Choosing a paver pattern: How to design things like a landscaper!
Pavers are an undoubted investment in your home. They are practical, stylish, and above all, do not cost much to maintain. There are quite a few options out there when it comes to pavers, and it pays to be prepared before dipping your toe into the market. This is because different paver materials offer different color options and finishes; travertine comes in shades ranging from ivory to walnuts for instance.
This is a simple guide with things to consider when coming up with your preferred design. You can make designing your patio, driveway (yes, you can design a driveway), or swimming pool area, your pet project. That way, you can play around with shades that excite you, making it easier to bring out your vision. It is important to remember that everything need not match, and you can plan your colors to complement your home. This will open up your choice of pavers, and ultimately make it easier to communicate your vision to your contractor.
Where do you start?
Once you have a rough idea of what you want to do with your patio, backyard, or driveway, the next thing is to look at is where you live. This is both in regards to weather, and aesthetics. The climate will decide which materials are best suited for you. For instance, travertine is best for warm and wet climates, while sandstone requires extra maintenance in the winter. You should also consider the installation. This is because certain natural stone pavers such as marble, are more suited to patios than on driveways. Here are a few other factors you should consider when designing your paver pattern:
Light vs Dark
Natural stone pavers come in a myriad of shades, depending on the material to be used. This is because each type of stone is unique in its composition, and different finishes bring out certain hues better. Flagstone, for instance, comes in shades of red, green, blue, and grey, while granite comes in duller shades of grey, brown and beige. What you need to remember when deciding what to go with, is that lighter shades are better at reflecting, which works better if your backyard does not receive a lot of natural light. Darker shades, on the other hand, are better for areas with all-round sunshine, since they absorb the light better. It limits the blinding effect you get when you walk out of a building on a bright sunny day.
Blending works too
Blending is a term that is used across many different industries to mean the same thing; using more than one material to create a better overall finish. Instead of sticking to a single paving option, you can combine more than one to achieve the look you are looking for. This means you can play around with combining lighter and darker shades and even different colors, to create the perfect patio. Blending lets you customize your installation to reflect different moods. For instance, natural pavers in grey or ivory such as sandstone and marble are the best for creating a relaxed feel but need to be coupled with darker shades such as found in slate, travertine, and polished granite.
Blending can sometimes be used to enhance the look with wear. This is when you use materials that complement each other when they wear over time, such as bluestone and granite. It can also be done to increase the durability of your installation. For instance, when working on your driveway, you can use cobble and granite to enhance the overall durability.
Look at the sun
It may seem like a simple thing, but the sun is a major contributor to choosing the right paver design. This is because the angle and time the sun hits your pavers, regardless of the material, affects them differently. The most important of these is the increase in temperature. Hands down, natural stone works best under a hot sun, in comparison to other alternatives such as concrete, which can be as much as 20 to 30 degrees hotter than the surrounding temperature. This means that with the air at 90 degrees, concrete can be as hot as 120 degrees, depending on the sun.
Pavers, on the other hand, handle temperatures better, with some of the hottest being at least 10 degrees cooler than concrete. Flagstone at an air temperature of 90 degrees will go up to around 112 degrees, while travertine goes to around 108 degrees. There are cooler alternatives such as shell stone which remains as cool as 94 degrees, thanks to its light color reflecting much of the heat.
It is important that although natural stone pavers wear beautifully with time, the sun is also a factor. The strength of the sun and the amount of time exposed may cause the pavers to shift in color. Blending different shades of pavers in your installation will take care of this, however.
Remember that this is your home
This might seem inconsequential, but thinking of your design as an extension of your home is important. This means that the architecture of your home will come into play. For instance, homes that are built in the Victorian style work well with paving designs that mirror the ornate design in the windows and doors. Homes that have straighter lines give you the freedom to play with geometric designs.
Remember that the shape of the pavers should also complement your home. For homes that have narrow areas, laying pavers either diagonally or horizontally will give the impression of room. Larger areas benefit from rectangular pavers if you are looking to make them feel more intimate. Installing the pavers with a barely visible boundary, and smooth transition gives an air of openness. Including other elements in your design such as borders helps you frame your landscaping excellently.
Above all, vet your contractor well before beginning. You need to be sure that they will deliver quality work, and work to bring your dream to fruition.