If you do choose to pave, go for permeable products that allow rainwater into the ground below. Here are just some of the materials available. However, do visit your local builders’ merchants or DIY store as you may find more options.
Gravel is by far the cheapest permeable hard-landscaping option. It comes in many colours, depending on where it was quarried, and can be bought in bags or by the tonne. You can also buy recycled products, such as eco-aggregates, which include by-products of the ceramics industry.
Cost: Gravel and aggregate prices start at just £3.75 per sq m (inc delivery), and locally quarried materials are usually the most inexpensive.
These bricks have the appearance of traditional block paving, but their interlocking shape ensures rainwater can penetrate the tiny gaps. They need to be installed correctly on to compacted aggregate so the water can drain away freely.
Cost: Priora pavers are available from Marshalls and cost from £16 per sq m. Aquaflow Permeable Paving is available from Formpave, from £18 per sq m.
This compares favourably with products of similar quality, such as Marshalls Tegula Pavers which cost about £16.50 per sq m.
Also known as cellular paving, these hexagonal cells are made from recycled plastic and hold an aggregate of your choice, such as resin-bonded gravel. They usually come in green, although other shades are available. Just lay them according to the manufacturers’ instructions, so that rainwater drains away thoroughly.
Cost: Try Hebden X-Grid from Ecopaver, which is priced at around £10 per sq m (excluding VAT and delivery).
There is a range of products that can be used to reinforce grass. These make the surface suitable for driving vehicles over and prevent it turning into a muddy field. Grassguard from Marshalls is made from concrete (above), but there are tough plastic versions too, such as Netpave from Netlon.
Cost: Grassguard £22 per sq m; Netpave £16.50 per sq m (including delivery).
PLEASE NOTE: the prices are an approximate guide and may vary from area to area and between products.