Everyday we are asked about hardscapes and pavers. Hardscapes have become very popular recently. With the choices and styles sometimes it can be quite a chore just to make a selection for your upcoming project. One of the things we love to do as design consultants, is to aid in making your selections. I do want to take an opportunity to share some of my thoughts and experience on pavers and hardscapes with you, in essence a “who’s who” and “what’s best”.
Most pavers come in different sizes, and when considering pavers you usually will have at least two different sizes in each style and color so that you can create lots of different looks. Pavers come in various colors as well, this makes it easy to either contrast or blend your colors. Each paver is not a single, solitary color. Each will have variation and different tones throughout the paver itself. This is due largely in part to the fact that pavers are concrete molds and they will tend to vary in color due to the aggregates. Most
pavers come in either a smooth surface or a more rustic surface, which is referred to as “tumbled”. Stonehenge and Brussels are a good representation of the “tumbled” pavers. Various styling trends such as the lane pattern’s and Curvilinear are popular. Curvilinear is a little more expensive because there is more cutting involved. Styles such as these a larger and more like tiles or slabs that mimic the look of natural stone. Belgard also has a line of natural “stone”- like pavers as well.
Of course when considering building with pavers, foundation, as is the case with any construction, is very important. The advantage of using a concrete paver over a concrete pad or stamped concrete. With a paver you don’t run the risk of a cracking foundation because when using pavers you have a joint that acts as an expansion joint, and if potentially something goes wrong it is an easy fix.
In the Midwest the most popular pavers are Oberfields and Unilock. Both are good concrete pavers, however over time Oberfields will lose some its color. An inexpensive color will start to show more of the aggregate within the paver much more quickly than a higher quality paver will. The aggregate color which usually comes forth is a concrete-type grayish tint and this is the reason we generally don’t recommend using Oberfields.
Another important aspect when considering pavers is water drainage and elevation.You always want to keep the water away from your house. We add a slight slope with installation of each paver to ensure that the water is flowing away from your home. When elevation is an issue, for example if you have a slope in your backyard, there will be a necessity to create a retaining wall(s). In this case we usually suggest a fall of 6″ or more. Another choice for keeping water away from the house is Belgard and Unilock’s permeable pavers. They are the new “green” thing in pavers. They are slightly wider and water goes through them, however they do require a different type of installation.
A great facility to view pavers here in Columbus, OH is Mr. Mulch. They are a retailer with about 25,000 feet of display area which includes Techno-bloc and Unilock pavers. Another place is Wellnitz. My grandfather was Harry Wellnitz and he actually started the company, they now specialize in landscaping and carry Belgard products as well. Belgard is a high-end product that is not only used for paver floors but also seating walls, pillars and the ever popular fire pits and outdoor fireplaces.
Last but certainly not least are Techno-bloc pavers. Believe it or not this is the only paver that will withstand salt being applied to it. This paver will come in handy to use if you live in area that requires a great deal of de-icing each year.
I hope these helpful hints and suggestions help you to better identify the current trends and choices in pavers. If you still have some questions you need answered our design staff is always here to help you with all your hardscape needs. Give Archadeck of Columbus a call to plan your next paver project.(740) 879 – 3730