Stone patios and walkways are a great way to enhance your home’s curb appeal as well as improve the resale value of your home. Even if you are looking to stay put, a paver patio can help you feel like you’ve put your personal stamp on your home.
A stone of paved patio can also serve a functional purpose. Heavy rain can send a significant amount of water down your roofline. If you don’t have a modern gutter system or your gutters can’t handle the capacity all that downpouring water from the roof can pool near your foundation.
In a scenario like this, even a single strong rainstorm can leave you with water in your basement. When you surround your house or simply install a paver stone patio near vulnerable areas, it can further help to divert runoff rainwater from your home.
A paved patio can also give you a great place for outdoor entertaining. Even if your home already has a deck, a paved patio area can give you someplace to keep the grill, giving your more livable square footage on the deck. You could even add a pergola to the paved patio to create a comfortable place to relax.
Are Patio Pavers Better Than Poured Concrete?
If you speak to an honest concrete contractor, they will tell you that there are two types of concrete. That’s concrete that is cracked and concrete that hasn’t cracked yet. That being said, concrete formulation and pour techniques have greatly evolved in recent years to improve the surface’s long-term integrity. Concrete can also be stamped, brushed, or otherwise textured to reduce the slipperiness when wet.
The truth is that a lot of the old knocks on concrete have been addressed or at least improved. The cost can be comparable, to paver stones depending on the quote offered by the contractor. Today, perhaps the biggest knock on a poured concrete patio is how permanent it is.
Let’s say you want to have a natural gas line put in for your new grill or outdoor kitchen. This is nearly impossible or a major chore with a concrete patio. Though with pavers, you could just take up a small section, install the line, and then replace the pavers. If you wanted to install an in-ground fire pit on a concrete patio, chances are you’ll have to hire someone to run a jackhammer. With pavers, you simply remove the blocks where you want the new firepit to go in.
Can I Install A Paver Stone Patio Myself?
If you are particularly handy, and you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, you could potentially install your own paver stone patio. Just keep in mind that there is a lot more to it than simply laying down some pavers near each other.
All vegetation needs to be removed. Then sand or some other base layer material will need to be put down to reduce the natural shifting that occurs in the subsoil layers. That base layer will then need to be carefully graded to make sure that any future rainwater is diverted properly. Then it will need to be tamped, which can be a lot of labor if you’re going to do it manually.
You should also note that depending on where you live, a building permit and inspection might be required. Any errors you might make in the grading process might also cause rainwater to flow toward your home instead of away. If you get water in your basement, suffer foundation or siding damage as a result, your homeowner’s insurance might not cover it.
When you really get down to it, the cost of time and your own labor might make it a better idea to simply hire a licensed landscaping contractor. Not only will they be informed about the local building codes, but they also have access to materials and the experience to get the job done right the first time.
Popular Paver Stone Patio Concepts
Twenty or so years ago, patio pavers were pretty bland and were little more than simple bricks that you could lay close together. Today improvements in modern manufacturing technology and materials have helped patio pavers to evolve into a wide range of colors, options, and creative concepts. The following is a list of some of the most popular, and innovative patio paver concepts.
Cobblestones & Paver Bricks
Cobblestones are the quintessential paver concept. It gives you a feeling like you are on a medieval street or a colonial patio. They have a natural look and texture to them, as well as an incredibly long lifespan. Depending on where you are, they can also be affordable. You might even be able to upcycle the remnants of an older cobblestone road or patio.
You need to take into account that cobblestone and paver bricks will take a lot longer to install than more-uniform paver bricks. They also tend to be bumpier, which can be an issue if you like to wheel around your grill on the patio.
Grid Pattern Slabs
This is arguably one of the easier patio paver concepts to install. The slab stones tend to be large enough that you don’t have to worry too much about getting the seams right, which puts this patio paver concept on the radar for a do-it-yourselfer. Just keep in mind that you will need to put a lot of care into grading the base layer.
Alternating the pattern to eliminate long lines in the seams will not only give the grid pattern of slabs more visual interest it will also make it harder for the seams to crack over the years. The size of the slabs themselves can make them a little bit slippery when wet. So, you might want to prioritize slabs with some type of texture.
Artificial Or Natural Flagstones
Flagstone walkways and patios have an organic look to them that can’t be beaten. It’s a great way to enhance any outdoor area with a lot of existing vegetation or container-grown plants. They’re available in a wide range of colors based on the geology of where the stone was sourced. It does take a little bit of creativity to get them to fit together closely. A lot of do-it-yourselfers who install a flagstone patio will fill in the irregular seams with some type of mortar or concrete.
Natural flagstones can be a little bit slippery when wet. Also, little errors in the grading of the underlying base layer can gradually lead to pooling problems over time.
Fortunately, modern landscaping manufacturers have gotten wise to these potential foibles. To the point that they offer artificial flagstones that look very much like the natural product, but have a textured surface and a more consistent bottom. Depending on where you live, you might also be able to source artificial flagstones for less than their natural counterparts.
Bluestones With Pebbles
Bluestones and other colored paving slabs can greatly enhance the exterior appearance of your home. In some parts of the United States you can source the natural variety. Though artificial bluestone slabs can also be available in different shades to better match your landscaping concepts.
Bluestone slabs are a little more forgiving when it comes to installing them with seams. Many do-it-yourselfers and even professional landscape designers will use contrasting pebbles or pea gravel in wide seams. Not only does this give it a liner, yet organic appearance, the pours nature of the pebbles gives water a place to go. It’s a great concept for places that get a lot of rain.
Building A Paved Patio Around A Fire Feature
Firepits and other fire features tend to work and play nicely with patio pavers. Just bear in mind that if you are going to design and install your own paver stone patio, that you want to use fire-rated brick near any fire feature. A lot of standard pavers, bricks, and even many types of natural stone can absorb water deep into their pores over time. When they are exposed to high heat the flame and rapid temperature change can cause them to crack, fracture, or shatter dangerously.
Building A Paved Patio With A Water Feature
Water features are also an incredibly popular way to accentuate the look and feel of a paved patio. This could be a terraced fountain, an artificial stream, or a pool with Koi swimming in it. If you are going to attempt to install the water feature yourself, you’ll need to put some extra energy into the planning phase.
Make sure you have a plan for where all the water and return lines will go, as well as a safe way to connect electricity to any pumps. Then take your time making sure that everything is perfectly level and the underlying base soil has been tamped firmly in place. The last thing you want is to install your beautiful new water feature, only to find that it leans to one side, or a pump keeps pulling in air instead of water.