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.

 

PROJECT PROFILE: Southern California Paver Driveway of the Year

Presenting the Belgard SoCal Driveway of the Year featuring Old World Paver™ in the Victorian color blend and Techniseal® NextGel™ Polymeric Sand in Sierra Gray. Over 5,000 SF of pavers went into this San Diego residence. The installer – Jay Erdos of Tuscany Pavers – did a fabulous job of matching the contour of the driveway. It’s also worth mentioning that the white chips in the polymeric sand are actually crushed marble that was hand-crushed and hand-placed to emulate the ancient streets of Pompeii, per the homeowner’s request.

Click below to see close-ups of project images.

Front and Backyard Transformations of the HGTV® Dream Home 2018

Again this year, Belgard is proud to be a sponsor of the HGTV® Dream Home 2018. Located in Gig Harbor, Washington, this year’s home is a contemporary waterfront retreat overlooking the picturesque Henderson Bay, an inlet of Puget Sound.

As the official hardscapes sponsor, Belgard is excited to walk you through the dramatic transformation of the home’s outdoor living areas, which now includes multiple entertaining zones overlooking the spectacular view.

Front Yard – Before

Front Yard – After

The home received a tremendous upgrade to its curb appeal. The disjointed driveway and entryway landing were demolished and replaced with an an attractive, eco-friendly permeable paver system. Urbana® Stone permeable pavers were laid in a modular ashlar pattern to complement the contemporary architecture. The new permeable paver system will allow rainwater to infiltrate through the joints and percolate through a bed of aggregate and into the ground below. This will not only provide a safer environment by keeping water from pooling on the surface, it will also help remove impurities from any infiltrated water to help reduce pollution to the local receiving waterways. To add even more curb appeal, the driveway was trimmed with a border of Avalon Slate pavers in a contrasting darker color. Both Urbana Stone and Avalon Slate pavers have a natural stone texture, which coordinates well with the surrounding wooded landscape.

Photo: David A. Land

The design team also removed the aging raised planter bed and constructed a new planter bed using Belair Wall® 2.0 retaining wall, which features a rustic chiseled stone texture. Quarziti 2.0 porcelain pavers were used to add an elegant, finished look to the entryway landing to complement the new glass doorway and angular portico.

Photo: Thomas Espinoza Photography
backyard before
Backyard after

The deteriorating retaining walls and wooden deck were demolished and replaced. Belair Wall® 2.0 provided the structure for a low-maintenance vertical garden of native plants, and a new covered composite deck was built, which includes a waterfront dining area and a stairway down to a lower landing on the water’s edge.

Photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

Urbana® Stone walkways now lead from the deck and back patio to a newly constructed fire pit paver patio. The fire pit, as well as a nearby seat wall, were constructed with rustic Belair Wall® 2.0. The paver patio and walkways are trimmed with an Avalon Slate border to provide a cohesive look that ties in with the color of the deck and the look of the driveway, thus creating a continuous design throughout the entirety of the home’s exterior.

Photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography
Back patio before

back patio after

The existing concrete of the back patio was overlaid with Quartziti 2.0 porcelain pavers to coordinate with the entryway and provide an elegant transition from the interior spaces to the outdoor living spaces. Belair Wall® 2.0 provided the structure for a built-in stainless grill.

Photo: David A. Land

For more information on the HGTV Dream Home 2018, including an aerial video of the exterior, design videos, and photos of the interior transformation of the home, click here.

To enter for a chance to win this spectacular home, click here.

Permeable Paver Driveways: Beautiful in Form and Function

Beautiful Driveways with Permeable Pavers
Pavers: Subterra Stone®
permeable paver driveway beautiful
Pavers: Eco Dublin®

Beautiful driveways don’t have to compromise functionality and form. The use of permeable pavers in driveway construction is growing exponentially across the country, particularly in areas with water use restrictions or strict stormwater management guidelines. Not only do permeable pavers boost your curb appeal, they also positively impact the environment by decreasing stormwater runoff and improving the water quality of local waterways.

Beautiful Driveway with Aqualine Pavers
Pavers: Aqualine™ Series

How, you ask? It’s ingeniously simple, actually. Permeable pavers are installed over a gradient bed of aggregate, with tiny aggregate filling the joints between each paver. As rainwater falls onto the pavers (or drains onto the pavers from another surface), the water percolates through the paver joints and down through the base materials below. There, the water is filtered by the aggregates, removing a number of pollutants before the water makes it’s way into the groundwater supply or returns to local waterways. The rising trend is to incorporate an underground cistern with a pump under the paver system so that the filtered water can be captured and recycled. A number of states and municipalities offer grants or tax incentives for these types of rainwater harvesting systems. The recycled water can be used for irrigation, water features, or other greywater uses. So in addition to providing functional benefits, permeable pavers can also make for stunningly beautiful driveways.

Subterra Stone Steep Driveway Beautiful
Subterra Stone® improved the safety of this steep driveway.

Constructing a driveway with permeable pavers can also provide a number of other solutions for homeowners. For example, for steep driveways, permeable paver construction is safer during rainy weather conditions than traditional impervious surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt, because rain can permeate through pavers instead of pooling on the surface, thus improving traction.

heated paver installation for driveways
Illustration of heated paver installation.

