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Slate chipping as a cheap patio

I just removed a huge concrete slab in my garden and want to replace it with a cheap and natural looking material. I need to be able to put furniture on it.

I allready have some slate chippings / slate mulch for a path and it seems fairly stable.  But I never see it recommended as a patio material.  Had anyone had luck with putting a chair and table on this or any other loose material?

Im keen to avoid the time and cost of laying a 'hard' patio if I can. 




  • TigrahTigrah Posts: 125

    I actually have my seating area on stones - those half ugly golden ones everyone uses for their drives - that came with the property, as I refrain from spending to much on hard landscaping whilst I'm still renting. If you have the correct furniture that will be stable enough (wide feet) then it should be okay. It's not as hassle free as level paving or decking, though. Can be a bit annoying moving your seat to get in and out, etc.

    Honestly, I wouldn't really recommend it, per se. But it can get the job done if you're willing to live with it.

    Last edited: 10 February 2017 22:48:50

  • Beaus MumBeaus Mum Posts: 3,550

    I agree re pea shingle and slate Not being stable. What about stone chippings? We used on drive last year over a base of old pea shingle and has been great so far and we have big heavy car on it as well

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,980

    I wouldn't put gravel of any kind - and I'm including slate - on top of concrete or any paving. They'll move.

    Gravel needs to be on a more forgiving base. Either directly onto soil, if it's firm enough, or over a membrane of some kind to stop it all disappearing image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,907

    I used to have a gravel area as a patio. It's OK for the chairs and table, but I wouldn't have it again. The worst thing is the gravel/chippings stick to your shoes (and dog paws here) and end up in the house. You could try decorative bark over a membrane as a softer alternative (if you have a dog, don't get the cocoa bark ones lots of GCs sell - it's very toxic to them) but I have no doubt you'll also have a thin carpet of it in your house before long.

    I'd go for cheap paving from the local builder's merchants, possibly with gravel round the edge if the space is bigger than you can afford to pave (with potted plants to discourage people walking on the gravel bits). Or a smaller patio and more plants in a border around it, for preference. You can always expand it outwards slowly over time as money allows. And you can inter-plant the slabs around the edges with thyme and other creeping plants to soften it, to make it more natural. looking,

    Last edited: 11 February 2017 09:19:18

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • Thanks for the feedback everyone, I think I will have a serious rethink and maybe put paving down. The concrete base itself isn't a problem as I intend to remove it all, but if I it will be annoying having table and chairs on the slate then it won't work!



  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645

    The concrete base would surely make a sound foundation for some paving slabs fixed with concrete.   You can probably find some slabs on freecycle or at a reclamation yard.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • I just loomed into paving it. but it's a lot of extra hassle. Its not just the work of laying it, I also live in a maisionette so there is no permitted development. I'd possibly need freeholder permission if it is counted as a 'building or errection', and would certainly also need planning permission.

    Whereas I feel a soft option such as the slate chippings probably won't be caught by either the lease or planning so I can just get on and put it down.

    I did do a bit more experimentation with the slate chippings. Because they are big and flat theyou do seem to  be very stable on the area where I allready removed the slab (bare earth). They also don't get picked up in shoes as they are big (I think 4 cm average size).

    But they won't be great for furniture and I think putting them on the existing concrete area is probably a no no based on the feedback above.

    Right now I am leaning towards using 40mm slate chippings I'm the bare earth area with a bistro set or picnic bench, and getting some planting down for spring. Then at a later date pave or deck the existing concrete slab properly.

    Thanks again all!

    Last edited: 12 February 2017 10:01:11

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    A bench set would be far more stable on slate clippings than a table and chairs so I would go for that. If you did want table and chairs I would put full slates under the table legs. Would still have a problem with wobbly chairs though.

    You might get away with your building regs if you just laid some slabs round the table/chair area on a bed of hard packed earth. They would then be deemed temporary as they are not concreted in/on.

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,980

    If you're removing the concrete, then the world is your 'lobster'  image

    I'd agree with hogweed about the bench. Mine is on a gravelled area as I'm not spending the money on paving - I don't intend staying here long term,  and I've spent enough already. Gravel is also a much simpler and cheaper option for you to do yourself. 

    If you want to do paving at a later date, the area's virtually all prepped and ready to go image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645

    Don't lay chippings of any sort directly on bare earth.  lay a sheet of weed-proofing membrane first.  It will stop the chippings working into the earth and make them last longer and also more stable.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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