippy in wetter conditions! The Brompton Oak wood effect porcelain planks is a beautiful warm oak plank with realistic wood grains and knots to create an authentic appearance but is scratch resistant and stain resistant.
What size should you choose for paving slabs?
Ultimately the decision is down to your own personal preference. We find larger format always look best whatever sized area your patio may be – majority paving slabs are 900x600, 800x800 or ‘Free Length’ formats of 500xFL or 600xFL. Large format paving slabs result in less grout joints and more emphasis on the tiles themselves. They are also great for the best coverage and least wastage as less cuts are needed for installation. Read more on our tile size guide here.
How do you clean patio tiles?
Limestone and porcelain patio tiles are simple to maintain and are very forgiving in nature. Part of the charm in limestone is that it will age and season, but there are still ways to clean your patio tiles and bring them back to their best – sweeping away leaves and debris, jet washing seasonally with a stone friendly cleaner and resealing every year are a few key tips. We also have a post on how to clean outdoor porcelain tiles which is helpful in cleaning your patio slabs.
Do you offer patio paving samples?
Yes, we do! A great starting point for any garden project is to order your complimentary patio paving samples. As well as visiting one of our UK tile showrooms to see large displays, we know seeing samples in your own space is a really helpful guide. Each sample is carefully packed by a member of our team and delivered straight to your door. You can order your samples on every product page using the ‘add free sample’ button – once you’ve finished your selection (up to 4 free samples), simply go to your shopping cart and check out by filling a few details.