Garden Design – Best Ground Surface Ideas For Your Garden

Ideas for Ground Areas in Gardens

Patio Area

Perfect for dining outside on a an outdoor dining table and chairs. Sit securely on string and durable slabs. A beautiful and neat patio area can really set off the garden line the edges with pots of a pretty fence and you can create a segregated and private area that wont get muddy or messy easily. It is also great to have a patio that is gated off from the rest of the garden if you have a dog. This means they can still go outside at any time of year and not come back into the house with muddy and soaking wet paws!

Grass Area

Big garden lawn
A Big Garden Lawn!

Great to relax ad play on, set up a sprinkle in the summer months to keep you lawn in tip top condition. The best thing about grass is that it is brightens up the garden and provides a base for so many outdoor activities. No garden would be complete without even just a little grass. 

You can even by artificial grass now, and the technology is ever improving, making it look and feel more like real grass all the time.

The only downside is that a grass area requires more maintenance and upkeep – cutting regularly and sometimes weeding and feeding. 


There are a huge number of ways to cover the ground in your garden. One of the most obvious choices being gravel. It comes in hundreds of different styles and sizes. The cheapest gravel is around £40 per 1 tonne bag and it is a mixed size and colour style. It resembles the look of a pebble beach with greys, whites and browns and the odd purple hint. 

Gravel is a great versatile material to use in your garden, if you apply a good layer of weed stopping fabric, you will have the gravel looking tip top for a very long time. It tends to be more expensive than other options but in the long run, with the longevity and lack of maintenance needed, it pays for itself. 

The benefits of large gravel are that its more sturdy, particularly if you are needed to park a car on the gravel or place other heavy objects on it. 

It also looks better, more defined and you can get a greater variety of styles, from recycled glass gravel to white gravel to pebbles, to slate.

The downside is that these are usually more expensive and require more hard work. Also, it takes a lot more gravel to cover the same amount of area if you want a good layer of coverage. Because each stone is quite large, it creates gaps where the gravel sits on top of each other. If you have black weed stopper fabric below the gravel it may be visible unless you have a thick layer of gravel.

Also, even the tiniest gaps between the gravel pieces allow light to get in, making it much easier for weeds to grow!

Gravel in a big garden
Beautiful Gravel Garden!

The small gravel is often called pea gravel and each piece is around the size of a pea.

Small gravel, like pea gravel has it advantages and disadvantages too. 

On the plus side, it is easier to spread as it is lighter and smaller, this also means that it covers more ground quickly and you can get away with a thinner spread of gravel to achieve even coverage. (Than if you used large gravel.)

This type of small gravel is more noisy than large gravel when you are walking on it. It is impossible to walk ow without the crunching sounds. On one hand this is good for safety, you can hear anyone walking around outside before you see them. On the other hand, it can be annoying to hear the constant sound of gravel under your feet and it moves around more meaning you might have to sweep it back into place. 

Whichever gravel you choose just be sure to do some epic weed killing first. Otherwise they will find their way up through the gravel no matter how thick it is. The black fabric is best because it still allows moisture to soak through, you are not going to create drainage problems by using this underneath your gravel. If you can, apply it with double thickness, the friction on the fabric from the gravel over time can wear the fabric out creating patches. Better to future proof by applying a double layer of fabric now sooner than later!


This is an unusual look for the garden and can have a great natural look and texture. It doesn’t last as long as gravel or other substrates as the sun can make it fade and it becomes dry and dull. For shaded areas, the wood chip / bark is ideal and will stay better looking for longer. Just beware that the wood chip if often really smelly for a few days after being put down fresh. You probably down want to put fresh back chipping down and then invite your family or friends around for a bbq!


The timeless classic, ever popular and sought after, so popular for dining and relaxing areas. It creates a raised platform off the ground, adding height and a unique look to your garden.

The downside to decking is that is can become very expensive and then you need a professional to install it. It can also become slippery when wet, so it is a good idea to have to extra grip added to the surface.

Crazy paving

Garden paving
Paving in a large garden


This term can be used very broadly, describing everything from tradition crazy paving that creates a free flowing pattern across the garden. Or you can be creative and smash up your own slabs to create your own shapes. You could also add other elements that are not slabs as such. Incorporating a cobbled effect with raised or textured elements. It takes a bit of work to get the crazy paving installed and level but once it is established, quickly become part of the look of your garden.