Brick, stone, cement—there’s an endless array of materials to choose from when it comes to building a patio or walkway. But which one is best for your home? Contributing editor Eddie Ross asked his own gardening guru Nathan Tuno of Roots Landscape to help demystify the options.
When you envision an old-fashioned cobblestone street, granite-colored Belgian block is most likely what comes to mind. But cobblestones come in a wide array of varieties from rusty red to strié. They’re a classic complement to historic homes.
Available in a veritable rainbow of hues, bricks can go old-school, modern or anything in between. Reclaimed bricks are a great way to add instant age to any yard, while clean-lined gray ones are right at home in a contemporary setting. Brick veneer offers an easy way to get the look of brick without committing to a heavy-duty masonry project.
Man-made cement pavers vary greatly in quality and appearance. “The great thing is that they’re affordable, and if you get a little creative with how you use them, they look just a chic as using bluestone or brick,” says Tuno.
Also commonly referred to as flagstone or slate, this gray stone is a favorite for patios. For modern landscape design, Tuno recomments the clean-lined look of thermal-cut bluestone (which is free of discolorations or jagged edges); cleft bluestone has a chipped appearance that’s more rustic. Irregular-shaped bluestone works well for pathways or patios where grass can grow in between the joints.
For the most bang for your buck, Ross and Tuno suggest edging your walkway or patio in brick or stone and then filling in the center with pea gravel. If you eventually decide to invest in paving the entire thing, the gravel can be easily dug up.