Often times when homeowners are working with contractors to plan and design the outdoor living spaces of their home, choosing materials can be one of the toughest parts. When tackling the hardscape elements of the landscape design—that is the hard surfaces like driveways, patios, and walkways—it’s often common to see folks break down into two groups; natural stone or concrete pavers. But what if you didn’t have to choose just one product category for your home? What if you could take advantage of what each has to offer and it could still all work together? Well, you’re in luck because natural stone and concrete pavers can be combined to create truly unique and special outdoor living spaces – and many Toms River, NJ residents are taking advantage.
Natural stone offers a timeless look and feel that is difficult to emulate with other products. The soft, muted blue-green hues of flagstone and bluestone are just so classic in the landscape design of yesterday and today. Natural stone is durable and if installed correctly, performs very well for pedestrian traffic in the NJ climate.
But natural products do have a few aspects that can be of concern for today’s homeowner. Because it is, well, natural, there can be a lot of variation in color, size, shape, and quality. For large projects using many pallets of material, this variation can cause certainly cause some hiccups along the way. Another shortcoming of traditional natural stone is the lack of guarantee. (Learn why Natural Stone from Unilock comes with a lifetime guarantee). The same elements that make natural stone desirable are the very same ones that make it difficult to offer a controlled warranty. Lastly, there are some limitations for where you would want to install a natural product like bluestone—it can get very hot to the touch making it less than ideal for a pool deck, for instance. Driveways also pose a challenge as vehicle traffic can be too harsh for common 2” thick bluestone squares and rectangles.
A very popular choice for landscape contractors and homeowners alike today are concrete pavers. With advances in technology and manufacturing capabilities, pavers are now available in a host of sizes, textures, and colors. The design possibilities are truly endless, and when compared to natural stone, pavers offer greater flexibility. Because concrete pavers are a manufactured product, increased dimensional accuracy and color consistency is a major plus. Homeowners can select a product and be confident that their project will look like the display they visited in the design phase. Pavers are extremely strong—Unilock’s Ultima Concrete Technology is 4x stronger than poured concrete—and they come backed by a manufacturer guarantee. In fact, Unilock offers a transferrable lifetime warranty on their products.
While the benefits of concrete pavers may be clear and plentiful, there is no doubt that there are situations where natural stone is a better choice. It goes back to the timeless, classic look of real stone. There are some regions in NJ where pavers would just seem out of place in the landscape and natural stone is preferred by some townships.
Combining the Two
Utilizing both natural stone products and concrete pavers in the same project offers huge benefits in both performance and aesthetics. When doing so, it is important to select the right combination of products to ensure design cohesion. For instance, a residential driveway built using Unilock’s Richcliff paver would look terrific meeting up with a front entryway with a bluestone walkway and natural fieldstone garden walls. For even more incredible character, consider mixing natural stone and pavers on the same patio or walkway. A bluestone patio borders with Unilock’s Courtstone or Copthorne pavers offers a classic style with a contemporary twist.
The bottom line? Don’t feel like you’re stuck choosing one material for your hardscape. Your Tom’s River home can benefit greatly from combining both pavers and natural stone in it’s landscape design. For help with ideas or completing your project, contact a Unilock Authorized Contractor.