Concrete pavers are one of the least expensive solid paving materials, often used in place of more expensive bricks and stones. Choose from large, square concrete pavers, brick-shaped concrete pavers or angled pavers to achieve a look and style that suits your home. Concrete pavers offer a durable surface suitable for patios, walkways and other areas that receive heavy traffic.
A concrete paver patio provides a sturdy, level surface for patio furniture and serves as a backdrop for backyard cookouts and afternoons of leisure. A patio is most functional when installed directly off an exterior door for easy access, but you might wish to add a patio to a quiet corner of your yard. Water drains through the cracks between pavers, which can lead to shifting pavers if you don't first establish a firm base of gravel and sand for drainage. Clay soil requires more gravel than sandy soil. Patios cover such a large area that the simple running bond pattern -- the pattern of a brick wall -- looks a little boring, so you can add some visual interest with a herringbone or basket weave pattern outlined with a straight row of concrete pavers.
High-traffic areas in a lawn wears away the grass, which not only looks unattractive, but can lead to muddy spots when it rains. If you frequently walk from your patio to a garden shed or flower bed, a concrete paver walkway makes an attractive solution that keeps your lawn looking its best. A dedicated walkway also discourages people from carving their own path across your lawn. If you don't want a rigid, straight path, make the path wider than needed, lay garden hoses on the ground in a curved pattern and use a concrete saw to cut the curve into the paver walkway. For a more informal walkway, use large concrete pavers as stepping stones laid on grass or surrounded by gravel.
If you have some concrete pavers leftover from a larger project, use them as low-cost flower bed edging that also coordinates with the rest of your hardscape features. There are several ways in which you can install concrete paver edging. If you want to minimize weed trimming maintenance, dig out a trench to the same depth as the paver height and set the pavers flush with the soil grade; add a couple inches of gravel for drainage under the pavers in soil with poor drainage. For a more pronounced edging look, set the pavers on the narrow edge with the wide side facing out. Dig a trench that is as deep as half the paver height so half the paver sticks out of the ground. Alternatively, you can install them both ways with a front row set at soil grade and the back row buried halfway.
4. Splash Pad
It goes without saying that all children -- and probably their parents, too -- would love to have a swimming pool in the backyard. A splash pad that sprays water from the ground is the next best thing, offering a place to cool off and play without requiring the large space or cost of a pool. Once found only in water parks and community playgrounds, these fun zones have made a splash in residential yards. You'll have to work with a plumber to install the underground water tank, pipes and pump, but there are kits available to make installation easier. Use concrete pavers with a gravel and sand base in a minimum size of 10 by 10 feet to serve as the base for non-slip play. If you have limited place, you can install plumbing to build the splash pad into your entertainment patio.
- Lowe's: Build a Brick Paver Patio
- The Family Handyman: How to Cover a Concrete Patio with Pavers
- Pave Tech: Installation Guide to Paver Walkways and Patios
- The Family Handyman: How to Build Pathways: Brick and Stone Pathways
- The Family Handyman: Use Brick Borders for Path Edging
- Paver Search: Laying Patterns for Patio Pavers
- Hunter College of the City University of New York Department of Geography: Installing Flat Brick Edging
- Landscaping Network: Backyard Splash Pads
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