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Today is the 25th of November, which means that it’s precisely one month until Christmas day. If you haven’t already starting planning for the big day, it’s high time you started!

There’s plenty to do, of course. You’ll need to sort out the food, the decorations, and – if your relatives are coming to stay – the extra sleeping space. And then there’s the shopping; people will be expecting presents on Christmas morning, and you can’t let them down!

But what about the part after the shopping - where does your family congregate when it’s time to open the presents? In the living room, perhaps? Or maybe you exchange gifts in the dining room, after you’ve polished off Christmas dinner?

How about in the garden? If you’re lucky enough to have a gazebo or some other kind of sheltered area out the back, there’s a feast of festive fun just waiting to unfold in your outdoor space!  You’ll have to wrap up warm, obviously, but spending Christmas Day in your own personal winter wonderland can be a brilliant alternative to the usual practice of lounging around in front of the TV. Christmas trees look great outdoors, and keeping it out the back is a great way to prevent those pesky pine needles from cluttering up your carpet. Put the tree up where it’s safe from the elements, arrange the presents underneath it, and add some decorations to create your very own cosy Christmas grotto!

The problem, naturally, is that traditions die hard and that goes treble for Christmas traditions. If you’ve got a big routine that you follow every time the 25th of December rolls around – wake up, open presents, have lunch, spend the rest  of the day playing with presents/watching Christmas television/getting tipsy – then you might find it hard to loosen up and squeeze some garden time into your schedule. But the beauty of this idea is that you don’t have to make time – you could open your presents in the garden, have some hot mulled wine and a mince pie outside, and then retreat indoors for  business as usual from there on out. The warm glow of TV will feel even nicer when you’ve been outside in the cold immediately beforehand.

Garden in the snow

Photo by Lee Jordan

Oh, and just to make that Yuletide scene even more picturesque, there’s a real possibility that it will come with a layer of white icing on top. There’s a 20% likelihood of snowfall this Christmas – higher if you live north of Yorkshire - which means that you’ve got a 1 in 5 chance of having some fresh white powder to shuffle through en route to your Christmas grotto. Just imagine how good your patio will look: present-pregnant Christmas tree at the centre, colourful lights and tinsel strewn about the place, and snow all around it. How idyllic does that sound?

Christmas in the living room is fine, but Christmas in the garden could be truly magical. Give it a try, see how you like it, and if it’s not for you, you can always grab the presents, scurry inside, and enjoy the sight of your gorgeous garden through a window while sat in the relative warmth of your house. That won’t happen, though; do it right, and you’ll still be out in the back yard by Boxing Day!

So break with tradition and do something different this December. Tell your family that they’ll be opening their Christmas presents in the back garden this year, and cross your fingers for some snow to frolic in afterwards.

Our thick Out 2.0 paving slabs in action

When it comes to outdoor paving products, the general rule of thumb is as follows:

The thicker, the better!

Some consumers are happy to purchase relatively thin paving slabs – after all, they’re cheaper, and they don’t look all that different once they’re laid. What’s the problem?

The problem lies beneath the surface. Thick paving slabs can bear heavy loads without showing the strain; they can stand up to reasonably high levels of foot traffic; they can stay strong in the face of wear and tear for years on end. Thin paving slabs...can’t.

Our 20mm porcelain paving is the thickest porcelain product available. It is sturdier, more robust, and longer-lasting than the competition, meaning that your outdoor space will stay beautiful for longer.

Oh, and one other thing: the superior thickness of Out 2.0 paving allows it to be installed without mortar, cement, or adhesives of any kind. We use a revolutionary pedestal support system that makes laying your paving slabs a quicker, easier task than ever before.

So, to sum up...

Thick paving slabs are better because:

  • They can handle heavier loads
  • They are less likely to be damaged by large of volumes of foot traffic
  • They will last longer in the average outdoor space
  • They can be dry-installed

Thin paving slabs simply can't compete! Order your Out 2.0 paving sample today.

Composite decking and porcelain paving, side by side

Decking and paving: two quality outdoor surfaces, two equally excellent options. Since we have experience of both, we are often asked which of the two materials is better for the garden.

As with most decisions like this, there isn't a single, objective answer that we can give. Both choices have their unique merits, and at the end of the day, it mostly comes down to preference.

With this in mind, one good approach to this decision is to think about what kind of effect you want from the finished project. Generally speaking, a paved area lends itself to a smooth, contemporary style, while the natural-looking wooden boards are better for the more traditional outdoor space.

Limestone champagne garden paving

Of course, there are exceptions; some deck products are designed to look rather modern, and certain paving slabs boast a timeless, classical air. The best thing to do is as follows: decide what you want from your outdoor space, consider how you would like it to look and feel, and proceed from there, investigating as many different colours and designs as possible to ensure that you get the right one.

Now, some people might tell you that there is a clear-cut winner in this battle. They might say that paving is better because timber boards need loads of maintenance; conversely, they might argue that paving should be avoided because it's difficult to install. But, in truth, very few of these factors present a problem nowadays.

Composite wood decking and porcelain paving are both very durable, very easy to manage, and most importantly, very low-maintenance. Furthermore, neither product is decisively dearer; you’ll find a mix of cheap, low-quality products and more expensive high-end items in both markets. Whether you’re shopping for paving slabs or deck boards, you’ll get what you pay for.

Garden decking, assorted colours

This is good news. With those mitigating factors all but eliminated, you are free to forget about the specifications and concentrate on the design you want for your dream outdoor space. With no maintenance to worry about and very little difference in price or performance, decking and paving are both brilliant choices for the garden, and it’s entirely up to you which is better for your project.

Of course, you could always just do what Lee from Cardiff did and use them both!

Great ideas from GreensquaresGreensquares
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