Blog and frequently asked questions

Building and landscaping jargon

“Jargon: special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult to other to understand.”

We all experience this at times.  Usually when we start to research or learn something new. Words and expressions, nick names and slang can be confusing and make thing unclear.

We have broken down the most common (and some uncommon) jargon and slang found in the service we provide.

Muck: Mortar:  a sand and cement mix used to lay bricks and paving slabs.

Bed: mortar laid out for a brick or slab to be ‘bedded’ on

Mot type one or Sub base:   A popular type of base used for roads, driveways, paths and patios.  It consists of limestone, gritstone or basalt crushed 40mm down to dust to create small particles easy to compact.  Mot stands for ministry of transport  or Department of transport as its specified for highway works

Slurry: A semi liquid suspended in water. We use a cement-based slurry primer between paving and mortar bed that acts as a ‘glue’ to bond or increase the bond strength of the paving to the bed.  This is always used when installing porcelain paving and other low porosity stone such as Granite or Slate.  We also use this on sandstone.  This delamination / slabs becoming loose over time.

Paving delamination: Separation between Paving and paving bed resulting in loose slabs and joints.  As water gets between slab and bed freeze / thaw the problem can be exacerbated.

Building sand / soft sand: Grains of builder’s sand range from roughly 1.5mm to 2mm in size. Used for bricklaying and pointing and other applications where workability and a smooth finish is required. Like all aggregates it can vary in colour depending on where it is sourced from and clay content which helps to it its workability.  Builders sand can vary from light grey to yellow / orange / red hue.  This can be an issue when matching existing mortar.

Sharp sand / grit sand: Consists of larger partials ranging roughly from 0.6mm to 0.4mm. Used for stronger mortar mixes such as paving / patio beds, block paving beds, floor screed.  As above its can vary in colour and workability depending on its clay content and source.

Ballast: A mixture of sharp sand and 10-20mm stones.  Used for concrete mixes such as foundations, path and kerb edges, bases, driveways, subbases.     As above it can vary in colour and workability depending on its clay content and source.

Cement: A fine sort powder used as a binder that hardens after a chemical reaction when in contact with water.  Its is made from limestone, clay, iron, gypsum and heat.

Gypsum: A soft mineral used as the main constitute in plaster, plaster board and cement.  It is the main retarding agent of cement and plaster controlling the setting / hardening rate.

Ground / paving fall: The slope across the ground / paving that allows surface water to drain / run off the surface. For private and domestic applications rather than commercial applications a 1:60 fall will be sufficient.  IT may require more if the surface is heavily rivened to prevent water accumulating.  Smooth paving such as porcelain will require less of a fall at around 1:80. As an example a 6-meter-long patio with a fall of 1:60 will have a total fall of 100mm from one end to the other.  A fall of 1:80 will give a fall of 75mm.  Determining the fall is very important when setting out the area to be paved and considering drainage and surrounding ground levels.



Types of paving slabs - pros and cons

  • Natural Stone

There are many different types of natural stone to choose from all with their own unique features. Just the fact that its been created over 1000’s of years makes it a special material to work with.  The main types of natural stone used for paving are Sandstone, Limestone, Slate and granite.


  • Unique character, colour and finish.
  • Ages well / weathers well.
  • More frost resistant than some concrete paving.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Some types are easy  to work with.
  • More  environmentally friendly to quarry than producing concrete.


  • Natural variations in colour / imperfections
  • Can fade when not looked after.
  • Some natural stone has a limited colour pallet.
  • Potential acid damage to some types of stone.
  • Some types are hard to work with.

How to plan for your landscaping project

January 25, 2023

Landscaping can be a daunting task, whether you are planning a major renovation or simply updating certain areas of your property. Proper preparation
is essential for a successful project that meets your expectations and adds value to your property. In this article, we will provide you with valuable tips on how to prepare for a landscaping project on your property.

1. Define Your Goals

Before embarking on a landscaping project, it is important to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Take time to assess your needs, evaluate
your property, and determine what goals you want to achieve. I have worked with clients who are not sure where to start and what options they have.  We can help to advise and give various options to fit any budget.  On the other hand some clients know exactly what they want.  Make a list of must-haves, as well as the type of landscaping you would like to include in your design.  Start with the main focal point of the garden and work from there.

2. Consider Your Budget

Your budget will play a significant role in the scope, complexity, and range of landscaping plans you can undertake. Be realistic about how much you can afford to spend and explore what elements of landscaping are most important to you or add value to your property. You can allocate more funds for projects that yield high returns on investment, such as decks or patios.  Landscaping costs can be high when excavation, soil removal and ground works and concrete / masonry structures are involved.

3. Research and Gather Inspiration

Gather landscaping ideas and inspiration from home magazines, online resources, landscaping brochures and social media platforms. Research the different types of plants, paving, and other landscaping features to help narrow down your design plans. Visiting plant nurseries, garden centers, and landscaping companies can also provide useful insights into what will work best in your area.  Get a pen and paper out and get some rough plans on paper!

4. Consult with Professionals

Consulting with landscaping professionals that can provide you with valuable insights into what works best for your property, the type of plants that thrive in your area, and tips on designing your space. They can examine the soil, evaluate the slope and drainage of your property which is particularly important when considering a paved area.  We can make recommendations that are tailor-made to your needs.

