Emerging Trends in Large Scale Patio Pavers

There’s an old saying that “bigger is better.” Although that’s quite often not true at all, in the contemporary world of outdoor living design, large scale pavers certainly are one of the hottest trends.

This phenomenon has a lot to do with the continuing evolution of what’s known in design circles as “indoor/outdoor living.” In layman’s terms, this design concept refers to outdoor living designs that are a continuation of the interior environment. For the last several years, popularity has continued to increase for larger tiles and wider wooden planks for interior flooring. Continuing this trend outdoors was a natural progression in creating designs that flow more easily from one environment to the other. And as demand for larger pavers continued to grow, a multitude of style options began to emerge.

Popular Paver Face Textures

Natural stone textures have been popular for the last several years — and continue to be so, particularly in certain regions — however, there’s a rising trend towards smoother faced pavers that offer crisp, clean lines. With the rise in porcelain pavers, there has also been an increase in woodgrain-textured pavers. This is reflective of a rise in the popularity of interior wood look porcelain tile — one of the hottest trends in interior flooring. This style offers the look of natural wood without any of the stain or maintenance worries, which is particularly beneficial in an outdoor environment.

Trends in Plank-Style Pavers

You guessed it…with an increase in woodgrain pavers, the plank shape naturally followed suit. In addition to porcelain styles, plank-style concrete pavers are also trending. With woodgrain porcelain pavers, wider planks are more popular, as they more closely mimic wooden decking and also reflect interior flooring trends. However, both wide and narrow planks are trending in the concrete styles, both in textured and smooth-face plank pavers. Plank shapes are also available in the Belgard’s versatile Moduline Series™, which offers an array of colors that allow designers to have some fun with their paver designs.

Large Scale Paver Shapes

It’s definitely hip to be square, and the larger the better. This can be seen in both slab-style pavers and numerous porcelain paver lines. Belgard regularly sees orders for sizes up to 24″ x 24″, with custom orders of porcelain pavers in even larger squares. However, large rectangles are also quite popular, which is more reflective of the current trends in interior flooring.

Laying Patterns for Large Scale Pavers

Popular pattern styles vary, depending on paver shape. With square pavers, a straight (or stacked bond) lay is most often seen, which is actually a contrast to the stagger patterns more often seen in interior flooring. Diagonal patterns are sometimes seen, too, but are not quite as popular. Rectangular and plank pavers are most often laid in a staggered running bond, but are sometimes seen in a herringbone pattern in more adventurous designs. Modular ashlar patterns are also quite popular, which incorporate multiple pavers shapes and sizes. A newly emerging trend is to entangle the pavers with the surrounding landscape, either by staggering the edge of the paver field or by using squares in a checkerboard or stepping-stone pattern.

Designing a Sustainable Outdoor Space

By Joe Raboine, Director of Residential Hardscapes

Product: Eco Dublin® permeable pavers.

The intent of outdoor and landscape design has always been to create beautiful, functional spaces for clients and homeowners. However, the industry is seeing a shift in the mindset of consumers, as more individuals learn about sustainable spaces and seek a more balanced lifestyle with nature. As the environment is spurring conversations about sustainable practices, homeowners are looking for ways to make a positive impact on both their immediate surroundings and the world as a whole.

In addition, individuals are focused on creating spaces that allow them to spend more time outdoors, which has a positive impact on their lives and overall wellness. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, which equates to less than one hour per day outside, directly impacting stress, anxiety and mental health. By creating a functional and sustainable outdoor space, we can improve our own lives, the lives of our family, friends and our local communities.

These eco-friendly and beneficial spaces can be created by considering three key elements: materials, design and plants.

Materials

Materials and products used in a project play a significant role in the overall sustainability of an outdoor space. Though they might not immediately come to mind, concrete pavers offer a number of benefits and should be considered as landscape architects and designers plan projects. The first benefit to consider is lifespan; most hardscaped outdoor spaces boasting concrete pavers can last 60 to 80 years, if installed properly. Compared to other materials, such as a wooden deck that may last 20 years, hardscapes offer longevity and reduce waste. In addition, concrete pavers are often locally sourced, which reduces transportation costs and environmental impact.