In areas prone to heavy snow, a heating system can also be installed under the sand base of the pavers so that snow or icy rain immediately melts and drains away, eliminating snow shoveling or ice accumulation. The sand acts as a buffer between the pavers and the coils, preventing damage from any shifting caused by automotive traffic.

Creating Interesting Driveways with Paver Patterns

If you’re looking for a way to create unique curb appeal for your home, a paver driveway can present endless opportunities to add flair and individual personality to the entrance of your home through the use of various color combinations and laying patterns. This week’s blog will illustrate a few ideas for creating eye-catching driveway designs with paver patterns.

Bergerac Fan Design The intricate fantail design above was created using the hand-cobbled look of Bergerac® pavers and adds a whimsical touch to this elegant driveway.

Contrasting colors of Urbana® Stone pavers were used to create a contemporary design of interlocking geometric shapes for the parking pad of the driveway above, as well as add a striking border to both the drive and garden bed.

Mega Bergerac Angles

Contrasting patterns of Mega-Bergerac® pavers add interesting detail to the driveway above. The main field of the driveway utilized a four-piece random pattern laid at a 45-degree angle. The border was created by laying only the rectangular piece in a double soldiers course.

Natural Look Mega ArbelFor the above driveway, irregular-shaped Mega-Arbel® pavers were used to create a natural flagstone look that seamlessly coordinates with the surrounding picturesque landscape. To add a tailored feel, the pavers were edged with stamped concrete stained in a contrasting color.

Different paver products can also be combined to create visual interest or coordinate with architectural detail. For the above driveway, Mega Lafitt™ pavers offer a cut stone texture and were chosen for the main field in a color that mimics the stone veneer of the home. A contrasting color of Urbana® Stone creates a striking border and mimics the color of the brick.

This contemporary driveway uses a modular ashlar pattern of Rinn™ Medino® pavers, augmented with a custom carriage drop design consisting of a double Bergerac® Circle inlaid with a mosaic stair created using the Rinn™ Medino® pavers.

This eco-friendly driveway also uses an ashlar pattern, but it’s laid at a 45-degree angle to create more visual interest. The permeable Eco Dublin® pavers are used in contrasting colors with a triple border and inlaid stripes to create an ultra-contemporary vibe.

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For more eco-friendly driveway ideas, read our blog on Permeable Paver Driveways.

How to Make a Grand Entrance

JWLDublinCeltic004
This tiered walkway was created using a combination of pavers and wall products. The classic smooth Dublin Cobble® pavers were laid in one pattern and edged with another to provide a subtle contrast. Celtik® Wall was used to build flower boxes and add a European look to the step edging.

As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. From the moment guests pull up to your driveway, they begin to get a sense of your personality. The colors, textures, and materials you choose for your landscaping, driveway, and front walk can express as much about you as the architecture of your home.

When it comes to making a grand entrance to your home, there are a number of factors to consider.

Longevity

Pavers are definitely the way to go if you want a look that’s going to last. Concrete and asphalt will crack over time due to pressure and settling. With a paver drive or walkway, the physics are different, and cracking is rare. However, if a single paver does crack, you can replace it without issue. Once a concrete or asphalt driveway cracks, you’re stuck with unsightly blemishes that continue to worsen, even if you patch them, unless you break up and re-pour an entire section — a costly process that is both labor and time-intensive, and still looks out of place.

You should also consider longevity when designing the landscaping for your entrance. Even if you’re the type of person who likes to see new colors and textures in your yard with each season, you will want some perennials, trees, and bushes that will remain constant to give your yard a mature look. Before planting these, make sure to know the typical growth patterns for these plants for your climate and sunlight patterns. Otherwise, you’ll end up having to spend a lot of time digging up and moving plants that grew in an unexpected way.

Creativity

 Pavers can be hand-cut to create serpentine paths or add geometric shapes and designs. A circle of Cambridge Cobble was added to the design of this Old World paver driveway to create a grand entrance that begins at the property gate.
Pavers can be hand-cut to create serpentine paths or add geometric shapes and designs. A circle of Cambridge Cobble® was added to the design of this Old World Paver™ driveway to create a grand entrance that begins at the property gate.

This is the fun part. Whether you prefer a classic look, contemporary lines, or old-world country charm, don’t be afraid to get creative. A popular trend today is the multidimensional garden. Layer your garden with rows of plants that will grow to different heights, with taller bushes to the back and smaller colorful plants towards the front. You can also add dimension with retaining wall block that can be used to create plant boxes, vertical gardens, pillars, and tiered walkways.

Consider the pattern integration of your design, as well. Just as you can integrate patterns into your garden with plant colors and textures, you can also create patterns with your hardscapes. Pattern integration can be simple, such as trimming a walkway with a different color paver, or by alternating paved sections. Or, the pattern can be a complex design of swirls or shapes inside the paved area.

This Subterra permeable paver driveway not only creates a sophisticated entrance to the stately colonial brick home, it quickly drains water ensuring the safety of the steep drive in the heaviest of rainfalls.
This Subterra® Stone permeable paver driveway not only creates a sophisticated entrance to the stately colonial brick home, it quickly drains water, ensuring the safety of the steep drive in the heaviest of rainfalls.

Sustainability

If environmental consciousness is a priority, grand entrances can include a variety of environmental options, including the use of permeable pavers. Permeable pavers come in a array of colors and styles that help reduce pollution and stormwater runoff. A permeable paver system can even be designed to capture stormwater to reuse for garden irrigation.