Paving ideas for traditional garden styles

Last time we looked at contemporary paving ideas but if modern really isn’t your thing and you want to create a more traditional feel for your garden, then the materials you use hold the main key to how your garden will look.


Traditional paving often has slightly rounded edges or a more intricate pattern.

Last time we discussed how using smooth paving with very straight edges creates a modern and contemporary feel, well the exact opposite is true if you’re looking for something traditional. The more lumpy and bumpy the edges of the materials, be it bricks or paving, the more traditional it will look.

There are many shades of traditional. There’s the very formal, right the way through to very rustic. Very formal gardens have a very geometric layout, so the materials you use will be in very rigid patterns to suit the formality of the garden.

More rustic garden styles can use the exact same materials, but because there is less structure to the garden, there isn’t the formality with the design shapes, then the randomness of the materials is what gives it the rustic feel along with the uneven surfaces.

The examples below show you what I mean. The same paving stones have been used in both gardens, but one has more a defined shape and the other a more rustic design style because of the uneven edges.


Same paving stones, first quite formal with defined edge. Second more rustic looking.

The wonderful thing about rustic and traditional styles of garden is that you can incorporate more things into the paving. Whilst I would still stick with no more than three different types of hard landscaping materials, like brick, stone and cobbles, you still want clarity in the design, you don’t want to go overboard and have too many different types of materials together.

So when I say you can add more things I mean feature areas within the paving, like mosaics made from cobbles. Or you could create a segment in the paving that’s a pattern of bricks.


Paving feature segments

There is a lot more freedom to be creative with the more rustic and traditional styles of garden design. The other advantage is the more rustic a look you are aiming for, the less you have to worry about how the materials will weather and age, because it will be part and parcel of the feel of the garden.

With contemporary schemes they look much better when they’re really perfectly clean, as soon as they start to weather and lose some of that crispness, they don’t look as good.

So if you’re not sure if you should go for a more traditional style of garden and can’t decide between that and a more modern feel, then take a look at the style of your property for guidance. The really old traditional style of house will always look better with traditional materials. That’s not to say you can’t have a more contemporary spin on it, but it is easier if you match the garden style with the house.

BUT do be warned, nice materials will NOT give you a stunning garden – you have to get the design layout right first. If you don’t know how to do that then…

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About Rachel Mathews

Professional international garden designer for over 20 years. My mission is to de-mystify garden design and make it easy for people to successfully design their own garden - without needing to spend a fortune!


  1. I like the circular designs a lot more than the other ones. If I were to put in a paved patio I would put in a circular pattern. Someone else would have to come up with the design, though, because I'm not artistic at all.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Dolores. I love a circular pattern too. If you have any garden design questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with me.

  3. I am so glad that I was able to find this! My wife and I just moved into a new home, and we want to add a patio and garden to our backyard. But, we wanted to make sure the patio layout looked very modern and elegant. I really like some of the styles that you posted about. The tile really looks great! I'll have to show this to my wife, and get her opinion on it. But I really think that this gave us a good idea on what we would like to have.

  4. I have been thinking baout paving my garden. I really like the styles you have pictured here. I will need to look into it. Thank you for the great ideas!

  5. Hi James,
    Thank you for your comment. I am glad you've enjoyed the post and it has been helpful to you. Good luck with your project 🙂 If any questions, please let us know.

  6. Thank you so much, Brandon. We are happy that you've enjoyed the post and its information has been useful to you. Congratulations on your move and good luck with designing your garden 🙂 If any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

  7. Thanks for your tips and idea about paving your garden. Growing up we used paving stones between our garden and our lawn so that there was a break that made mowing and trimming the lawn easier. I love how paving adds a touch of class to your backyard. Thanks for the tips.

  8. Rachel, I love the pictures of some of these backyards, it really makes me want to landscape my yard. The circular paved patio was one of my favorites. I love the free-form feel, it really blends well with the natural landscape surrounding it. I also really love the look of well placed pavers.

  9. Thank you for sharing these gorgeous designs. I am definitely a fan of the rustic style and I really want to incorporate that into my patio. The top picture on the far right has an unbelievably beautiful design. It reminds me of India.

  10. I think paved areas really offer a classic, or rustic look to any landscape. I really like the simplicity of square or rectangular pavement. It offers you a blank slate to design and add the rest of your personalty on it, in the form of patio furniture.

  11. I really love how many different options for paving there are! You talk about how just for the traditional there are many shades that range from formal to rustic. Having all of these many different options, though, definitely would make it easy to ensure that you're choosing a design that will enhance the aesthetics of your home and that you will be happy with!

  12. I like what you said about adding mosaics made from cobbles. My backyard needs a paved area to put some outdoor furniture. That sounds like a great way to get the paved area I need, and also add some decoration to my yard.

  13. I never realized so much went into making a patio look so great. I always thought that straight lines were the only way to go, but adding a curve or undefined edging gives it a whole different idea. My wife has been thinking of redoing our front yard, and she has been looking into it quite a bit. I guess I should help he get more ideas. I am wondering if this is only possible with paving stones, but also with more traditional concrete paving.

  14. These are some really great designs for traditional paving. My husband and I are planning to install a patio, and we want to find a style that matches our house. I love the idea of using cobbles to make a mosaic. I'll take your advice and limit the complexity to two colors.

  15. My husband and I are going to be landscaping our yard over the summer, so I'm happy that I found your post! I've been thinking about adding a paved concrete area to our yard, and I really liked the ideas you included in your post. I especially liked the picture of the more rustic looking paving stones. I think that paving stones like these would look great in our yard! I'm going to get in touch with some concrete pavers to talk about pricing right away. Thank you for posting!

  16. The pavement designs of those gardens are quite beautiful. Looking at them has me thinking of the work that my cousin is asking me to help out. Later today, he'll be coming over to my home with the supply tools for paving my driveway.

  17. Thanks for sharing, Rachel! I have to say that I am really loving the rustic, whimsical patio idea. For the past year or so, I've been obsessed with the shabby chic look, and I think that a loosely structured backyard would go really well with that! Plus, I imagine any irregularities in the landscaping materials would look a lot less noticeable when they're in a rustic setting.

  18. I love the creativeness that comes with paving. I definitely prefer the more traditional look, so these ideas are great for me. I think the rustic style is the best, because, like you said, you can put more things into the paving!

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