The first segmental paving projects were roadways built by the Minoans in 5000 BC from (of course) natural stone. Today, similar dry-set segmental techniques create beautiful outdoor surfaces including driveways, patios, sidewalks, pool decks, and any other project one can imagine. Natural stone options include materials both locally quarried and imported from around the world. Manufactured options have dramatically evolved over the last decade to both recreate the look and feel of natural stone as well as introduce entirely different colors, textures and shapes.
Today, you face a vast selection of materials from which to build your new outdoor living project. Manufactured products come in shapes as traditional as a 4×8 brick, as complex as simulated irregular flagstone. Colors range from solids to blends to tri-colors in shades designed to complement the natural outdoor environment. Textures include smooth, dimpled, rippled, weathered, wavy, non-slip, and simulated stone. The options are sometimes overwhelming.
Due to the weight of concrete-based materials and the resulting cost of transportation, manufacturers serve a regional geography based on the location of their manufacturing plants. Consequently, the manufacturers we are familiar with in Eastern Pennsylvania / New Jersey / New York / Delaware will most likely be unknown in, for example, the Midwest. Locally, major brands include EP Henry, Techo-Bloc, and CST.
It is hard to imagine that you could not find a manufactured product that you would love. But, remember, there is still, centuries later, natural stone. Each geographical area has its unique natural stone options. In the Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania bluestone, also known as flagstone, is most common and popular. A flagstone quarry produces different types of material as the quarry becomes deeper and denser. The layers of a flagstone quarry produce wall stone, garden path, irregular flagstone, natural clef pattern flagstone, gauged thermal flagstone, tread stock, and steps. Colors vary from quarry to quarry; color veins that run through Pennsylvania bluestone include classic blue gray but even more popular is “full color” which includes greens, browns, taupe, rust and lilac.
Although beautiful, flagstone is more difficult to implement than manufactured products and can become quite hot in direct sunlight. A beautiful alternative to local flagstone is travertine. A marble-like product, travertine is formed from water with high mineral content running through sand and limestone. It is not native to the United States but is imported from countries such as Turkey and Peru. Inexpensive in its native country, travertine is relatively expensive in the U.S. Its compelling features include a natural marbled color patterns, and consistently cool surface.
Other natural stone alternatives include granite, cobblestone, sandstone, and a huge variety of imported materials.
The key factors in selecting your patio material include: color, texture, shape, cost, availability, ease of installation, and, of course, your taste!
*Woodward Landscape Supply is an Authorized Dealer for: EP Henry Company, Techo-Bloc Corporation, Versa-Lok, Kennedy Concrete, CST Pavers. Visit our website for more information on Hardscaping materials we offer for your Hardscape Design Landscaping.