Last Modified: April 3, 2024

Blue Slate Garden Ideas

A landscaping Primer to Inspire the DIYer

Garden with blue slate chips

By Ben Parrot - Landscape Gardener & Amateur Geologist


Are you looking for the perfect material to turn an outdoor area into a stunning and low-maintenance space? Well, look no further than blue slate chippings. These versatile and eye-catching stones can add a touch of elegance to your garden and provide numerous practical benefits, transforming a space quickly and without breaking the bank, too!

In this piece, we start the journey into the possibilities of renovating your outdoor space using blue slate chippings by exploring complementary colours and ways to incorporate them into your design. Covering some of the popular blue garden slate ideas and their practical benefits, we traverse the fundamentals involved in establishing slate garden features, from insights into laying slate chippings, to maintenance and links to resources for helping you tackle these tasks, DIY!

So, get ready to be inspired to create your next garden project with blue slate chippings and your imagination!

Also, don't miss out on our 'Pebble Picker' tool in the sidebar or menu. With it you can choose and browse every decorative aggregate by colour and type with ease.

Blue slate chips close up

Key Takeaways

  1. 1
    Aesthetic Appeal: Blue slate chippings offer a versatile and elegant addition to gardens, available in various shades of blue and grey that change intensity when wet or dry.
  2. 2
    Colour Coordination: Using harmonious colours like whites, yellows, and greens alongside blue slate creates visually appealing landscapes, especially when complemented by suitable plants and flowers.
  3. 3
    Size Matters: Select the appropriate size of blue slate chippings for different garden projects, ranging from small slate mini-mulch for planters and paths to larger chippings for borders and driveway features.
  4. 4
    Installation & Maintenance Tips: From base preparation to weed control, plus tips for easy maintenance to keep gardens looking beautiful.

Complementary Colours in Blue Slate Garden Design

When using slate stones for garden design, selecting colours to complement the dominant elements can make all the difference to creating a harmonious and visually appealing landscape. While it does ultimately come down to individual taste, when working with the captivating hues of blue slate, understanding better how to match it with other natural colours can help bring sense of balance to your design, which can make the outcome even more impressive and satisfying.

Let's start by acquainting ourselves with the range of colours you can expect from blue landscaping slate.

The Azure Colours of Blue Grey Slate

The natural colour variations in blue grey slate reveal a spectrum of shades when chipped, from light blues and greys, through to dark blues and charcoal. Slate chippings also often come with occasional, random coloured flecks, most notable when viewed up close.

Blue and orange colours in rustic slate. Jpg

It is also worth remembering that the colours exhibited in your garden will be dependent on whether they are wet or dry. Generally, expect to get a mid to dark blue slate hue when wet, and a paler blue/grey shade when dry. This can be especially important when you're planning to use them in water features or areas where they could be regularly sprayed by water.

The most common tones found in this blue gray slate stone are:

  1. 1
    Dark Blue: Deep, intense blue hues that may have subtle variations and darker accents.
  2. 2
    Medium Blue: A mid-tone blue that is not as dark as the deep blue, but still rich and vibrant.
  3. 3
    Light Blue: Softer and more subdued shades of blue, often with gray undertones.
  4. 4
    Grey: Most blue slate feature gray colours as well, ranging from light to dark gray.
  5. 5
    Charcoal: Dark, almost black shades of gray that add depth and contrast to the stone.

To learn more about where to source the different variations that exist within the genre of blue slate stones and chippings, head over to our Pebble Picker.

Harmonious Colour Matches for Blue Slate

Combinations blue slate chippings for garden

When considering what to pair with blue slate chips for landscaping, choosing harmonious natural colours such as whites, yellows, greens, pinks, and oranges, should help you to create visually striking and aesthetically pleasing landscapes.

