You know the house, the one with the beautiful landscaping. Every time you drive by it, you wish your home looked like that. Well, now it can. Create attractive walkways, patios, and flowerbeds by using pavers.
What are Pavers
Pavers are stone, brick, or plastic slabs that are placed over a prepared foundation to create a long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing focal point in your home’s landscape. Used mostly for walkways and patios, pavers can also be used to outline flowerbed, build low stone walls, and create outdoor cooking spaces.
Pavers can be made from natural stone or factory-made. They are available in many shapes, sizes, and colors that can be manipulated in a variety of ways to create unusual patterns or designs.
Natural stone pavers
Stone pavers come from quarries and are offer many variations in shape, size, texture, and color. These natural stones are dug from quarries and the large pieces are cut into slabs with a special wet saw. The slight color differences throughout the stones and the unusual patterns created by mineral deposits create attractive patios and walkways. Additionally, some natural stones are non-slip, making them perfect for patios and pool decks.
Flagstone is the most common natural paver. These thin, golden color rocks come in many unique shapes and colors, allowing the designer to create intricate patterns when laying them. Flagstone is naturally occurring in most locations. It has a unique non-slip surface and people desire it for use around swimming pools. Flagstone can be cut to shapes, but it more desirable when the natural shapes are fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Many older cities still have cobblestone streets. That’s how long lasting and strong it is. These naturally occurring rocks are usually found in river beds and often have slightly rounded corners caused by water erosion. Cobblestones come in a variety of brown and red tones and make an attractive walkway or patio. They do require frequent washing, as algae can attract to the surface and cause it to become slippery. Simply wash the walkway with a stiff brush and very mild soap once a week or so. Cobblestones can be mortared together or placed on a sand foundation.
Bluestone is a variety of sandstone that has an attractive bright blue color. Over time, with exposure to sunlight, the blue fades to a purplish-grey color. This distinct color makes bluestone very desirable as a paving stone. It is most commonly laid in large thin slabs, but can be cut into more uniform tiles shapes. Because of its popularity, bluestone is quite expensive.
Another expensive, but highly desired paver is marble. Marble is actually a variety of limestone that has been crystallized by applying intense heat and pressure. It is this crystallization process that creates the unique designs and tones that each piece has. Marble is prized for its smooth, highly polished look. It is extremely durable, but can be easily stained. For that reason, it is not recommended for patios.
More commonplace among landscapers and homeowners, pavers made from brick, concrete, and plastic are less expensive and more readily available. They come in a variety of colors and shapes and can be used to create stunning designs.
Brick is created from pressure and heat-treated clay. The raw clay is combined with sand, silica, and other materials, then formed and baked. The clay material can be tinted any color, so many varieties of bricks are available. Bricks are inexpensive and easy to place. They can be placed side by side, in intricate patterns such as herringbone and chevron, or curved. One downfall of using brick is the fragility of the material. Chipping and cracking are not uncommon with bricks.
Concrete pavers are made by combining sand, crushed stone, cement powder, coloring, and water in large mixers. The material is then placed in a machine that shoots a pre-measured amount into a mold. A press then compacts the mixture, forcing out bubbles and open spaces. This results in a more uniform, long-lasting paver. Because coloring is added, concrete pavers can be created to match the exterior of your home. Many different shapes are also available due to the wide variety of mold shapes in use.
Relatively new to the market, plastic pavers are attractive, long-lasting, and eco-friendly. Made from shredded, recycled plastic melted with scalding water, plastic pavers are lightweight and inexpensive. After the recycled plastic is melted, it is combined with soil and other ingredients, then placed in molds to dry. A variety of shapes and colors is available.
Laying your Pavers
Now that you have chosen the type of pavers you want, you need to prepare the area where you will put them. Mark the outline of the walkway or patio you are creating. Remove all the grass and debris and level the ground. Compact it tight with a weighted roller or a compacting hammer. Then spread a thick layer of fine sand, approximately two to three inches deep. Place the pavers one at a time in the desired location. Use an appropriate tool, like the GRABO Nemo, to put them in place. This suction vacuum lifter will attach to the flat surface of the paver and allow you to lift it and lower it without hurting your back or fingers.
The machine has one-button operation and allows you to easily carry even the heaviest pavers to the desired location. With a lifting capacity of 375 pounds, and the ability to attach securely to rough, porous surfaces, the GRABO is the perfect tool for placing pavers. It is completely battery operated so you can move the pavers over long distances if necessary without worrying about generators or extension cords. The device only weighs 3.3 pounds and has a comfortable, ergonomic handle. After carrying the paver to the location, detach the suction device by pushing one button.
After all the pavers have been put in place, sweep any excess sand into the cracks, and seal the openings with mortar or more loose sand.