Slate chippings are a versatile aggregate that can be used in a variety of ways in the garden. If you’re feeling a little lost for inspiration, we have asked industry experts to share how they would use slate chippings in their own garden.
All of the responses we received we great and will hopefully provide you guys out there with some ideas on how best to utilise slate chippings in your own space!
Slate has special properties of a distinctive grey colour although blue and red are available, which is also slightly reflective. A slate chipping ‘mulch’ sends light back up to lighten shaded areas or beneath vegetation. It also absorbs heat and keeps gardens and indeed soil cooler in summer than other paving. Being pleasant to handle it can be a useful topping for containers of the right colour.
Its durability make it a good choice for permanent schemes and it interlocks, if a suitable grade is chosen, so it stays put and is comfortable to walk on.
It is chemically inert and won’t make the soil excessively alkaline which would damage lime-hating plants such as azaleas and camellia.
Slate chippings are ideal for small areas and can be used to produce a simple but effective garden. For example, a Japanese Maple and some low ground covering plants boxed off with some chippings will look great.
Further to this, slate chippings perform a variety of useful garden tasks, whatever the scale. For example, they will reduce weed germination which makes for an easier life in the garden. They also help water retention of the soil, which may be particularly useful if you are gardening in a restricted space and using containers.
They also look amazing when positioned up against plant foliage and stems and look incredible after a shower of rain but that’s just my opinion! Sustainable sources of slate chippings should always be a priority. So find out where to source them, pick your colour and enjoy!
Slate chippings are as attractive as they are low-maintenance and, when used in the right way, they create a spectacular effect in any garden or yard.
If you would like a low maintenance border or path, create a groundcover of slate chippings. This will serve as the perfect canvas for both formal and informal flower arrangements, and looks particularly good as the basis of a rockery. Adding larger stones and water features to a slate-covered border is a great way of adding visual depth to your garden.
As slate is available in the cool tones of grey or blue, it makes the perfect backdrop to a border filled with white, blue, and purple flowers. You can also brighten this colour scheme by interspersing it with yellow and orange flowers for a stunning effect.
No matter how you choose to use slate chippings in your garden, it’s important to dig over the area you’re going to overlay and then cover it in a weed-suppressing membrane, which you should secure to the ground with pegs. Plant your chosen flowers where you want them, cutting the membrane to gain access to the soil and then carefully folding it back to create a tight seal around each plant. You should finally spread your slate chippings across the border.
I enjoy growing dwarf conifers and the smaller variety of slate chippings make a perfect top dressing against the earthy tones of their ceramic pots. Using the chippings as a top dressing helps retain soil moisture for longer meaning that I don’t need to water them as much and also suppresses weeds.
I’ve also used the larger, blue slate chippings as a hard landscaping feature to suggest a flowing stream and pond in an oriental garden design. Flanked by smooth, river washed pebbles and rocks, “the river of slate” allowed me to overcome a design restriction which prevented the use of water.
I love using slate chippings on garden containers for a really polished look. Dressing the top of the compost with slate chippings really showcases the plants, and keeps everything neat by stopping compost splashing back onto the leaves during watering. You get some practical benefits too; a layer of slate chippings helps to retain moisture and prevent weeds growing.
Slate chippings can really enhance your garden in a number of ways from transforming a dingy backyard to helping you create attractive focal points. It also has the added attraction of providing security for the house. They can be used in almost all garden styles; traditional gardens, minimalist, Japanese, water gardens, around free-standing water features or as a decorative topping for containers.
The most obvious use for them is as a path or driveway. Just remember to edge the path with discreet plastic edging or decorative brick. This stops the soil from lawns and beds seeping into the chippings and providing a medium in which weeds could grow. Preparing your base thoroughly will ensure that it will last for years. Take off some of the soil then put in a layer of small bore hard core, really it pack it down well then cover with a heavy duty weed-proof membrane. This lets the water through but stops weeds from germinating. Don’t be tempted to use black plastic or bin liners as they will degrade after a few years. Plastic is also impermeable so water will pool on the path or drive. If you are planning to put the chippings onto a slope use the sheets of hexagonal cells; this will stop the stone from washing into a pile at the bottom of the slope. A chipping drive can be softened by planting through the membrane into a pocket of compost. Choose an area away from where you park the car and go for small, compact low growing plants, such as thyme or raoulia.
Chippings make a tremendous contribution to any garden adding extra interest and making your life so much easier, creating low maintenance areas by cutting down on watering and weeding.
I am thinking of using them as a decorative mulch around slow growing plants in my Japanese-style flowerbed. Chippings are attractive and importantly will help to keep weeds out of the gaps between plants far better than gravels do.