It’s finally the time of year to spend time in the outdoors. If your patio isn’t quite ready yet, it’s time to get started making it ready for you, your family and your guests to enjoy. Summer doesn’t last too long here in Maine, and you don’t want to miss it.
Do you already have a patio that needs updating, or are you starting with just your backyard? If you’re not sure where to begin or what options you have for patio paving, we’ve got a few for you to consider.
The gold standard for any kind of paving (patio paving included), concrete is fairly easy and inexpensive to create and install. Concrete can be made to accommodate any landscape’s layout and shape. But for concrete to have some visual interest, you’ll need to put some thought into it, or you’ll end up with a plain, grey and uninteresting slab. In addition to shaping, you can add engraving, stamping and other manual textures that look like wood grain, bricks or other materials. Decorative add-ins like glass or aggregate can add additional texture. Color is also an option, to match the interior and/or exterior of your home. But concrete is also more durable, longer lasting and easy to maintain. Unlike pavers, there are no joints for grass or weeds to grow through. It won’t rot or warp like wood and stands up to nearly any kind of weather conditions.
· Concrete sealant: this will keep your concrete hardscape looking new and clean for a long time. Sealant protects the surface and helps block water from freezing and causing cracks. Apply concrete sealant when it’s new, and after the curing is completed (about 28 days.) Make sure you won’t be using your concrete areas, and that the weather is dry for several days. Re-apply every three to five years (or more if the sealant looks worn), to keep the concrete protected and looking new. Tinted sealants are available, and many manufacturers can add tints for you to update or add to your concrete’s coloring.
A simpler, but more expensive patio paving option is paver stones. Pavers come in all sizes, shapes, and colors, and are designed to fit together and create decorative patterns. Many are made to look like natural stone, but at a fraction of the cost. There’s no pouring, no curing, and none of the complicated application involved with concrete. These pre-shaped and colored concrete pieces come ready to install, and there are even installation kits that help you create your own design. While pavers cost more than concrete, they do make for an easier installation. Repairs are simpler when you only have to replace one. And you won’t have to regularly seal pavers as you would with concrete. To prevent grass, weeds and other vegetation from growing in between the cracks, lay some landscaping cloth down first before you start installing.
· Make sure that when you buy pavers, you buy extras for repairs later. This is especially true if you’ve absolutely fallen in love with the style of paver, because you never know when they’ll be discontinued and unavailable. Have a supply of extras so you can make repairs quickly and easily.
Slate, marble, and flagstone are always popular choices for patios and other exterior hardscapes but can be considerably more expensive (about $15 to $30 per square foot, or more if installed on top of concrete.) Natural stone can be used in conjunction with other hardscape elements. Their naturally uneven shapes make it a little more complicated to create an appealing design. But natural stone is very easy to clean and maintain, and like concrete, will last for many years to come. The natural color variations make stone a good choice for any outdoor hardscape design.
These used to be a favorite for exterior design. Bricks are porous, crack and break easily, are difficult to keep clean, and need frequent replacement. But traditional red brick is still a popular look, and are less expensive than pavers or natural stone. Pavers that look like brick and are more durable are also available. Bricks can be used alone or with other materials to create a unique design, from traditional to a completely contemporary look. Red bricks never fade, and they can, when treated properly, last for many years.
Whichever option you chose, plan for drainage. Make sure there is a slope away from your home’s foundation to drain off water to a drainage area, or to an area that can handle the excess water.
If you can’t decide on one particular option, combine one or two (or more) for a unique look that works for you. Our design pros will be happy to help you decide how to use each option to complement the others, and making sure they all work together.
These are just some of the patio paving options we offer, along with our design services. Once you’ve decided on how to update your patio, it’s time to get started. Call us at Precision Landscape & Maintenance, (207) 939-8757. We can design, create and install your new patio, outdoor kitchen and other hardscapes you’d like. Don’t wait until the fall—call today!