Being in California, we are very fortunate to have relatively warm weather all year-round. Mild winters and hot summers are the most extreme, but the weather is enjoyable nonetheless. It’s no wonder that Outdoor Living is so popular here. From dining terraces under heated arbors to sport courts in your own backyard, landscapes incorporating these elements are rising in demand. But in most cases, mulch or dirt are not the best surfaces for these activities. Pavers are a flexible, cost-effective solution with a variety of styles to fit many designs. Here are some things to consider about pavers for landscape design and outdoor living.
Paving is an important factor to consider for the design. There are many paving options available, and choosing just the right style for the design can be challenging. Stone paving has authentic appeal and can bring natural charm to your landscape.
Bluestone comes in two main color palettes: Field (or Range) and Select. Field Bluestone includes browns and greens in addition to the blue color palette. Select Bluestone tightens restricts the color to lighter and darker blues. Bluestone paving is widely popular and fits really well in sophisticated or modern designs.
Other Natural stone paving can be quite exotic in color and texture. From yellow to orange to red, the color variation is sure to fit multiple styles well. Some also take advantage of natural oxidation, adding an additional layer of color depth and interest to each stone. Natural stone paving really shines in outdoor spaces with Woodlands or Mediterranean design.
Aside from aesthetics, the choice of paving style can also push the budget. Creating a stone terrace a la Napa Winery style can be a very aesthetically sound decision, but not a very budget conscious one. Thankfully, concrete has come a long way from just being cold and gray. Modular paver patterns and poured in place slabs offer a versatile paving solution that can save big bucks without sacrificing looks.
Pre-cast concrete pavers are a less expensive alternative to natural stone pavers, and can be done beautifully in a variety of styles. With the versatility of concrete, pre-cast pavers have a wide range of colors and textures. Pavers are also often pre-cast based on a predetermined pattern, making installation a breeze. A large paved surface like an all new driveway is a great candidate for precast pavers.
For more contemporary or monolithic aesthetics, poured-in-place (P.I.P.) concrete may be the way to go. Large or custom shaped pavers can really respond to the uniqueness of each landscape, creating flexibility in pathway and patio design. For large slabs, expansion and score joints not only increase the long-term usability of the slab, but are often used to bring more character to an otherwise “flat” design element.
Whether the paving is stone or concrete, joints between the pavers is another element to consider. Planted and grass joints bring life to the paved surface. The overgrown aesthetic always adds colorful charm to a dining terrace or patio surface. Gravel joints on the other hand lend themselves to more modern aesthetics. This brings in a different texture while keeping the overall look orderly and uniform. Binding agents can be applied to keep little bits of rock from escaping the joint and spilling onto the paved surface.
Source: Terra Ferma Landscapes
Paver surfaces have the advantage of being more water permeable than large expanses of hardscape. The joints in between the pavers ensure that water will be able to percolate through, and not have to drain across the surface to reach the nearest planting area. This concept also tends to bode well with city planning departments, design review boards, and other agencies that will have the authority review and inspect your design.