To help inspire you, next we will give you some ideas for ways to introduce some contrasting elements into your master plan, starting with some suggested outdoor aggregates that will blend beautifully with slate blue:

  • Polar White Chippings: These bright white stones create a beautiful contrast and provide a luxurious look.
  • Grey Granite Chippings: Complements blue slate chippings with its similar colour tones. The mix of gray shades can create a cohesive and sophisticated-looking outdoor space.
  • Terracotta Crushed Stone: The earthy, reddish-brown tones of terracotta crushed stone complement the cool blue to evoke a rustic and Mediterranean-inspired aesthetic.
  • Black Lava Rock: For a bold and dramatic look, consider pairing blue slate chippings with black lava rock. The dark colour contrast can create a striking effect, adding an element of visual interest to your outdoor space.
  • Cotswold Gravel: Cream or buff-coloured gravel provides a beautiful contrast to the cool tones of blue slate chippings. The light colour helps to brighten up the area and creates an attractive visual balance.
Garden rockery. Jpg
Slate blue and golden gravel in a garden border
Slate rockery with granite boulders
Garden edging idea with paddlestones. Jpg

If you are also considering the kinds, here are some ideas for plants and flowers that usually flourish in the UK, categorized by their colours:

  • White: Among the purest, graceful snowdrops and white roses can add a classic charm.
  • Yellow: Harness the vibrancy with plantings of daffodils, narcissus, lantana and forsythia.
  • Green: Striking contrasts can be achieved with hostas, white and pink flowering daphne, or the evergreen boxwood, which can also add a sumptuous texture.
  • Pink: Their enchanting hues can be introduced via pink hydrangeas, peonies, fuschias and azaleas.
  • Orange: Re-create the joy of sunshine with annuals like marigolds, poppies and helenium.
  • Purple: Verbena is a rich purple flowering plant and a favourite in the UK.
Snowdrops growing in blue slate stones

By considering the contrasting colours of blue slate, you can create a design that suits your taste whilst also being pleasing to the eyes of friends and family.

How to Choose the Right Sized Slate

Choosing the right sized blue slate garden chippings for your project comes down to a few practical considerations. The choice between the different sizes often depends on the scale of the project as well as the desired aesthetic outcome.

First, there is slate mini-mulch. With a particle size ranging from 2 to 14mm, it is best suited for planters, pathways, and low-traffic garden applications. It is not advisable for driveways due to its susceptibility to breakage under the weight of vehicles.

Slate feature

Next are 20mm blue slate garden chippings, which are ideal for projects such as smaller garden borders, paths, or as a decorative ground cover. Their smaller dimensions pack down flatter than the 40mm size, making them great for pathways. The size can also provide a more refined and intricate appearance.

On the other hand, the 40mm blue slate garden chippings are suited to driveways, larger border areas and as a mulch. They are also ideal for ponds and as base for larger rockeries.

Last, but not least, blue slate paddlestones (which are generally 60mm diameter or larger) are most often utilised for larger landscape projects because their size allows them to stand out and create a robust, dramatic aesthetic. This can make them ideal for use in features like rockeries, ponds, and water features where the larger scale of the chipping will be more apparent.

Before making a decision, it's a good idea to see samples of the aggregates together or create a mock-up to visualize how they will look in your specific outdoor setting.

Popular Applications for Blue Slate Chips

Slate garden edging with river pebbles

When it comes to the popular applications for blue slate stone chippings, the first thing that comes to mind is how great they are as a mulch or ground cover for borders, paths and flower beds. The larger sizes offer outstanding coverage, effortlessly suppressing weeds while helping to retain moisture. However, due to the fact that these versatile stones can be used in so many different ways, the following section will briefly touch on some of the popular and practical applications for blue slate chippings - just to whet your appetite!

We also feature more garden ideas using slate chippings here.


Using slate for pathways is highly recommended. Slate is perfect for creating attractive and durable garden paths. Slate mini mulch or 20mm blue slate chippings are the optimal size for pathways, with the flatter profile making them ideal. Not only do they provide a secure footing for foot traffic, but they also lift the overall aesthetic of your garden.

1garden border with rustic edging


They are an ideal choice for adding contrast and texture to the surrounding plants and flowers. Additionally, they serve as a natural barrier against weeds and the propagation of weed seeds, that would otherwise disrupt the growth of your plants and require upkeep to control. For best results, many opt for the larger blue slate chippings 40mm when using them for garden borders.

