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Pavers 101 Design Guide

by | Feb 2, 2022

When people have been doing something for thousands of years and getting great results with it, maybe they’re onto something. Here, we’re talking about pavers, which have been a part of landscaping for about as long as landscape design has existed.

Pavers, also called paving stones, are a popular outdoor paving option. The reasons for their popularity include their versatility, the wide range of shapes and sizes, and the relative ease of working with them, which makes them good for DIY projects. Applications for pavers include paths, steps, patios, poolside areas, and even driveways. With all the options available, we thought it would be helpful to provide a guide. Let’s call it Pavers 101!

Types of Pavers

There are 4 main kinds of pavers: concrete, clay, stone, and composite.

Pavers 101 Design GuideConcrete Pavers

Usually rectangular but available in other shapes, concrete pavers are nice because they can come in almost any color. Many have molded-in spacers that make the job of laying them much easier.

Clay Pavers

Does walking around on clay not sound like a great idea? Relax! Firing the clay into bricks hardens them. Brick pavers offer an aged look that many find highly attractive.

Stone Pavers

Stone pavers are cut from quarried rock and come in many rock types. Some of the most popular are marble, limestone, travertine, and granite. They can also be cut to a specified size, shape, and thickness. Many who choose stone pavers like their natural earthen colors and authentic look, and for those people, the higher price is worth it. Bear in mind that stone is more slippery than concrete and brick when wet, so more textured pieces are recommended for outdoor use.

Composite Pavers

These are pavers made from recycled plastics and tires. In addition to the eco-friendly recycled materials approach, composite pavers also release less carbon and consume less energy during the manufacturing process than concrete and brick pavers do. They’re also much lighter than the other kinds of pavers are.

Design Ideas

Something we love about pavers is the endless designs and patterns you can create with them. Rectangular, curved, and winding layouts are all possible. For those who love symmetry and order you can have pieces align perfectly the way you often see with flooring tiles. Another approach is having pieces of the same shape type but in different sizes and then fitting them all together. But don’t let those ideas limit you. Depending on the intended use, there’s no rule that everything has to fill all available space. One of the loveliest effects is a pathway with pavers set close enough to accommodate someone’s stride but with open space between them. The more intricate the designs and layouts, the harder it will be as a DIY project, but a good circular saw will be up to most cutting tasks. That’s the beauty of pavers. They’re highly functional and also adaptable to all tastes and visions.

Installing Pavers

Although pavers can be laid directly on the ground, you’ll get more stability and durability by preparing the ground beneath them first. Bedding them in mortar or dry-laying them on a base of gravel and bedding sand is recommended. The latter is easier to do on your own. Before you get started, mark off the area you’re going to be laying the pavers on. Use an eco-friendly marking spray for this. Here’s another tip you might not have thought of: if your layout is going to be a curved one, your very own garden hose can be a handy instrument for establishing the contours the finished product will follow. If you’re going to follow recommendations and create a base, then make sure you also excavate first. You don’t want that base or what goes over it washing away or sliding off, so make sure you excavate to the depth needed. Before you excavate, make sure you have contacted local agencies to learn about any utility lines that might be beneath! Edging a dry-laid design is important as well for keeping things in place. For this task, staked-in boards, metal strips, and bricks set in mortar all work well.

Professional Solutions

Although pavers can make good DIY projects, not everyone has the time or inclination to get the work done. LandArt Solutions can provide a professional touch with a design perfectly suited for your unique property. One of our specialties is permeable pavers, which can make a huge difference as a drainage solution.

We hope Pavers 101 has been helpful. If you’d like help implementing and installing a design, just contact us to get started!

Matthew Horn

Vice President of LandArt solutions since 2008, Matt Horn brings unrivaled experience and training to his work. Matt has multiple certifications from the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) and in stormwater management that cover installation, maintenance, and inspection. Among his specialties is the installation of residential and permeable pavers and retaining walls, but his quiver contains many more skills. These include landscape design and renovation, green building, site planning, drainage solutions, and many more. Matt’s experience in landscape design includes but is hardly limited to patios, turf (natural and synthetic), hardscaping, lighting, and irrigation. As an influential part of LandArt deeply invested in its success, reputation, and client satisfaction, Matt has played a principal role in adding beauty, function, and value to multitudes of North Carolina homes and businesses.

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