Practical modern paving for historic Middle Temple

Challenge

The walkways of the listed gardens of Middle Temple with their 200-year-old London plane trees were looking unsightly.

“The original paths were loose gravel which was kicked around easily, frequently clogging our drains. We also needed smooth surfaces for wheelchair users,” says William Kervick, Surveyor at Middle Temple.

The plane trees required a paving that would allow water and air to circulate to the roots. A permeable surface flexible enough to pave around the trees yet look authentic in this venerable estate was needed.

Since the buildings house barristers’ chambers, finding a company that would work quietly and quickly so as not to disturb residents, was also crucial. 

Solution

William chose Clearstone, resin bound installers with experience of laying resin paving for the National Trust and historical sites such as the Royal Ballet School. To emulate the colour of the original gravel, Clearstone craftsmen installed 1572m2 of resin bound in Brewers Malt.

With resin bound gravel, the Clearstone team was able to pave around the trees. In addition, “To allow for future growth, we separated off the area around each tree with metal beading. If any roots pop to the surface we can remove that part of the paving without disturbing the whole area,” says Operations Manager Spencer Kennard.

The porous surface of resin bound allows air and water to reach the tree roots and there is no loose gravel to escape onto lawns and into drains.   

Outcome

“People say the resin bound paving looks great and it’s made the garden much more accessible. Even the gardeners are pleased – and they’ve always had exceptionally high standards!” says William Kervick.

Clearstone’s craftsmen worked quickly and quietly with minimum disruption. They also dealt with the unexpected: the Middle Temple gardens often host prestigious events such as the Submariners’ Remembrance Service attended by HRH The Duke of Cambridge on 1 November 2015.

“Two events came up while the work was in progress and it was great that Clearstone craftsmen were so flexible and worked around them,” says William.