Your landscape design is never set in stone, especially when you have so many types to pick from
Your lawn, flower beds, and shrubs may like to steal the landscape spotlight, but it's the paved elements of your yard that pull the whole look together. Pavers ensure that the most important surfaces of your yard remain durable, safe, and stylish—and they come in a long list of customizable varieties.
If you're not sure where to start your paver purchasing journey, take a look at these 10 popular picks for patios, driveways, and walkways.
What Are Pavers?
Pavers are blocks of natural and manufactured stone that line the hardscape elements of a property such as patios, walkways, driveways, and poolscapes. Unlike poured concrete, the pavers fit together individually like a puzzle and lie on top of gravel and sand, mortar, or a concrete slab.
The benefits of pavers are numerous—from durability to stain resistance—and you can choose a paver best for your specific style, use, and how much you want to spend. Pavers cost anywhere between $8 and $50 per square foot including installation, so your final bill widely ranges based on which one you pick.
Pavers come in a wide range of shapes, from interlocking hexagons to large, natural slabs that are all unique. And depending on the type of pavers, you'll find both DIY installation options and stones best left to professional hardscape experts near you.
The right paver for your project will come down to:
Cost of materials and installation
Durability and weight resistance, such as with driveways
Drainage and water retention, including slickness when wet
Color and style
Reaction to stains and cleaning materials
Let's walk through the most common materials and design options for pavers for the major hardscape areas of your yard.
Types of Pavers by Material
Begin by narrowing down your top favorite paver materials based on their natural or synthetic makeup. Installation and texture options may vary from stone to stone, but this list will help you choose the right durability, color, and general price point for your yard.
1. Natural Stone Pavers
Some of the most popular hardscape pavers come naturally from the earth. They reflect the unique natural hues from your landscape and typically vary from piece to piece. Top natural stone options include:
Homeowners typically prefer natural pavers in their rustic, uneven state. They are either laid in sand or mortar over concrete, but due to their weight and fragility, are best left to the professionals to install.
Most natural stones are also resistant to water and heat, so you can use them in high-slip areas such as around the pool. Their strength makes them strong enough for driveways as well.
On the flip side, natural stone pavers are typically more expensive than some manufactured styles, coming in at $15 to $50 per square foot. The cost often depends on how accessible the stone is in your area.
2. Brick Pavers
Brick pavers add a rich, deep earth tone to the facade of your home, increasing your curb appeal in the process. Brick either comes in its natural form as heated clay or as concrete and is dyed to look like the original. Natural brick pavers cost between $10 and $20 per square foot.
Brick pavers provide an incredibly strong and durable base for driveways, patios, and walkways. And while they can fade in the sun over time, speak with a local patio company about brick sealants.
It's important to seek an expert's help when laying brick pavers, as they can shift and crack over time, especially in high-use areas. They are also not as slip-resistant as other materials.
3. Concrete Pavers
You'll find individual concrete pavers, as well as what's known as "stamped" concrete—or laid concrete stamped into a pattern to give the appearance of pavers. Concrete is one of the most budget-friendly options on our list, coming in at $8 to $15 per square foot.
You'll have your pick of colors, shapes, and textured concrete pavers due to their moldability. However, concrete is not very permeable, so your contractor must lay out the pavers to encourage proper drainage. Like brick, add a sealant to retain its color and protect it against stains.
4. Porcelain Pavers
Porcelain comes from highly heated clay-like raw materials. Its extreme durability makes it a star for both kitchen counters and hardscape pavers. Porcelain is nearly impermeable to water, so it won't stain easily if you use them around the grill and won't grow mildew in a particularly humid year. Porcelain is also very durable for high-traffic areas and keeps its beauty when properly sealed.
Keep in mind that porcelain comes with a high price tag, averaging $35 per square foot. It is also not appropriate for DIY installation, as it can break and crack easily during the cutting and laying process.
Rubber pavers are coming up in the world. Typically made of recycled materials, this is both an eco-friendly and user-friendly option. High-traffic areas for kids and active families enjoy its shock absorbency, slip resistance, and how easy it is to clean. You can also switch out a rubber paver more easily than solid stone.
Rubber pavers are not the best option for your driveway due to their lower durability. They're also not ideal for the front of your home or another area you're hoping to make a stylish statement. They are, however, quite cost-friendly, averaging just $6 to $11 per square foot.
Types of Pavers by Style
Once you choose your favorite paver material, you'll have the chance to choose several unique finishes and construction styles. These extra perks aid in how pavers drain water, handle the weight of your car, or create a more slip-resistant surface when walking around your patio.
Many brick and concrete pavers come in interlocking shapes. Their unique structure makes them fit together like a puzzle piece, giving proper drainage and extreme stability against the weight of your car or an outdoor kitchen. If you need to replace a damaged tile or access the early below for plumbing work, the interlocking tiles pop out more easily than stone slabs, making installing interlocking pavers much easier.
Tumbled pavers are just as they sound—they've been tumbled around slowly in a mixer for an extended period of time. In the end, the edges of the pavers become more naturally worn down, giving them a more unique appearance from stone to stone.
Designers can show off their unique artistic touch with a range of texturing effects. Not only does this provide a one-of-a-kind style, but it also makes stones and pavers less slippery after an afternoon rainstorm. Choose from a lightly chiseled look, select a range of edge styles, or even choose highly textured stones to give your landscape that "middle of the woods" feel.
Save a bit of money with an untextured stone style that has the least amount of alterations. While these options can be a bit more slippery, they do provide a uniform look for a smooth and clean driveway or patio.
Most importantly, choose a paver that can withstand the unique needs of the surface. Patio, driveway, and pool deck pavers need to start up to water, weight, and usage in different ways, though this will vary depending on where you live and how you use your outdoor space. Narrowing down these extensive paver options can be tricky at first, so reach out to a local landscape design company to finish off your delicately balanced outdoor look.