Written in Stone
The explosion of outdoor living spaces has brought upon many new (and old) innovative materials to create these environments. Patio and wall materials have transformed to simulate natural stone and even wood products accurately. The combination of concrete, porcelain, and natural stone has blended seamlessly and added unique standout elements to these outdoor entertainment areas.
The lure of the once highly sought-after octagonal concrete pavers of 25+ years ago has long diminished and has now been replaced multiple times over. The trends in concrete pavers and other patio materials are the larger “slab” style pavers. These pavers are readily available from many well-known manufacturers throughout our area and come in various sizes ranging from 12″ x12″ to 30″ x30″. They can either resemble natural stone with ridges and valleys (clefts) or have a very contemporary streamlined, smooth appearance. One main advantage of these manufactured concrete slabs is that they are available in numerous color blends to complement any home or business’s existing palette façade.
The relatively new kid on the block is outdoor porcelain pavers. The thought of porcelain immediately raises the question of how durable these materials can possibly be compared to their fine China and figurine relatives collecting dust in a curio cabinet somewhere. Interestingly, they are the most durable, with a psi of 38,000. This is almost five times stronger than a standard concrete paver and even more so than most natural stone. They resemble the appearance of travertine, marble, granite, and even wood planking. At only ¾” thick, they make the perfect choice for overlay applications on existing concrete bases. These incredibly strong pavers are even suitable for vehicular applications such as driveways.
Created under extreme earth pressures and processes, natural stones used today have been around for millions of years. These ancient materials are what manufacturers have been striving to emulate and capture their natural beauty. Bluestone, limestone, travertine, and granite are materials that can be seen readily used in landscape projects because of their timeless beauty and enduring nature. Natural stone makes a great choice as step treads, wall caps, and countertop accents, in addition to also using one of the other options mentioned above. Each individual stone is unique in its own way, and this will never be able to be duplicated in the manufacturing process.
Stonemasons have constructed many “Wonders of the World” throughout history, which have taken lifetimes to complete. However, today’s available hardscape materials and their ease of installation will only take a fraction of the time and allow you to create a similar “Wonder of the Neighborhood” right in your own backyard!
If you want to learn more about hardscaping materials and how we can design a beautiful outdoor space to complement your home, give us a call today at (856) 753.1944, or check out the various projects we’ve created and installed for our customers here.