5. Prepare Your Property

Before beginning any landscaping project, prepare your property by de-cluttering, clearing out any debris, and taking necessary safety measures. Clearing and garden furniture, pots etc. This will help the contractor get a good swift start on day one!  Also make sure that the contractor is aware of any potential pet escapes from the garden will working! Be sure to disconnect any underground utility lines or other electrical obstacles or let the contractor know if you suspect there are any electrical cables or irrigation pipes that may get disturbed . Evaluate your site’s soil and make sure it is in good condition for planting your new trees and other vegetation.

6. Develop a Timeline

Develop a timeline for your landscaping project and set realistic expectations for the execution. While some landscaping work can be completed within weeks or months, other projects may require more time. Factor in unexpected setbacks or delays, such as weather conditions, delays with materials, sub contractors and changes to spec before setting a timeline.  If you want a garden renovated ready for spring or summer, start planning in the winter and get a contractor booked in well in advanced to avoid disappointment!


In conclusion, preparing for a landscaping project on your property can take various levels of time, effort, and careful planning depending on size. By defining your goals, considering your budget, researching and gathering inspiration, consulting with professionals, preparing your property, and developing a timeline, you can ensure that your landscaping project comes out beautifully and adds value to your property.

How to care for a new lawn
April 2023

If you’ve recently had new turf laid in your garden you will need to take some additional measures to ensure your turf remains healthy and continually grows into a lush carpet of grass.
Here are some essential tips to help you care for your newly laid lawn:
1. Watering
Watering is crucial for new grass turf lawns, and you must ensure they remain moist. During the first two weeks, water twice a day to keep the soil moist but avoid waterlogged soil. Once your grass is established, reduce watering to once a day, and be sure to water early in the morning or late in the evening.

2. Mowing
It is essential not to mow your turf for the first few weeks to enable your new grass to establish roots. Once the grass has achieved a height suitable for mowing, trim it down to approximately half its length. Ensure you use a sharp mower blade to avoid ripping the grass and promote healthy growth.  And don’t let it grow to long once established!
3. Feeding
Grass turf needs fertilizer to grow well. Feed your lawn immediately after installation and after around 6 weeks using a fertilizer suitable for new turf. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid nourishing your turf with too much fertilizer as this could cause damage.
4. Protection
Protect your grass turf lawn from high traffic for at least a month to enable the roots to set into the soil. Avoid driving heavy equipment or allowing pets to run and play on the lawn for the first few weeks to prevent the grass from tearing away from the roots.
5. Weed Control
Weeds can easily invade your new grass turf lawn and stunt its growth. Remove handpicked weed by hand, and reapply herbicides only after six or eight weeks following turf installation.
6. Aerating
You can aerate your lawn by poking holes into the soil to enable airflow and water to penetrate to the roots. Only aerate your lawn after four or six months of establishment.
 You might face challenges such as weed invasion, poor growth, or drying, but you can always rectify this with proper care. Use these tips as a guide to ensure a lush green lawn all year round.

Why does Porcelain paving cost more to install than natural stone and concrete paving?

When it comes to outdoor, paving options, homeowners and landscapers have an array of choices, including natural stone, concrete, and porcelain paving. While porcelain paving boasts several remarkable benefits, it is important to acknowledge that it tends to come with a higher installation cost compared to its counterparts. In this blog post, we unravel the reasons behind the higher price tag of porcelain paving installation and explore why the initial elevated cost is a worthwhile investment for your outdoor space.

The quality and manufacturing process of porcelain paving play a significant role in determining its higher installation cost. Porcelain is a form of ceramic that is made using refined clay, minerals, and other carefully selected materials. The manufacturing process involves pressing, firing, and glazing, resulting in a highly dense and hard-wearing material. This complex process contributes to the elevated cost of porcelain paving compared to the simpler manufacturing techniques used for natural stone or concrete. However to date the cost to supply porcelain compared to some concrete and natural stone paving is similar ranging from as little as £20 per m2 to £100+ per m2.

Porcelain paving requires precise cutting equipment and shaping during installation due to its less forgiving nature. It demands specialized equipment, such as diamond-tipped blades, a large format tile cutter and water-cooling systems to prevent heat damage. The precise cutting also allows for intricate designs and clean edges. This additional equipment and attention to detail and time it takes the measure and cut precisely increase the cost of the installation process. Also any breakages and chips on the tiles surface when cutting will also increase the time to install as they will need to be discarded and re cut.

Porcelain paving is typically slimmer and lighter than natural stone or concrete. This reduced thickness aids in its versatility and ease of handling but necessitates more preparatory work during installation. The bedding mortar underneath the surface must be perfectly levelled to support the thinner porcelain tiles adequately.  As porcelain is non-porous its completely impermeable and will not bond at all with bedding mortar a priming slurry must be applied the underside of the paving to paving when laying.   The additional steps involved in ensuring a stable and even foundation add to the overall installation cost.

Despite the higher upfront cost, porcelain paving offers exceptional durability and longevity. It is highly resistant to cracking, fading, staining, and weathering, easy to clean, making it an attractive option for outdoor spaces. With minimal maintenance requirements, porcelain paving often proves to be a more cost-effective choice in the long run, even if the initial installation cost is higher compared to natural stone or concrete.

Porcelain paving presents an impressive range of designs, colours, textures, and patterns, surpassing the choices available with natural stone or concrete. The extensive aesthetic options allow homeowners to create unique and visually captivating outdoor spaces with different layouts, spacing and contrasts. Grout can be used to blend or contrast the layout.  The options are vast. The increased price reflects the innovation, research, and development invested in producing such a diverse range of contemporary designs.