Water Features

Incorporating blue garden slate into your water feature can create a truly captivating effect. Due to their impermeability, aquarium slate stones are an ideal choice for decorative purposes in water features, such as for edging or as a blue decorative slate feature flowing into a stream and pond, in an oriental garden. The are also fish-friendly.

When designing your water features, consider the natural colour variations of blue slate chippings to enhance the overall aesthetic. The striking contrast between the stones and the water can create a mesmerizing focal point in your garden, making it a dreamy addition to any outdoor space.


Creating an eye-catching slate rockery with blue slate chippings is an excellent way to infuse beauty and texture into your landscape design. By strategically placing them around larger stones, including blue cobbles, boulders and slate paddlestones of varying sizes and shapes, you can achieve a visually appealing arrangement that mimics the natural look of a rocky mountain or hillside.

Additionally, the smooth and polished surface of the slate can also provide a sleek and modern touch to the overall composition. Check more ideas here.

1rockery with slate boulders and conifers


Using blue slate chippings for driveways can greatly improve the appearance and functionality of your driveway borders, but they can be problematic when applied as the surface. While these stones are mostly hard-wearing and the 20mm size is quite capable of binding together, they do tend to deteriorate with heavy traffic.

If your driveway usually experiences heavier traffic, perhaps it would be best to instead opt for blue granite chippings, which is specifically designed for this purpose and can ensure the best possible results. With proper installation and maintenance, a blue stone driveway can provide a secure and attractive surface for many years to come.

1blue grey slate driveway. Jpg

Tips for Installing Slate Chippings

Even for the novice landscaper, employing proper technique is essential for achieving a professional finish when laying blue slate aggregate in your garden. While we go into detail in how to lay slate chippings, here we cover the basics in order to help you prepare.

To start, it is recommended to dig out the area to a suitable depth for your chosen size of chip and purpose (see below), before raking the base area even. To get the best results for pathways or driveways,  adding a sub-base is key to achieving a lasting result. Therefore, it is recommended that the area is also compacted using a flattening tool.

Before spreading the chips, you can minimise future maintenance by laying a heavy duty membrane for the prevention of weed growth. This will also ensure a clean surface for the stones. However, compacting the area with a sub base can also be effective, without the need for a weed membrane for those who desire a more natural installation.

For heavy-duty applications like driveways with high traffic, it is often advisable to use larger sized 40mm blue slate chippings. This will ensure a durable and longer lasting surface.

1heavy duty weed membrane with gardening tools

Caring for Your Chipped Slate Garden

Maintaining your blue slate chippings feature is a relatively simple task, as these stones require minimal upkeep. While they are most effective in controlling weed growth, and can significantly reduce the need for constant weeding, they still require occasional maintenance. It requires infrequent checks for any debris or dirt that may have accumulated over time, as this can diminish the visual appeal of your garden, and can allow for weeds to take hold.

There are a few ways simple ways to go about cleaning your slate chippings. They may be washed down with a power hose, or you can also create a large sieve and hose them down to remove any dirt or debris. By performing occasional maintenance and keeping the stones clean, you can guarantee that your blue slate garden remains beautiful and functional for very many years to come.

We go into the care of decorative stones and chippings in our article about how to clean garden gravel.

1cleaning garden stones with a hose

Common Issues and Solutions

While blue slate chippings are not known to have any durability or colour fading issues, it is possible for a white haze to form on the surface of the stones due to naturally occurring salts found in soil, water, sand, gravel, and cement. This is a natural occurrence called efflorescence, and does not affect the stone’s integrity. 

Colour Discrepancies

Colour discrepancies in blue slate chippings may be attributed to natural variations in the slate or differences in the manufacturing process. It is essential to understand that these discrepancies are a natural part of the product and not necessarily a fault. When purchasing blue slate chippings, it is crucial to ensure that the colour variations align with your desired aesthetic.

