So you can create some hardscaping that’s uniquely yours

Brick. Flagstone. Concrete. Even rubber!

You’ve got choices when it comes to pavers. And that means anything but boring. Mix and match a couple or more to create your own backyard masterpiece.

Here’s some info on each type, plus some tips on installing them. Happy paving!

Brick

Brick’s got character. No denying it. You can explore your creative chops by setting them in intricate patterns. Thinner than typical “builder bricks” used on home siding, they’re made to hold up under heavy foot traffic.

Brick pavers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and finishes, and can look old or new. Because they’re smaller than other pavers, they take a while to put in place, and installation costs can be higher.

You can do the job yourself for $3 to $5 per square foot. You’ll need to rent a brick saw — a heavy table-mounted saw that makes cutting masonry a snap. Cost: $60 to $95 per day. Don’t forget: You’ll need to figure out a way to get the brick saw to your house.

For a pro-installed brick patio, you’ll pay $12 to $18 per square foot, professionally installed.

Concrete

Concrete can be finished off in lots of imaginative ways — brushed, acid washed, scored, and stamped — and lots of colors. Its long lifespan and relatively inexpensive installation make it a popular choice.

“For colder climates, consider adding $1 to $2 per square foot for a specialized base preparation and concrete additive,” says Chris Fenmore, principal with Garden Studio Landscape Design.

Stamped concrete can simulate flagstone, brick, cobbles, and other decorative patterns, but adds about $3 per square foot to installation costs.

Concrete Pavers

Concrete pavers offer an embarrassment of riches — there are shapes, sizes, textures, and colors galore. Some are plain; some look like real stone; others have intricate patterns embossed on their surfaces. They’re readily available at home improvement centers and are well-suited to DIY patio projects.

Interlocking concrete pavers have tabs and slots so they fit together like pieces of a very simple puzzle. They’re fairly inexpensive, have minimal maintenance, and install quickly.

Rubber Tiles

Rubber tiles are made from recycled tires. They’re designed to go over any surface, and their light weight means you can use them on decks. They look like concrete tiles, with finishes that resemble brick and terra cotta. They’re fairly new on the market, so the jury is still out on how they perform over time.

Rubber tiles are strictly a DIY material, and they snap together with connector clips. They’re good for quickly covering up old, cracked, worn patio surfaces. You’ll pay $3 to $5 per square foot.

Flagstone, Slate, and Marble

Almost any stone can work as a paver, but most are either sandstone, limestone, slate, or granite. The materials you select will be especially cost-efficient if they come from locally operated quarries; check your local stone supplier before looking at national home improvement chains.

Stone pavers are cut into modular shapes; 6-by-12, 12-by-12, and 18-by-18-inch sizes are standard. Uncut pavers have rough, irregular edges and come in various sizes.

Getting on Base

Choosing paving materials begins with a basic: the base or foundation. The base supports your pavers, and it’s got to be firm, strong, and designed to stand up to years of wear and weather. A poorly installed base leads to shifting and settling that’ll crack concrete and make your patio pavers look like choppy seas.

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