When creating an inviting outdoor space, hardscaping with concrete or pavers will help define the place and make it easier to use. From paths to patios, hardscaping provides a durable foundation that you can enjoy for years to come. But how do you choose between pavers and poured concrete? Both are great options, although there are some things to consider, ranging from your personal style to how the area will be used. Here’s a handy guide to help walk you through the decision process.
Style and Taste
Poured concrete offers a clean look, is easy to maintain and can fit your style depending on the shape and the other landscape design elements. Concrete can also provide a blank slate for your evolving taste, giving you the flexibility to change the style of your outdoor room over time.
Pavers are made from natural stone, brick or concrete and come in a variety of colors, shapes and textures and offer almost unlimited design options. Pavers made from natural stone (or pavers manufactured to resemble natural stone) can even provide variation of texture and color within the same batch. Design options are not limited to the paver itself, but also how it’s placed. Interlocking herringbone patterns, subway tile style or spaced pavers separated by ornamental plants can evoke traditional, modern or cozy feels.
Like the easy maintenance qualities of concrete but want a design element similar to pavers? Consider stamped concrete. This method can provide the interest and texture of pavers at a lower price.
Durability and Maintenance
Both concrete and pavers are durable materials that withstand the elements. However, due to the inevitable wear-and-tear, invasive tree roots, or earth shifting over time, there will be some maintenance needed eventually.
Because pavers move independently, individual pavers shift with the earth without cracking or damaging, and individual pavers are easy to replace at minimal cost and labor. On the other hand, shifting pavers can also create an uneven surface that may affect the stability of patio furniture such as tables and chairs.
How (and Who) Will Use Your Outdoor Space
Finally, consider who will be using the outdoor space. Concrete provides a smoother surface for loved ones using canes, walkers or wheelchairs and a level space for little ones using wheeled vehicles or strollers. Given the flexible, interlocking nature of pavers, slight height variations may emerge between pavers over time as the pieces shift with the earth. The pros and cons of a variated versus smooth surface varies with each families individual needs.
Ready to start enjoying your outdoor space sooner rather than later? Poured concrete makes for quicker installation, although the concrete does require time to cure before use. Pavers require more labor at installation, however, paths and patios made with pavers are ready to use immediately after installation. All in all, it’s best to look at the big picture when comparing concrete versus pavers for your outdoor space.