For many homeowners, choosing materials and finishes is the hardest part of any home-improvement project. This is especially true for hardscaping projects, where one style of pavers can’t be easily switched out for another. As you plan your new patio, the pavers you choose will impact many aspects of your project. To help you make a decision that keeps you happy throughout the life of your patio, here are some tips that take into account the specifics of different types of pavers.
Assess the applications.
The ways you plan to use your patio can impact your choice of pavers. If your patio will merely be a place to eat family dinners or entertain friends, your pavers won’t have to shoulder much of a load. However, if you want to park vehicles on them, even for a single season each year, your pavers and their foundation should be designed to shoulder a bigger load. Jot down the uses you envision for your patio and keep them in mind throughout the planning process.
Work with the weather.
Because patios are built to last, weather plays a significant role in their planning. Your pavers and the specifics of their installation should be chosen in part for their ability to handle yearly freeze-and-thaw cycles. Here in Northern Virginia, brick and stone weather quite well. A stamped concrete patio, however, is very likely to crack due to fluctuating ground temperatures. If you choose a landscaping company which, like NOVA Landscape & Design, works exclusively with homeowners in a specific region, you’ll have plenty of choices, all of which are ideal for the climate around your home.
Compare pavers in person.
Most manufacturers are happy to send you samples of their materials by mail. Here in Northern Virginia, however, you can enjoy a more fun, informative, and inspiring way to assess pavers — through one-stop shopping at Outdoor Showplace. At this huge outdoor-living showroom in Dumfries, Virginia, you can compare loose pavers side by side, snag design ideas, and see the products we carry in action in full, authentic build-outs. Regardless of where you live, be sure to handle a variety of pavers before making your final choice.
Manufactured or natural stone?
It pays to keep in mind that both natural and manufactured stone options exist and to appreciate the differences between them. Either one could be the right choice for your patio, depending on your priorities. Natural stone is green and lasts forever, but carries a higher price tag. Manufactured stone offers greater control over design, simplifies installation, and is easier on your wallet. Some folks demand the real deal, while others appreciate the affordability and color options that come with cast pavers. When it comes to your patio project, it’s entirely up to you!
Take a stand for your style.
This new patio is going to be a part of your home and (in most cases) should blend seamlessly with its surroundings. Before choosing pavers, take a good look at your house and your yard. Notice the shapes, colors, and textures that are already integrated there. What themes jump out? What ties the elements together? Are there any design choices you’d like to reconsider? What are your non-negotiables? Jot down some notes to inform the planning and design process.
Consider the ideal colors.
Your aesthetic preferences are undoubtedly crucial to your choice of pavers, but there are other factors to take under consideration as well. One of those is sun exposure. If your patio receives direct sunlight and won’t be covered, your pavers will likely fade over time. It’s better to choose neutral or natural tones for this type of placement. On the other hand, if extreme exposure won’t be an issue, you may want to use your pavers to add a splash of contrasting color or add to your home’s palette. Color choice can do more than make you pleased with your project; it can brighten your whole property! For more insights into the world of paver colors, check out this deep dive by a hardscaping company in California.
Remember, this is fun!
As “plant people” with careers in landscaping, we understand that picking patio pavers isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. Still, this is an opportunity to add lasting value and enjoyment to your home while showcasing a bit of your style. If you’re working through this patio build with a partner or your whole family, it’s also your chance to have a successful collaboration and build something together (minus the heavy lifting). To make sure you enjoy your partnership with your contractor as well, check out these four helpful questions to ask contractors. This article and other items from our Resources page will help you evaluate candidates and hire someone in whom you can have total confidence. If you’re ready to have a conversation with NOVA, request an estimate today!