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Slate on the patio? How beautiful it can be

En moderne hytte med en skifersti som leder inn og med bruddskifer lagt rundt

Have you ever thought that the outdoor space at your summer home could stand a makeover? Using slate on your patio will be as timeless as it is maintenance-free. Get inspired by Per Kjetil’s beautiful cottage project in Jæren!

A lot of people find it difficult to choose materials when renovating their outdoor space. But when you work with slate – and you’re from Oppdal – there is little doubt.

– It was obvious that I was going to use slate here. Oppdal slate, of course, says Per Kjetil Holthe-Berg.

En skifertrapp leder ned til en tråkkhellesti med bergvegger og sedum på sidene.
Light Oppdal | Block step and stepping stones.

Maintenance-free garden tiles

The cottage, with its large windows, sits tight against the mountains, surrounded by rock. Because it is built on piles, it was necessary for Per Kjetil to use drainage gravel to fill up a natural cleft in the rock on the south side of the cottage.

– This resulted in a sort of natural platform between the boulders. Perfect for a patio, he says.

For a cosy Oppdal home, all you have to do is add some slate. The fact that it is maintenance-free was an important consideration for Per Kjetil.

– Like a lot of other people, I’m not in my cottage often enough to warrant having a lawn, for example. Besides, it’s nice to be able to have a little glimpse of home.

Patios for both young and old

The light Oppdal slate can also store heat, while at the same time not getting quite as hot as a darker slate can get.

– This means you get free heat from the floor after the sun has gone down. It’s nice to see both children and ‘grown-up children’ running around barefoot in the sun and lying on the warm stones in the evening.

The area was designed and planned in collaboration with slate designer Runar Gabrielson Bø. The slate flagstones are perfectly fitted with a hammer and chisel. No angle grinder is used.

– We managed to achieve both a natural shape and narrow joints. The slate was fitted against the rock on both sides, gradually and roughly, says Holthe-Berg.

En terrasse av skifer på en moderne hytte mellom to svaberg.
Light Oppdal | Stepping stones and flagstones fitted with a hammer and chisel.

Tying the patio together

But it doesn’t stop with the patio. Continuing on from there, Per Kjetil made a ‘promenade’ out towards the sea. The massive stepping stones stretch out on the heather like a red carpet.

– First, there are three natural block steps before you reach a small path of stepping stones. This takes you in an arc towards the sea view and on to other natural areas, as a gradual transition to the rock.

In many ways, it’s like the slate is ‘glued’ in between the bedrock, the natural site and the cottage.

– It ties the area together and creates a whole in a way that no other material was able to do. Nature is at its most beautiful when it is dressed in more nature, he says.

En funkishytte med en skiferplatting og en skifersti mellom to svaberg.
Light Oppdal | Stepping stones and flagstones.
En skifersti med en skifertrapp som leder ned mot havet med svaberg på hver side.
Light Oppdal | Block step and stepping stones.

Not an impossible patio surface

The thick, heavy stones sit firmly like bedrock – without any glue or mortar. This provides the flagstones with ventilation and drainage.

– The rain runs right through and creates a healthy environment for the slate. Everything is self-supporting and self-cleaning on top of the drainage layer, he explains.

But what was it like getting all of this in place? Although it may seem like an impossible task, Per Kjetil wants to debunk the myths about the difficulty of installation.

– The fact that these flagstones are so heavy can obviously present some challenges but it’s just a matter of planning. The key is to hire transport with a proper crane. Plan the approximate position of the different sizes of stones in advance and then place them correctly in line with planned progress, he says, adding:

– In this case, Runar was in charge of that bit as well, so help was always available. If you have the right equipment, it’s more or less just a matter of hoisting them in place. It’s important to keep the handling and fine adjustments after they are in place to a minimum, he says.

Lys grå skiferheller med sedum plantet på sidene.
Light Oppdal | Stepping stones

Flagstones for hundreds of years

Per Kjetil has spent some long weekends on the slate patio. And there are plenty more to come.

– I’m happier than ever here. It often takes just a few small changes to make a cottage feel completely different. I love the view of the sea, but for a mountain man like me, this was the little touch I was missing, he says, concluding:

– It’s also nice to know that it will be there for generations to come. That’s the nature of slate after all.

The slate ties the area together and creates a whole in a way that no other material was able to do. Nature is at its most beautiful when it is dressed in more nature.

Per Kjetil Holthe-Berg

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