Before the invention of asphalt a lot of streets were "paved" and created by using cobblestones or even brick for a much more durable and appealing look than just dirt or gravel.
While natural stone is and can still be used to create driveways, paths and patios a much more economical solution is manufactured pavers. Pavers are very durable and versatile in that they are available in a variety of sizes in addition to a very large range of colors. You can choose a very simple basic brick pattern or a more intricate layout which uses pavers of varying sizes as well as varying shades.
Pavers can either be installed on top of an existing concrete slab or the most standard base for installation is a compacted sand bed. When pavers are installed on a compacted bed of sand they do not create an absolute impervious surface like concrete or asphalt does. Your installers still need to pay attention to drainage and I do highly recommend a few surface drains be installed as well to prevent any possible pooling of water especially on large patio surface areas.
Another advantage to pavers is that they are an item which can almost be added at any time. The most recent projects that I’ve used them involved two residential remodels.
For the first remodel there was already an existing large concrete interior courtyard patio forming the main entry of the residence and the unfinished concrete basically gave it the appearance of a school yard. We considered a lot of different materials such as natural stone and tile since there was already a concrete slab in place. In the end we decided the pavers would create the best look as well as being the most economical solution. Another reason for deciding upon the use of pavers was that we added natural stone to the façade of the residence thus I wanted to create a little contrast with the natural stone material on the walls and not confuse the surfaces with more natural stone on the patio areas. The mixture of materials lends a more Tuscan look to this residence.
At this same home the back yard had a small covered patio with pavers extending from the covered area. The large expanse of unfinished concrete up against the pavers just gave the place an unfinished look and did not really create a sufficient entertaining area for the homeowners thus it was decided that we would rework the area. Working with Vicente Landscaping we removed the existing pavers and then installed pavers on top of the existing patio slab while also enlarging the outdoor entertainment space with the addition of more pavers on a compacted bed of sand.
On one of my more recent projects there was just a gravel driveway which had been poorly maintained and had basically deteriorated over time combined with a truly a non-existent back yard which was just a jumble of small boulders and overgrown brush. Working with Dane of Autumn Blaze and Dan of Eriksson Services we reviewed several different options for the homeowners and while all of those boulders might seem an obstacle to some we knew that they would be a great element to incorporate in the landscape and hardscape renovation for this residence.
Eriksson Services used their backhoe to move the boulders around the yard and position them so that they actually created several flat and usable spaces off the lower rear area. In addition it was essential to achieve good drainage and flow of water thus a lot of the driveway had to be dug up and moved around the yard; this again helped to create a little more flat – usable space.
The remainder of the work was accomplished by Dane of Autumn Blaze and his crews with the use of a bobcat and lots of manual labor. We are still in the process of completing this project but you can see from the photos attached there are now gentle steps and a nice wide path of pavers which appear to just meander between boulders as they take you to the lower level of the backyard. What was a forgotten and neglected space is now becoming a place that will be used and enjoyed for decades.
So if you are trying to figure out ways to enhance and possibly expand your outdoor space while creating curb appeal consider pavers!