Concrete pavers are also being designed for the specific purpose of offering a sustainable design to contractors and clients. Permeable pavers hit the market decades ago, but have been used mostly in commercial applications up until recently. Now, residential builders, architects and contractors are beginning to realize the benefits for their for residential applications as well, including patios, driveways and walkways.

Permeable interlocking concrete pavers (PICP) are a system of concrete pavers with layers of varying-sized stone – or aggregate – underneath that filter and direct stormwater to underground aquifers. These pavers mimic the way natural land absorbs water; any rain that falls on the patio or walkway seeps back into the ground, reducing the burden on storm drains. Water filtration is also a benefit that many are not aware of – as rainwater hits a normal surface such as concrete or asphalt, it picks up pollution elements such as oil or gas, which in turn enters the ground water. With permeable pavers, bacteria grow within the aggregate below, which helps break down those materials and harmful toxins, filtering them out before the water goes back into the ground.

Lighting is also considered as part of a larger outdoor project, which has also made strides toward eco-friendly options. LED lighting offers a huge reduction in electricity usage. Contractors can light a typical outdoor living space for less than 100 watts of power, whereas less than 10 years ago, the same space would have required 500 watts or more.

Design

The design of a permeable paver system also lends itself to creating a more sustainable space. With enhanced techniques, a permeable paver system can be designed and installed to harvest and recycle rainwater. The collected water can then be used to water plants, wash cars or for other landscaping maintenance.

On a larger scale, biophilic design is another trend that is growing in both the commercial and residential space, as an innovative way of designing spaces where we live, work and learn. Though the concept applies more immediately to interior design – as employers seek to reconnect people with nature, which has proven health benefits – it naturally expands to a landscaped space. By including a living wall, pergola or covered patio that incorporates more greenery, the designed space creates a natural, blended transition into the outdoors. Overall, landscape design should incorporate a mix of natural and modern materials throughout a landscaped space.

Though a larger outdoor space may offer more options for creating a sustainable environment, eco-friendly design is not limited to an expansive space. For those who have smaller real estate or are perhaps restricted by homeowner’s associations, raised beds and vertical gardens are a great option. In addition, community gardens that might incorporate any of these elements are increasingly popular.

Plants

When considering a sustainable design, native plants are always a safe selection for helping the environment. As they are accustomed to the local environmental conditions, they require less water, and are easy to maintain. In addition, the local wildlife benefits from having their native plants available to support the local ecosystem. Each state’s landscape and nursery associations and university system has information readily available on ideal plants for each area of the state.

As homeowners become more educated on the benefits of creating an eco-friendly outdoor space, there are many training and educational resources available to contractors. The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) offers courses on permeable pavers and design. In addition, certain manufacturers of permeable pavers will staff engineers and experts in-house that are available for consultation while a project is being designed. Though it might be overwhelming at first to explore a new product and installation process, the educational tools needed are available, which will allow contractors to design outdoor spaces that benefit both the homeowner and the local environment.

This article was originally published on LandscapeBusiness.com. Reprinted with permission.

The Benefits of Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

When planning a paver project, it’s important to know that not all pavers are equal. When comparing concrete pavers versus brick pavers, it’s particularly essential to understand the differences between the two, and the multiple benefits of choosing concrete pavers over traditional clay brick.

Paver Sizes & Shapes

Size and Shape Benefits Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

Concrete pavers come in a tremendous variety of shapes and sizes –- from small 4″x8″ and 6″x6″ all that way up to 24” slabs, as well as irregular and plank shapes.  Clay brick pavers typically only come in 4″x8″ sizes.

Paver Finishes & Styles

Finishing Benefits Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

While brick pavers all have a similar face, concrete pavers are available in an endless array of finishes — including smooth finishes, natural stone textures, cobbled looks, antique tumbled looks and more.  Most concrete paver finishes incorporate blends of colors, and many have unique faces created with specialized aggregates.

Paver Colors

Color Benefits Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

Clay brick pavers are typically only available in a limited number of shades or color blends. However, concrete pavers are available in a wide array of hues and color blends — including warm color tones, cool color tones, deep shades, and variegated color blends. This allows for greater design flexibility and the ability to create more coordinated outdoor designs. Unlike most brick pavers, some concrete pavers also have built-in protectants to help prevent the color from fading over time.