We encourage seeking samples from a few of the recommended suppliers in our buyers guide, or even taking a trip out to the supplier or quarry, if you can, if you are having any doubts. Suppliers will often take an unhappy customers bulk bags back, for just a small delivery charge. However, if you have taken a loose load in the tonnes, it is highly recommended that you see the stones before committing to a purchase.

In the unusual event that you receive damaged, incorrect or discoloured chippings, it is recommended to contact the supplier promptly and provide a detailed description of the damage or fault, making sure they can be supported by some photographic evidence. Should a return be agreed upon, the order should be repacked to its best in the original packaging and left at the original delivery point for the haulier to collect, wherever possible.

1harmony blue slate chippings for garden. Jpg

Need to work out how many slate chippings your  project needs? Try our free gravel calculator.

Purchasing Decorative Blue Slate

Finding the right decorative aggregates for your garden project doesn't have to be difficult. Once you have made a plan and know what you want, blue slate chippings are widely available, and can be purchased online; or in-store, at quarries, gardening stores and landscaping suppliers. But remember, ensuring a seamless site connection, and checking they offer quality materials, is key to achieving the best outcome.

For that reason, before making a purchase, it's prudent to check the delivery information and return policy of your chosen supplier. In the case of any issues or discrepancies with your order, having a clear understanding of the return process will ensure a smooth and secure proceeding.

1slate rock in a pallet container. Jpg

But, Why Leave Anything to Chance?

We all lead very busy lives, leaving most of us with little time to spare for conducting the thorough research required to ensure you get exactly what you need, without facing any of the potential pitfalls - while doing it all to budget.

That's why we think you should check out our free buyers guide, coming soon. Plus, it offers something even more valuable than just advice and added convenience, can do, alone. Because, when you choose to take full advantage of Outdoor Aggregates resources, you will also benefit from added confidence and be ready to take on the challenge!

The 'Guide' gives you an easy-to-follow process designed to take you, step-by-step, through the maze of options and considerations which are crucial to the achievement of your project management goals. It can also greatly streamline ordering, offering you options for seamlessly purchasing all materials required for the job.

1natural slate path in connemara national park ireland


In conclusion, blue slate chippings offer a versatile and visually appealing solution for various garden applications, including pathways, borders, rockeries, and driveways. By starting with a natural product from the right supplier you can create a stunning garden that will be the envy of your neighbourhood, so what are you waiting for?

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a tonne of slate cover?

As an example, a one tonne bag of 40mm slate chippings will cover approximately 12m2, at 50mm deep. For a more precise calculation, head over to our calculator page.

What are the various applications of blue slate chippings in gardens?

Blue slate chippings are ideal for ground cover, pathways, borders, rockeries, driveways and a multitude of other uses, making them a great decorative consideration for any garden.

What do you put under slate chippings?

When you install slate, the most common item to put under slate chippings is typically a weed membrane or landscape fabric. This is to suppress weed growth and provide a clean, finished appearance.

Do you need to put membrane under slate chippings?

It is advisable to place a weed membrane or landscape fabric underneath slate chippings when using them as ground cover. Although it is not strictly necessary, it helps prevent weed growth and provides a stable foundation for the slate chippings.

Do stone chippings stop weeds?

Slate stone chippings can help suppress weed growth in gardens by creating a physical barrier that inhibits weed germination and growth. For optimal weed prevention, use them in conjunction with a weed membrane or landscape fabric underneath.

There is a world of outdoor aggregates out there for your outdoor project, just waiting to be discovered. Check out them out!

About the author 

Ben Parrot is a landscape gardener and amateur geologist. He is the founder of Outdoor Aggregates, with the mission to create the first encyclopaedia for decorative aggregates. From natural stone through to decorative bark, these aggregates are critical to garden and landscape design, universally.

The problem: There isn't any place where all the different types of decorative landscaping materials and construction aggregates can be found, nor are the specifications of each type readily available. So, enriched by his extensive experience, and inspired by the timeless elegance and raw beauty of stone and rock, etched by nature's artistry over millennia, Outdoor Aggregates was born.