Walk the Walk

Okay, the first and most obvious question to a landscaper is: why choose concrete? Bottom line, some people will, and I get that. There may even be scenarios where it makes some sense, such as the main entry on a large house, where shoveling and maintenance are paramount. The trouble with concrete is: it inevitably almost always cracks, and there’s no way to fix it when it does. But if the soil conditions are quite favorable, and the pour is loaded up with reinforcing, and all the stars are in alignment… go for it. A high quality stamped and stained concrete slab, complete with adequate control joints, can be a fine addition to an entry, for example. Price-wise, this kind of job would be in the ballpark, give or take, with pavers or flagstone, although I’m not terribly current on concrete pricing.

The other options I’m very familiar with, having made a living for over 20 years installing these materials. Patterned stone is simply stone, typically NY Bluestone, cut into squares and rectangles in 6” increments. Beautiful stone to work with, beautiful results, but not many choices of stone, unfortunately. Are there other choices, yes, in a word, but on the pricey end of the scale, and I find that not many people are willing to consider them. When we move in the direction of pavers, there are two main categories: concrete and clay pavers. Concrete pavers are the overwhelming choice by a wide margin; in part, because there are so many options: color, size and shape, etc. Using concrete pavers it is possible to create a very random pattern (no pattern at all), which is a very popular look. More of a European cobblestone look. We most often work with this type of paver, using a mix of 3 or 4 sizes/shapes, in a range of color, so that the effect is anything but mono-tone. Clay pavers are also a popular choice, used less frequently, due to the cost (more), and the uniform effect.

One of my favorite materials to work with for walks and patios is flagstone, available in a wide variety of colors and varieties. Plenty of times I have used a mix or blend of two or three types of stone with overlapping color variation. Flagstone is most often used in areas that are more secondary, in terms of traffic, and perhaps don’t require shoveling. Because flagstone tends to be more uneven than concrete or pavers, it is more difficult to shovel snow from, therefore may not be the best choice for a main entry, unless you are prepared for this. When one combines large sheets of flagstone in a patio or walk in a creative and artistic way there is virtually nothing that comes close visually.