Consistent Paver Sizes

Sizing Benefits of Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

Concrete pavers are made in a highly controlled environment, allowing for more uniformed and consistent shapes and sizes within a particular style. This allows for more efficient installation. Brick pavers can often be warped as part of the firing process, which can make installation more challenging.

Coordinating Design Elements

Coordinating Elements of Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

Concrete pavers are often designed to specifically coordinate with adjacent vertical products — such as retaining walls, outdoor kitchen and fireplace kits and fire pit kits — in terms of style, texture and color.  This makes it easier to plan coordinated outdoor living spaces. Although clay bricks can be used to construct vertical design elements, doing so is a longer, more complex masonry process.

Paver Design Flexibility

Design Benefits of Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

With brick pavers, designs are limited to running bond, herringbone and basket-weave paver laying patterns. However, with concrete pavers, the design options are endless. You can mix and match various shapes, sizes, finishes and colors to create unique outdoor living designs.

Paver Durability

Durability Benefits of Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

Clay is fairly unpredictable, and some clay bricks are prone to cracking in freeze/thaw environments. Belgard concrete pavers are manufactured to handle extreme weather conditions and come with a lifetime transferable warranty against cracking or breaking.

Introducing the Chiseled Stone Look of New Coventina Coping

Belgard’s newest hardscape product answers the call of two major design trends for outdoor living spaces: large-format materials and natural textures. Coventina™ Coping features chiseled edging, a lightly textured surface and unique color blends that emulate the look of large pieces of natural slate for a fraction of the cost. The perfect accent for a variety of trim applications, Coventina Coping can work with both contemporary and traditional designs and complements a variety of paver styles.

Stone Pool Coping

Coventina Stone Pool CopingCoventina Coping works well with traditional pavers, plank-style pavers, and contemporary porcelain pavers as an elegant chiseled stone trim for swimming pools, spas and water features. The large-format shape creates a clean stone look with a minimal number of seams.

Wall and Step Trim

Conventina Stone Wall Trim, Stone Step TrimCoventina Coping can be paired with a variety of Belgard landscape wall blocks to add a stylish finished look to multi-dimensional outdoor living design elements such as fire pits, landscaping walls, seat walls and built-in planters. Coventina Coping can also be used to create stair steps and terrace transitions. This versatility allows Coventina to be used in trim applications throughout an outdoor living design to pull the entire look together.

Natural Stone Looks

Natural Stone Coventina CopingChiseled edges, a gracefully textured stone top surface and variegated color blends combine to mimic the aesthetics found in nature.  A cost-effective alternative to natural stone, Coventina Coping emulates the look and feel of slate with the added benefits of uniform sizes, durability and slip-resistance.

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Coventina™ Coping is currently available in various markets along the East Coast and the Gulf South. Plans to expand distribution to other regions will be announced at a later date. For more information regarding availability in your local market, visit the Belgard contractor and dealer locator page.

PROJECT PROFILE: Southern California Porcelain Paver Project of the Year

Presenting the Belgard SoCal 2018 Best Porcelain Paver Project, featuring Noon Porcelain Pavers in the Ember color. The installation creates the look of interior wood flooring, yet uses durable Belgard Porcelain Pavers that won’t warp or splinter like wood are resistant to cracking, stains, mold, frost and fading. Available in two different plank sizes, this porcelain paver project uses the larger 12″x48″ planks to create an ultra-contemporary look.

Southern California Porcelain Paver Project of the Year

Created by Pacific Outdoor Living for the Pasadena Showcase House of Design, this tranquil outdoor living space is nestled in a lush mature garden adjacent to the home’s swimming pool. Bamboo sunscreens and draped awnings add to the comfort and help create a cozy space reminiscent of a Japanese garden that feels like it’s both indoors and outdoors.

An intimate sitting area features rattan and bamboo furniture that ties the look together.

porcelain pavers, rattan and bamboo furniture

A gorgeous concrete dining table doubles as a water feature, with water flowing through a rock garden down the middle of the table, creating a unique dining experience that is both communal and serene.

outdoor porcelain pavers noon

Natural rock gardens and Asian-inspired landscape lighting are incorporated throughout the space, enhancing the ambience.

wood look porcelain pavers

Best Pavers and Paver Patterns for Driveways

Chuck Taylor, Belgard National Hardscapes Advisor, is one of the nation’s foremost experts on pavement systems. He joins us on the Outdoor Living by Belgard blog this week with advice for planning paver driveways.

