Stunning new café and patio area at Oxford Garden Centre installed by AWBS Landscaping

24 May 2019

Earlier this year, we embarked on a big project as part of the AWBS Group’s development of Oxford Garden Centre. To allow even more customers to enjoy the outside seating area at the café, we installed a large extension to the space, encompassing stunning products, to create a gorgeous place to relax.

New cafe and patio area in Oxford garden centre

Already a hugely popular café, the project involved expanding the capacity to create a large, terraced patio area, with flowerbeds. The café patio can now seat over 20 customers, in a bright, airy, colourful space, which showcases a wide variety of the fabulous products available through AWBS, including Digby Porcelain Paving and Pavestone Porcelain paving.

Oxford Garden Centre café patio project challenges

Patio terrace extension project in Oxford cafe

Adrian White, AWBS owner, commissioned a landscaping designer and then our team set to work with the installation. The biggest challenge we had to overcome was the natural slope that the garden centre sits on, which meant we had to terrace the patio, while also considering controlling and draining rain water. We also had to incorporate the project into the existing area, while maintaining access from the café and to other areas of Oxford Garden Centre. Another major consideration was health and safety, as the garden centre was fully operational during the work, so we had to cordon off the area with marked walkways for customers to continue to have full access to the other areas.

Access for machinery was also restricted, due to the layout of the garden centre and the location of the new patio. As only small machines could get to the site, we had to move much of the waste and new materials by hand. However, always up for a challenge and finding flexible ways to work, this didn’t phase our team!

The patio installation

Outdoor porcelain paving slabs in Oxford Garden Centre

Before we could start the new patio installation we had to clean the land and create the terraced levels to accommodate the sloping site. Once this was done, we could then build the walls, steps and install the paving. The products chosen for the project included outdoor porcelain paving slabs and porcelain wall cladding – which is a new product now available from AWBS. As the patio would have to withstand high levels of traffic, porcelain was chosen for its stunning modern appearance, durability and ease of care. The area will be prone to large amounts of footfall, as well as food and drink spillage, but exterior porcelain is stain resistant and only needs sweeping and hosing down, unlike natural stone or concrete paving.

While porcelain paving is straightforward to install, we had to point it with exterior tile grout, and porcelain wall cladding is a new product for AWBS and our team of installers. However, using our expertise we cut the cladding to size with a large bench saw, then fixed it to the walls with exterior tile adhesive.

The products used for the patio installation

Pavestone Al Fresco porcelain paving in grey

In total, we installed 120 sq mtrs of exterior porcelain paving. The patio is a wonderful blend of Pavestone Al Fresco porcelain paving, in Mude and Soile, which creates a stunning combination of dark tones with classic lighter shades. The same colours were used for the porcelain wall cladding, which gives a wonderful backdrop to the whole space, transforming plain walls into a stunning work of art.

Alongside the porcelain paving and cladding, we also used Digby Dusk granite strips to complete the tops of the walls, a Grange tongue and grooved gate, polished black pebbles and Aco drainage channels. We grouted all of the paving using Larsen grout, in ivory.

The finished patio and seating area

Outdoor seating in garden centre cafe patio

The project took a total of five weeks to complete and the result is a stunning space for Oxford Garden Centre customers to enjoy – with stylish seating, flooring, walls, and steps that have been deigned so they sit perfectly within the laying pattern. The impressive cladded archway is an amazing finishing touch, and to complete the project we added some beautiful low-maintenance plants, to create a gorgeous ambience full of colour and vibrancy.

To find out more about our hard landscaping design and installation services, please get in touch. And, to see our fabulous workmanship for yourself, pop into Oxford Garden Centre and take a break in the surroundings of the stunning new café patio.


Contact us for a free landscaping, fencing or driveway quote. We’re always happy to listen to your ideas and offer friendly advice and a personal service. If you’d like us to help turn your dream project into a reality, get in touch with us today and arrange a free, no-obligation survey and estimate.