Brick and Stone Offer Distinctive, Long-Lasting Paver Materials
By Dean Marsico
If you are an outdoor designer, architect, or stone mason who has worked for some time in our business, you have learned that no two jobs are ever the same. When it comes to masonry designs, our customers are always interested in what is new or hip. Our business has grown at such a fast pace that it is very important to be aware of any new product or techniques of installation, since they make us better at what we do.
We all want our own personal signatures on our jobs, which is what separates us from our competitors. Our work ends up being a reflection of ourselves, which is why masonry design is always so personal. We want to be the best we can be, no matter the size of the job we are undertaking.
I have been lucky enough to have installed and designed many jobs around the country, working with many different products in many different climates. The harsh winters here in Boston limit my options, while the choices in warmer states such as Arizona, Florida and California seem almost endless.
We all have our favorites when it comes to the products we choose. I think the majority of us can agree that there is nothing like stone or brick when it comes to paving. You will never hear me talk negatively about concrete pavers, stamped concrete, or any other products used in outdoor designs around the country. As a matter of fact, concrete pavers have been a huge part of the growth of our business. Their quality has come a long way and they serve a great purpose in both residential and commercial designs.
If I am working with a customer who is looking for a classic or a higher-end look, there is nothing like stone or brick paving. Stone paving can give you a rustic, old-world feel, especially when you are doing irregular flagging. A great balance of sizes, shapes and colors with consistent joints is an incredible look for an English garden at a country estate, small patio at a cottage or a large outside entertainment area on an oceanfront property.
Stone paving can also be used for a contemporary look. When you use stones cut to square and rectangular shapes — what we call pattern stock — they have a consistent thickness and gauged bottoms. During installation, you can use all the same size pieces, or a patterned design with different sizes. These installs will have very clean, straight lines and will be the star of the show on any job, large or small, commercial or residential.
Brick pavers seem to be getting ignored lately. I cannot tell you how many times I have to talk customers into using brick pavers for walkways and patios. For older homes anywhere in the Northeast, brick should be the first consideration for front walkways. My favorites are the old-looking or “tumbled” brick that have been beat up a little or have rounded edges. When you choose these brick pavers for your design, they can make patios and walkways feel like they are very old and still look neat.
Brick pavers with uniform, clean edges are perfect for contemporary designs. They can be stunning, especially when set in different patterns such as herringbone or basketweave. Another great character of brick is that they are perfect for curved walkways. Is there anything nicer than a long, curved, brick walkway leading to the front entryway, with some plantings along the side and maybe a little touch of outdoor lighting?
Stone or brick, your choice. They will last a very long time, and get better with age. I wish I could say the same about me!