Paving Stone Finishes

Richcliff paving stone with Copthorne border (all by Unilock)

Replacing a concrete walk with a paving stone design instantly upgrades the style and beauty of any entrance. Similarly, swapping an old deck for a paver patio not only enhances a home – it also reduces home maintenance duties. We have more paver design choices available to us than ever before, so it’s smart to familiarize yourself with the options to see how they fit with your style.

Natural Kodiak granite paversBristol Valley patio with Brussels border (all by Unilock)

Material choices vary by region

Just as discussed in last month’s blog post, choices in any paving stone design are influenced by regional availability – the farther away the source of the material, the more cost-prohibitive it is. Therefore, those in the Northeast might favor bluestone from New York or Pennsylvania, the Southeast has Tennessee fieldstone, and in the Midwest we can easily source limestone flagstone from Wisconsin and Indiana for our paver designs.

Richcliff pavers with Brussels border and Olde Quarry steps (all by Unilock)

We also benefit from Chicago being a major hub for Unilock, which gives us a much wider palette of high-quality manufactured stone pavers from which to select. When first on the market many years ago, there were only a few products available. Unilock now has expanded colors, sizes, and styles that allow us to truly match our clients’ wishes and give them a custom result for their paver designs.

Yorkstone pavers with Copthorne border (all by Unilock)

What makes it a paving stone?

Paving stone is used on any flat surface; it can be used on walks, patios, driveways, and stoops. Compared with wall stone, pavers are typically thinner and often wider. Natural stone – like bluestone and flagstone – can arrive cut and be laid in a rectangular pattern or it can come to us with irregular edges and be “country-laid” with enough space between the joints for low plants or tightly laid in an irregular pattern (see below). Clay bricks, granite cobbles, and concrete pavers are smaller paving stones that can be used as accents, borders, or for the entire hardscape design.

Natural granite cobbles (left) and clay pavers (right)

How do you choose?

With so many choices, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. After noting details of your home and listening to your goals, your landscape designer can help narrow the options to a few that will work well in your space, coordinate with your home’s exterior, and fit your budget. It also doesn’t hurt to do a little research by noticing what’s been used at other homes in your neighborhood (or neighborhoods you love) and spending some time on websites such as Pinterest and Houzz. Many of our clients find it easier to envision their own paving stone design project after seeing other finished projects than by just looking at product samples.

Fossil creek natural flagstone laid in an irregular pattern with Unilock Brussels border Rivenstone patio stone with Copthorne brick border and Brussels fullnose cap along edges  (all by Unilock)

When is it time to upgrade?

Certainly, if your existing walkway, patio, or stoop is deteriorating and becoming unsafe, you need to seriously consider replacing it. Or, if your space is undersized – a patio with barely enough room to walk around the table or a front walk that must be traversed single-file – it’s well worthwhile it to consider replacing it with a more functional, breathable area. Likewise, if your desired lifestyle includes spending time outside with family and you lack an inviting place in your yard to relax, a new outdoor living space and paving stone design that suits your needs is a valuable investment. Remember that lighting can be incorporated in any new hardscape to increase safety and function – an important addition as we (or aging guests and relatives) get older.

Natural cleft full-range bluestone with clay paver borderUmbriano patio with Town Hall paver border, Rivercrest Wall topped with Ledgestone coping for the steps (all by Unilock)

Know when to hire a professional!

It’s best to have people familiar with the materials and experienced in best practices install your hardscape. The designers at Bruss Landscaping know what materials work best in our area and will create a paver design that matches your style and needs so your home and landscape reach their potential. To find out more about it, visit us here


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