Are you wrestling with the choice of decorative concrete and patio pavers to create the perfect outdoor living space? Let’s make the decision easy – mix a flat concrete space with paver accents for the best of both. You want a unique, attractive and durable spot to relax outside your Madison WI home, right?
The most common image of a poured concrete patio is a boring gray slab. That was once the only option when builders included a “patio” in the contract. Modern design techniques and materials changed all that a few years ago. Today’s concrete patio, walk or driveway comes in many colors with textures. Contractors make them look like everything from wood planks to bricks. Poured concrete (known as concrete flatwork in the trade) can be stained, polished to a brilliant shine and stamped to mimic vastly different material.
Mixing stained or stamped concrete with pavers creates unique spaces with plenty of character. There’s a lot of “wow” factor potential. A concrete “floor” accented with paving stone margins, walls, seating or fire pit define a space.
Is your backyard sloped? Is there a step of two from the door to the backyard? Combining materials and technique to create an easily-accessible patio under these circumstances makes sense. Add a paver retaining wall with seating and surround the “floor” with pavers to raise it to a perfect level.
Decorative Concrete Opportunities
The use of modern pavers – created from molded concrete – is a popular choice for decorative hardscape. Poured concrete is popular for walks and driveways. Until concrete contractors develop their techniques for adding color, polish and texture it had limited appeal. There are advantages to each form. Combining the two dramatically expands your design possibilities.
The terms “stamped concrete” and “stained concrete” show up throughout design and remodeling media – TV, magazines and videos. How are these different from your vision of what a concrete patio is?
Concrete in one form or another is the most common building material. It’s a part of nearly every building project because it’s so versatile. Concrete is a simple substance – a blend of stone, cement powder and water plus additives to add strength and durability. Handled by professionals, concrete is formidable. Consider its use for your backyard patio:
- Stamped concrete – everyone has used some kind of rubber stamp for fun or business. The technique for concrete is the same on a huge scale. Making it work is a matter of timing and skill. Large-format mats create the texture, They’re placed on concrete with just the right pressure and in a specific sequence. The skilled finisher has to apply them when the concrete is “just right.” The results are a mix of art and science. The molds give the look of materials that are rare or unusual. Anything from huge slate slabs to reclaimed barn wood is possible.
- Stained concrete – the days of boring gray slabs are behind us. Anything goes from subtle hues to dramatic colors. The coloring goes on as a powder when the concrete is curing and chemically bonds to the base. When finished there’s both color and flow to the application.
Decorative Pavers Remain Popular
Most popular pavers are created from formed, molder concrete. Some have color and texture from the beginning. They are attractive and versatile options for hardscape creations. They’re also used for driveways and walks. However in these applications they require more maintenance than a poured surface – and are harder to keep free of snow and ice in a Madison winter. In addition to various colors pavers are available for specialized duties:
- Interlocking pavers – designed to fit like pieces of jigsaw each block supports itself and its neighbors. These are the most popular choice for covering a large area. They’re reliably durable and come in many shapes and colors.
- Architectural pavers – for more specific design applications. They come in many shapes, colors and textures. Some are available in irregular shapes to mimic natural stones like flagstone or slate. Ideal for stylish backyard patios.
- Permeable pavers – allow water to drain through and are ideal for natural paths and borders.
There are pavers ideal for many applications where appearance, performance and flexibility outweigh ease of installation and maintenance. Obviously we are discussing patios here however, what about your driveway? Well we are the driveway pavers Madison WI people trust for this.
Flip A Coin – Pavers Or Decorative Concrete
There’s no right or wrong choice when you want an attractive backyard hardscape. The correct choice depends on the finished look you’re going for.
Poured concrete is ideal for covering large areas and is versatile when it comes to shape. Its biggest drawback is there’s no room for error.
Pavers are an excellent solution because they are exceptionally flexible and forgiving. The right kind of pavers fit almost any hardscape plan. One great advantage is that you can create “on the fly” and make changes mid-installation if you want.
Choosing between poured concrete and pavers is personal. The most important element is making sure you work with a professional who will deliver the results you expect. Creating a high-end hardscape requires experience and the right tools. There’s a lot more to it than meets the eye – site prep, permits to obtain, etc.
Envision what you want to achieve and then compare:
- Cost – both decorative concrete and pavers represent a significant investment. Costs depend upon the scale of the project, market prices, etc. In general, using pavers is more expensive than pouring concrete because pavers are all set in place by hand one at a time. Pavers are ideal for accents like borders, walls and fire pits while concrete excels covering large areas.
- Time to complete – poured concrete is faster to install once the site prep is completed. There’s an extended period when it cures when it cannot be use. Pavers are ready to foot traffic immediately after installation. An outstanding finish you’ll appreciate for a long time.
- Durability – both pavers and concrete last a long time and stand up to almost anything. Pavers may shift with the annual freeze/thaw cycle. Concrete can crack. Poured concrete is reinforced with bar or screen and scored to control stress.
Never Undervalue Installation Of Decorative Concrete
Is there a major expansion of your outdoor living space on the horizon? Now’s the time to pull your vision together and take action. Making the most of Madison’s climate and blending your indoor and outdoor lifestyles is a sound investment. A new, expanded patio area combining paver style with stained or stamped concrete presents dozens of options. You’re spending more time at home these days, so investing in outdoor leisure is a good choice, right?
Do you need a retaining wall to shore up a slope or want to expand to include a fire pit? Is a complete outdoor kitchen in the plans? It takes professional experience and skill to make your backyard look like a page from a magazine. There are many steps in the process from site evaluation and permitting to final finishes.
When you’ve decided it’s time to make your backyard “Party Central” or a cozy retreat, call Marvin Martinez at Martin’s Brick Pavers at 608-630-8855. Or email him at www.johnl86.sg-host.com/thrive. Whether you want poured concrete, decorative pavers or a strategic blend of both, his experienced crews provide professional installation. Let your imagination loose. When your vision calls for multi-facetted installations we’ll show you how pavers and creative concrete are a great match for your Madison WI home.