Tiles in the garden
This item is an excerpt from a feature, “Yard Work,” on landscaping options, written by first-time contributor, Alex Newman. The full article will appear in our June/July 2019 issue.
For years, ceramic tile artist Cristina Delago (CristinaDelago.com) has been installing tiles outdoors. The Italian-born artist has installed mosaic tile murals – recently for a Toronto subway station, at the city’s Harbourfront ferry station, a handful of public schools, a hospice centre, and for numerous private homes. Always with porcelain (as opposed to ceramic) because they’re resistant to Canada’s freeze-thaw conditions. Now, thanks to a new product, installing tiles in the garden is equally feasible for the home renovator.
Manufactured by Delonca in Italy and available from Cercan Tile where Delago is a sales representative, the thick porcelain tiles are resistant to frost, breakage, don’t absorb acidity or chemicals, and have some flexibility. They come in various sizes and shapes, but it’s their 2 cm and 3 cm thickness that makes them durable. The aptly called 2CM and 3CM tiles are “a new technology from Europe, where it has been used for some time,” Delago says.
They come in a variety of finishes – imitation wood and stone mostly – but work much better than flagstone or concrete. They can even be used to pave the driveway – and oil leaks simply wash off. Installation is either on floaters on a deck or placed directly on grass or sand. It works well in cottage country, which is subject to harsher winter conditions, and Delago has seen it used on hotel pool decks and on rooftop gardens as well.
So far, it comes as stone or wood look-alike. If you want anything more floral or geometric you would need to go custom. “That’s where I come in,” Delago says. “I could create a centrepiece mosaic or stepping stones for an artistic addition.”