Interlocking paver stones made of molded high-density concrete have been popular in Europe since World War II. Increasingly, homeowners in the US are using them to imbue driveways, walkways, patios, and other outdoor structures with an old-world sumptuousness that plain, poured concrete doesn’t provide. Manufactured in a spectrum of colors and an assortment of shapes, pavers are strong, attractive, and have a variety of applications. The following list includes some of their many uses.

  • Driveways are most commonly made of concrete or asphalt, but both materials have their drawbacks; for example, concrete is susceptible to cracking, even if segmented by contraction joints, and asphalt must be periodically sealed. Of course, a driveway made of pavers will also require maintenance, but the modularity of pavers may make upkeep easier. In some cases, homeowners can even replace a single paver themselves from a cache of blocks left over from the original installation.

    Of course, the main benefit of a paver driveway is aesthetic. Perhaps because driveways—no matter what they’re made of—are such utilitarian structures, homeowners often forget that they are a prominent part of a home’s appearance. However, it’s hard to overlook a paver driveway. With a look that evokes a timeworn European street, a paver driveway makes a much stronger contribution to a home’s curb appeal. If a driveway made entirely of pavers is too expensive, even edging or an apron made of pavers can provide a dramatic upgrade.

  • Patios are the foundations of outdoor living spaces, and they are often made of brick. While there are several attractive, classic patterns in which brick can be laid, the many different shapes and colors of pavers offer many more options. Pavers can even mimic natural stone, one of the more expensive paving materials.

    Pavers can also be used to construct pool decks as well as walls and benches that rise seamlessly out of a paver patio. Integrating all these elements creates an outdoor living space so rich and cohesive that it can truly seem like another world.

  • Outdoor kitchens are a must for serious outdoor living enthusiasts. Here, the flexibility of pavers compared to traditional building materials is remarkably apparent, as they can be used to erect counters, bars, and housing for grills and barbeques. These features can also be seamlessly incorporated into a paver patio. For homeowners who do little outdoor cooking but want to stay cozy on cool fall evenings—and perhaps roast some marshmallows—fire pits and outdoor fireplaces made of pavers can easily take on a range of unique looks customizable to the home and landscape.

Beauty, versatility, and durability don’t always go hand in hand, but interlocking paver stones are a good example of a premium product that is lovely to look at, wide-ranging in its applications, and designed to last. With your imagination and the aid of a talented paver installation contractor, you can design and implement a paver project that will transform the exterior of your home.

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Sources: Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute; Stonescaping Made Simple.

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