Hardscape Design - How to Choose a Paving Material

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When thinking about a hardscape design for a patio design, walkway, driveway or retaining wall, it's natural and logical to think about the shape and size. However, just as important is the material you will use.

Many materials can be used for various types of projects. Each will present a different type of look. Costs can vary greatly. Colors are
another consideration.

With all these options floating around, how is one ever to make a good decision?

Blending Paving Materials

The first think I typically do when I am doing a hardscape design for a client is to look around and see what other materials are being used on the house and in the rest of the landscape. Once I have done this, I will consider materials that will look well with the existing elements.

For example, if the house is brick, I might think about using bluestone, which compliments brick very nicely. If you want to keep costs down, colored concrete is another way to go. Pavers can be used too, but selecting the right one takes a little bit more thought and creativity, since pavers can be similar to brick.

Paving Material Strengths

Depending on what type of hardscape project you are working with, certain paving materials may not be practical. For driveways, the material must have the right strength to withstand vehicular traffic. Bluestone can crack as can concrete. If done correctly concrete may last, but if it does crack, it is very difficult to repair and have it look good.

Many materials have a designated psi, or pounds per square inch. The higher the psi, the stronger the material.

Hardscape Installation Methods

You also have the option of wet laying the paving material in concrete or dry laying it. Dry laid projects are less expensive since they require less labor.

I happen to like this method. If something ever moves you can just re-lay it without worrying about repairing cracks in the joints. Polymeric sand can be used in the joints which will harden.

There are many different materials that can be used for each type of project. Which one you select should depend on the look you want and the amount you want to spend.

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Susan Schlenger has 1 articles online

Susan Schlenger is a professional Landscape Designer with a degree in Landscape Architecture. To read more about hardscape design and the different materials you can use, visit Hardscape Design. You can also visit Paver Patio Design to see some attractive paver designs and options.

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Hardscape Design - How to Choose a Paving Material

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This article was published on 2010/03/28