Would you believe me if I told you that your choice of paving material could be the single most important decision in building your garden? Think about it: You may occasionally touch a plant, hold open a gate, or relax on a piece of garden furniture, but your feet are almost always in contact with your garden’s surface. Like plants, paving materials can add color, texture, and pattern to your garden. Unlike plants, which grow, bloom, and often go dormant as the seasons change, paved surfaces contribute in equal measure throughout the year.
The most widely available paving materials fall into two broad categories: quarried stone and composite material. Quarried stone, such as granite and slate, is dug and then shaped by splitting, cutting, or crushing. Composite materials like brick and precast concrete pavers are processed and molded when soft, then fired or allowed to dry.
The great range of paving materials makes shopping and designing fun, but the number of choices can also be a bit overwhelming. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, and some are better suited than others to particular uses and locations. By understanding and exploring your options, you’ll be able to make the right choice for your setting and budget.
Note: Cost ranges given are averages for raw materials before installation from suppliers found throughout the United States. Expect some variability from region to region. The costs ranges are based on 2007 prices, but can still be used for relative comparisons of the various materials.