Pavers are one of the most common hardscape materials used for both private homes and business landscapes. They come in a variety of materials and colors and can be arranged to create attractive patterns.
Pavers may be a standard brick shape similar to that used on a traditional fireplace or on the outside of a home. Some people prefer rounder edges even with a brick shape, so that is an option. These bricks come in a variety of colors and a nice design can be achieved by laying out the bricks in a specific pattern, from a subtle variation in tone to a border with distinctly different colors.
Bricks are not the only material that can be used in hardscaping. Square concrete and terra cotta pavers are also available. Like bricks, these come in a variety of colors. The square may be plain or may have lines etched into it, making it appear like it is made up of several smaller squares or bricks. Square pavers come in two common sizes: 12 inches by 12 inches or 18 x 18. They can be cut to fit when a smaller size is needed.
Rectangular pavers are not limited to the standard brick. There are other stones and concrete pieces that come in a variety of sizes and colors that can be used to create your path, patio, or outdoor fireplace.
There are other types of stepping stones and pavers available including irregularly shaped stones. These may be natural stone, such as sandstone or flagstone, or they may be made from concrete designed to look like natural stone. Natural products with irregular shapes can be fit together like a jigsaw puzzle to make a beautiful patio with either a tight fit achieved by cutting the stones to fit, or a looser fit using the stones as they come from the landscape supplier.
All pavers must be properly installed. The ground must be prepared and leveled. A layer of sand is placed on top of the prepared dirt and then the stones are placed according to your design. It is important that your landscaper does not take shortcuts during the ground preparation stage. If this is not done well, over time your patio will sink or buckle resulting in a less appealing look, a potential trip hazard, a place for water to collect, and ultimately require fixing.
How tight or loose you fit the pavers is a matter of function as well as personal taste. When constructing a driveway for example, bricks are typically laid very tightly. On a pathway that is to look more natural, a loose fit is often desired, whether they are literally stepping stones through a lawn or a loose fit pathway with small mosses or other plants placed near the stones.