Terracotta & tile
The right shade of terracotta suits a Mediterraneaninspired garden. It’s soft on the eye if used in muted tones, such as pale biscuit colours, which have lovely warm hues. Beware red and orange, which can be harsh. Patterned tiles can introduce texture and colour to a dark area of the garden. Terracotta can also define an area close to the house.
Either left loose or laid in slurry to make an intricate pattern, pebbles produce different and striking effects. When set in a pattern they are fine underfoot, but can be too uneven to use under garden furniture. Loose pebbles larger than about 10mm in diameter can be uncomfortable under bare feet, and it's worth factoring this into your decision. I love not wearing shoes at home, and all my outdoor surfaces need to accommodate that.
Made from crushed granite, this material comes in different-sized particles, including fine granitic sand, and in a range of colours. If mixed with cement and installed wet, it dries into a solid but slightly porous surface. On driveways, this needs to be topped up every couple of years. It looks gorgeous in Mediterranean and cottage gardens.
Timber adds a rustic feel to the garden, and can be laid as decking or in the ground as hardwood sleepers, which are less prone to rot than other timbers. It's a lovely material to walk on, but gets slippery if laid in wet or shady areas. Timber mulch makes an attractive footpath, but be aware that it holds moisture and breaks down over time.