The selection of landscaping materials is one of the keys to implementing a successful and interesting design. The choices that clients have these days is quite bewildering! The industry is spoiled for choice when it comes to landscaping materials.

But understanding the difference between the various options on offer is fundamental in choosing a material that will both stand the test of time, weather well with-out degrading, and not look out of fashion in five years time. 

There has certainly been a real change in attitude in recent years as homeowners have become far more discerning and are now seeking landscaping materials which are practical and low maintenance, well priced and environmentally friendly. Manufacturers have risen to these challenges, and there have been some exciting developments in the range of materials for gardens now available. 

Meeting the demand for ‘low (er) maintenance.’

The design team here at Pehrsson Scott have many years of choosing and selecting from a range of materials which will perform well, look good, complement the design and add interest. We carefully consider each material based on a number of factors and only recommend a handful with each of our designs. We understand what works well and what does not. We are happy to advise and discuss the merits and suitability of different materials. It’s not always about cost and aesthetics but factors such as the context of the site as well as various environmental factors which will determine the suitability of a particular set of materials. Through designing and creating outdoor spaces for a number of years, we have been able to review many of the newer materials which have come to the market to ensure that they are durable and will weather as expected so that your bespoke new outdoor space or garden space will continue to look great for many years to come.

Introducing new types of decking

When we think about the biggest material fads in British gardens over the years, the one which always springs to mind is decking. Now decking can be fantastic, but it is important to locate any natural timber deck in areas which will receive sunshine for most of the day. Over the years decking as got a bit of a bad reputation and some of the materials have not been correctly used or designed have led to many awful decked areas and opinions of it. Love it or hate it, a decked area can offer a perfect space in your garden for relaxing or enjoying al fresco meals. Incorrect timber deck selection sited in the wrong area or context will result in eventual failure of the deck through decay, rot and lack of regular maintenance. 

While we still think there are some fabulous hardwoods out there for decking which are relatively cost-effective we have, in recent years designed and specified composite decking in various projects. Composite boards are an innovative product that, unlike wood, is anti-slip and resistant to the suns UV light, rain and cold, thereby avoiding the rotting and fading that afflicts wood. Whilst essentially being made out plastic it does have pretty decent environmental credentials as well. It can be easily maintained with just a wash now and again and is used in both residential and commercial applications. There are a number of leading manufacturers and suppliers to choose from but it is considered a premium product and this is often reflected in its price. 

Steel – classic and contemporary 

Over the years, steel has played many different roles in the modern garden. From ornamental sculpture to raised steel edging and weather steel planting beds, there is a multitude of different applications for this hugely durable, versatile and cost-effective material. Weathering steel also referred to as trademarked Cor-ten is a high strength, low alloy, weldable structural steel possessing excellent weathering resistance. The steel produces a protective oxide which essentially seals the surface against future erosion and ensures it is virtually maintenance-free. Again, as with all materials, the context of the site, where and what its intended application is very important in deciding whether this is a suitable material for your project. With an array of finishes and thicknesses available, it will certainly enhance any project when used correctly.

Porcelain paving – a stylish addition 

The choice and quality of stone has also been dramatically improved with the introduction of porcelain. Whilst this is not by any means a new product, the cost of it has come down dramatically in recent years. Its main advantage is that it has a very low porosity, virtually zero and is fired at such a high temperature it is very dense. This means that, unlike softer stones such as sandstone, it will not absorb and discolour over the winter and if it does end up looking a bit green it is much easier to clean and will maintain its original appearance for longer than most natural stones. It can be harder to work with and less forgiving as it is prone to chipping when not cut correctly but we are finding ourselves using it more and more. If you put porcelain into any search engine these days you will have thousands of options, patterns and colours.

With more exciting trends in 2020 

Designs for gardens and outdoor spaces are continually evolving, and here at Pehrsson Scott, our fingers are always on the pulse of what is new, what is evolving and what is looked back on now as a fad. Whatever thoughts and ideas you have for creating an exciting, stylish, outdoor space, we will use the best of what’s on the market, to make help realise your gardens potential.

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