Choosing Concrete VS. Pavers for your Inland Empire Area Home

image of concrete work - Landscape design in the Inland Empire areaWhen it comes to a beautifully finished hardscape for the garden at your Inland Empire area home, material choices are a key factor. The style, look and theme of the hardscape naturally plays a large part in this decision-making process, as well as the landscape you are working within; but by using the appropriate materials can help bring authenticity and texture to the hardscape.

In this article we will discuss two specific finishes: Concrete and interlocking pavers,

Don’t Consider Budget, Consider the Outcome

When looking at a side-by-side comparison of concrete and interlocking pavers it is important to note that both look great when installed correctly and both can have long lasting disappointment if proper preparations and installation guidelines are not followed. Both will give us the functional seating and walking areas needed for our desired spaces at our Inland Empire area home. Both can define the yard boundary, softscaping and of course; come with their own specific installation process and cost.

If you are the type of customer that is more interested in matching the style, look and theme of the hardscape that you are working towards; it is important not to consider the price so much as the outcome. Price conscience customers should weigh the pros and cons of each rather than esthetical value.

Concrete: The Affordable and Versatile Option

There are many options when it comes to concrete finishes for your Inland Empire area home. There is the basic gray, which is the easiest to obtain and least expensive of the two options. It can be crafted to obtain the desired texture with a broom, salt, a textured finish (sometimes referred to as “stamped”) providing on the look that you are going for. A bit more flare can be added by ordering the concrete from the plant pre-mixed to a specific color. This can of course be finished with the previously noted options. Today there are a multitude of stamping patterns to choose from making concrete a great option for a really custom look. Stamping textures from a slate, flagstone, cobble stone, even wood grain finishes are available.

Concrete Shortcuts will Shortchange You in the Long Run

Because concrete has a tendency to crack over a period of time, proper preparation of the areas to except the concrete is vital to increase the time before cracking begins. Grading, compaction and rebar or mesh is often added prior to the concrete being installed on site. The concrete’s PSI is also important as the higher the number, the stronger the finish will have helping to reduce cracks that appear over time. The key with any colored concrete application is to have it properly sealed. Sealants will ensure the color does not fade over time with the Inland Empire area’s harmful sun. There are glossy or matt finish sealants available depending on the desired look.

NOTE: Sealants must be re-applied every few years to continue to protect the concrete finish. This is a simple process that any homeowner can do with basic pump sprayer.

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Image of pavers - Landscape design in the Inland Empire areaInterlocking pavers: not as pricey as they once were

Interlocking pavers add a touch of class and elegance to your hardscape project. For years interlocking pavers were often perceived as “too expensive”, which is no longer the case. Over the last few years the price has come down for interlocking pavers making it an affordable option that will help complete the hardscape look that you are going for. The price decrease has come from an increase of competing manufacturers and the fact that more landscape installation contractors are offering pavers as an option.

The interlocking pavers have some advantages over concrete: they typically come with a 25 year to a lifetime manufacturer guarantee (on average), they are designed not to crack as concrete often will. When properly installed the interlocking pavers will shift with the earth and not have the issues that concrete will over time. Pavers can cost anywhere from 30-50 percent more than concrete

Pavers, like concrete, have many finish options to choose from as well. Not only do they come in different colors, sizes and patterns; but today manufacturers have pavers that look flagstone and even some that are textured on top to look like slate. Whether a clean stream lined finish is desired or an old world tumbled effect is desired, pavers are a great option to consider.

Proper prep is just as important as concrete

Like concrete, proper preparation of the area(s) to receive the pavers is key. Preparation methods such as grading, soil and base material compaction are foundational and necessary. Is also important to have thin base of sand to properly level the pavers for great, long-lasting look. Traditionally, the perimeter of the paver area is mortared with concrete while the infill is installed over the sand base.  Once the pavers are installed the final application is to either use a special type of sand swept in-between the joint lines and compacted. Optionally, standard sand is used, followed by a sealant application. This will prevent the sand in between the joints from dispersing over time preventing weeds from growing in-between them. The sealant of course will also protect the color finish from the sun as in with colored concrete.

The Conclusion of the Matter

Because of the recent decrease in pricing making pavers more affordable, the biggest difference between the two materials is longevity and individual preference or appearance. Pavers, while cheaper now than before, still cost more than concrete; so cost still remains a factor for some installations. This alone will deter some from choosing the paver option, but when considering the long term nature of concrete such as maintenance and cracking, pavers over time can balance the upfront costs.

The Methodical Mindset

At Bella Terra Landscape Design, we utilize our years of design experience to produce a landscape design plan that exceeds the customers expectations. Beginning with a tour and discussion of the Inland Empire area yard we can create, in detail, a landscape design that will transform your backyard into an extension of your Inland Empire home. When choosing to have professional landscape services done, be sure to start with a competent design by a design team that has a methodical mindset. This mindset will provide the path to perfection for your Inland Empire area home.

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