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Large or Small Pavers - Which Size Makes Sense for Your Outdoor Project?

The vast selection of pavers is dizzying. There are colors, materials and different styles to choose from, and then there’s the size. Should you go with large or small pavers for your outdoor project? The choice comes down to a few factors: the size and shape of your space, the ambience you want to create, and the purpose of your pavers.

Size and shape

In general, the size of paver stones should relate to the size of the area you are paving. Perhaps you have a small patio area that is irregular in shape. Smaller pavers give you greater design flexibility and can make an intimate patio feel more spacious. On the other hand, larger pavers have a heavier footprint, which when installed in a smaller area, can actually make it feel closer.

If you have an expansive patio or pool deck area, large format pavers will give you a clean, sleek appearance. A large paver such as Beacon Hill Flagstone XL has fewer jointing lines to break up the surface, thereby making your patio or pool deck appear more expansive. Then, a jointing sand can be chosen to match or complement the shade of the paver.

The direction of the laying pattern can also affect the perception of the length or breadth of the area. For example, if large rectangular pavers are laid in a running bond or stack bond laying pattern in the same direction as a narrow space, the hardscape can seem even longer and narrower, whereas running the pattern crossways can make it appear shorter and wider.

Intimate or elegant?

To create an intimate, tranquil setting, small pavers are a beautiful choice. A fine example is Unilock Courtstone pavers, which are designed to resemble the worn cobblestones of quaint, old-world European village streets. Or consider the Mattoni paver, ideal for curved garden paths and patios with country gardens. When laid in a herringbone pattern, where jointing lines are highly visible and run in multiple directions, the space can be given the illusion of appearing smaller and cozy.

Large-format pavers bring a clean, elegantly classic aesthetic to the outdoor living space without distracting the eye from outdoor features or furniture. Larger slab pavers like Umbriano are simplistic and uncomplicated for sleek, modern projects.

Purpose and practicality

Sometimes, the purpose of your paver project influences your choice of paver size.

If you’re building a patio or driveway on loamy or silty soil, you may have some frost heaving. Smaller pavers deliver a more flexible surface so they are less prone to damage caused by the movement of the ground beneath it.

Smaller pavers also have a higher load-bearing capacity, which makes them more practical for driveway applications. However, larger format pavers may still work for driveways with the use of a geogrid system, such as the Unilock DriveGrid System. The DriveGrid System stabilizes the base to reduce settling and rutting, and limit the amount of displacement that occurs.

If you’re planning an outdoor kitchen or a dining area, opt for the practicality of large-format pavers. They clean up beautifully, and the larger paver provides a smoother, stable base on which to move furniture like dining chairs.

For your pool deck, ask for large pavers with safe, non-slip surfaces that are cool to the touch to avoid scorching tender feet. Umbriano pavers resist the absorption of summer heat to keep bare feet comfortable, and the slip-resistant surface prevents falls even when the deck is wet.

Your pavers are the foundation for your outdoor living space. No matter what size you decide on – small or large – make sure that it suits the intended purpose, fits the personality of the space, adds to the ambience and provides many years of carefree enjoyment. A professional landscape contractor like a Unilock Authorized Contractor can help you pick the paver format that makes sense for your unique hardscaping project.