Natural stone is a wonderful material for use both inside and outside of the home. A seamless look can be created by using natural stone tiles in the living room or kitchen/diner and out through patio or bi-fold doors into the garden, using the same tiles for both your stone flooring inside and paving outside.
But beautiful natural stone paving only stays beautiful with a bit of forethought and maintenance; because it is a natural material, it can act as an ideal surface for algae growth, particularly if your garden is North-facing, as, traditionally, these types of gardens do not get as much sunlight. However, this shouldn't put you off: natural stone is a durable, easy to maintain substance which will add beauty to any landscaping.
When choosing natural stone for a North-facing garden, it's important to think about the stone's density; a denser stone will mean that the stone is harder and therefore much less porous. Although all stone tiles are permeable, those which are harder are less absorbent of water and will therefore resist algae growth longer.
Some stone tiles you may wish to think about as options for a North-facing garden are those such as the Indian Sandstone ranges of Kandla Grey, Buff & Silver Buff & Raj Green, as these types of stone are hard-wearing and weather resistant, and are relatively inexpensive to buy and install.
Using an impregnating paving sealant is an excellent way of reducing algae growth in a North-facing garden, or, indeed, in any garden where natural stone is part of the landscaping. This will seal the stone's surface, which stops the algae from being able to establish itself and breed.
It is always recommended to take advice from stone experts, such as the friendly team at The Stone Gallery, before using a sealant, as certain sealants can have undesirable effects, including making your stone tiles shiny or glossy, which may not be the look you're trying to achieve. Certain types of stone tiles, such as Travertine, are also available in a filled and honed version, whereby their natural troughs and pitted holes are filled with a hard resin to make them more durable.
If algae does appear on your garden's stone tiles, don't worry: it may look ugly but it doesn't cause the stone any lasting damage, even in a North-facing garden. It's also easy to get rid of, and affected areas can be treated with simple supermarket bleach; diluted bleach should be applied to the natural stone, left for a few moments to get to work, and then washed away with clean water. Persevere with stubborn areas which may need a few treatments; the algae will come off eventually.
If you'd like to use stone tiles in your garden, speak to the experts at the Stone Gallery, part of the Art of Living triangle. Not only will we be able to advise on which stone will work best for your garden, but we'll also be able to help with interior natural stone, particularly if you're looking to create the infinity look both inside and outside of the home.
What's more, our colleagues at the Ceramic Tile Warehouse and Park Street Interiors are also based with the Art of Living group, so if you've got any further interior design needs, you need look no further. The Art of Living is on hand to help get both your home and garden looking great.