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A paver driveway will boost your curb appeal and improve the value of your home. But as with any other home-improvement project, there are multiple considerations including paver style, color, laying pattern and overall design. The ultimate goal, of course, is to create a beautiful entrance to your home that is durable enough to withstand the burden of vehicular use without shifting or cracking.

Driveway Paver Styles

Aqualine™ Series Permeable Driveway Pavers
Aqualine™ Series permeable pavers.

The first choice is to decide whether the driveway will be permeable or impervious. A traditional paver driveway would be impervious, but there are multiple benefits to installing a permeable paver driveway. Water will never pool on the surface and a heating system can even be installed beneath the pavers to keep snow from accumulating. Also, some states and municipalities offer grants or tax incentives for installing permeable driveway pavers because the system reduces the burden on local stormwater collection systems and helps remove pollutants to improve local water quality.

Several Belgard pavers can be installed as either permeable or impervious, including Urbana Stone®, Mega-Lafitt®, Mega-Arbel® and Bergerac®. Belgard also offers multiple permeable pavers that were designed specifically for permeable installations.

The second choice is whether to go with a traditional, contemporary or stone-textured look. Belgard offers multiple paver styles in each category. Porcelain pavers can also be used to create an ultra-contemporary look, but will require a concrete base to support vehicular loads.

Driveway Paver Laying Pattern Options

The strongest and most traditional option is a herringbone pattern set at a 45-degree angle to the garage. This laying pattern provides the best interlock to prevent the pavers from shifting, especially for higher traffic areas.

Gaining in popularity, an ashlar pattern can also be effective for both residential and heavier traffic and provides a more contemporary look.

A running bond or basketweave pattern can work for standard residential driveways, but it is recommended to avoid these types of long, straight lines for heavier traffic areas, such as commercial driveways or subdivision common areas.

For permeable paver installations, it’s best to stick with ashlar or herringbone patterns due to the larger joints, which create an increased opportunity for shifting when used with running bond or basketweave patterns.

Driveway Paver Thickness and Base

Traditionally, driveways have been constructed using 80mm (3 inch) pavers with a standard 6″ base. However, it is becoming more common practice to use a lighter 60mm (2-3/8 inch) paver with a thicker base. In rainier climates, the required base depth can be up to 12 inches because of absorbent clays that can cause soils to shift when wet. With these types of site conditions, a thin base puts pavers in danger of separating or cracking from soil shifts. A layer of geo-fabric between the soil and the aggregate layer can add extra protection from this type of shifting, but a thicker base is still recommended. In arid climates, 60mm pavers can be successfully used for driveways with only a 4 to 6 inch base, as shifting clays are not a factor.

A sound residential concrete slab driveway without foundation cracks can be overlayed with 30mm thin pavers. In many cases, DriBond™ advanced mudset can be used to facilitate the entire overlay. Another option would be to DriBond the perimeter and sand-set the primary paver field, if there’s a possibility of shifting soils. Keep in mind that an overlay will add 2.5 to 3 inches of elevation to the existing slab, which could affect transitions to the garage, home, street or walkways.

Paver Color and Border Options

This Mega-Bergerac® driveway ties in with the color tones of the roof. A border was created by using only the large stones of this 4-piece system.

Current trends lean towards choosing driveway paver colors that tie in with the roof color of the home, either in the primary paver field or in a border. Borders can be easily created by using the same paver in either a different color or different laying pattern.

Another option is to choose a contrasting paver shape, texture, color and/or style for the border. You can also create double borders or work with your contractor to develop other creative design ideas.

Paver Driveway Embellishments

Focal points can be created using pattern embellishments. Typical focal points include the driveway entrance, the garage apron, or what’s called a “carriage drop,” or the spot where someone would be dropped off adjacent to the home’s formal entrance.

Adding character to paver driveways, a circle kit creates a classic focal point for more traditional driveway. Contemporary focal points can be created using squares or rectangles. For a Romanesque look, circle kits can be used to create a fan or a fishtail design.