Our Hardscape Blog

from the masonry & pavers expert of Orange County, CA

When designing a new paver patio, there are a number of options to consider with regard to paver laying patterns that will vary depending upon the style and shape of pavers you choose. Below are some examples of laying patterns to help guide you through the process. You can even mix and match different styles, shapes and patterns to create unique and interesting designs.

Traditional Shapes and Laying Patterns

For those who like to go with the tried and true, you can’t go wrong with rectangular and cobble-style pavers laid into one of the following traditional patterns. These patterns work especially well in smaller spaces that can be overwhelmed by larger styles of pavers.

 
RUNNING BOND

A running bond pattern is one in which the pavers are laid in rows running in the same direction. You can either go with a classic running bond, or you can get creative with color tones, borders and pattern direction.

 
HERRINGBONE

A herringbone pattern is one in which rectangular pavers are laid in a zig-zag pattern. To add additional pop to a herringbone design, consider adding a contrasting border along the patio edges.

 
BASKET WEAVE

Basket weave patterns utilize rectangular pavers to create block designs. To add contemporary flair to this traditional laying pattern, you can alternate the color tones or laying direction to create modular designs.

Modular Shapes and Laying Patterns

Modular shaped pavers offer a variety of square and rectangular sizes that can be laid in multiple laying patterns that are less repetitive, visually dynamic, and create a contemporary look that works especially well for larger patios.

THREE-PIECE MODULAR PATTERNS
 
FOUR-PIECE MODULAR PATTERNS

Asymmetrical Shapes and Random Patterns

Asymmetrically shaped pavers create a natural look and often incorporate false joints that create the illusion of multiple shapes laid at random. Multi-shape cobble-style pavers can also be laid in a multi-piece pattern that emulates a more random look, as an alternate to using a traditional laying pattern.

Paver Borders

Border selection can add an entirely new dimension to a patio design. Options can range from using the same paver at a different angle to choosing a contrasting color, shape and/or style of paver (or more than one). But the options don’t end there. Once the border paver is selected, there are a number of border laying pattern options, as well.

SOLDIER COURSE

The soldier course is likely the most-used laying pattern for a paver border. For this pattern, rectangular pavers are laid in a row, side-by-side.

 
SAILOR COURSE

Another popular border, the sailor course lays rectangular pavers lengthwise in one or more rows. For additional visual interest, wide sailor course borders can be created using more than one type of paver.

 
INLAID BORDERS

Striking designs can be created by laying a contrasting border further inside the paver field.

 

As the saying goes, if you want something to last, be sure to start with a solid foundation. This definitely holds true for paver patios, walkways and driveways. We’ve all seen paver installations that are uneven and cracking. In most cases, the fault lies with an improperly installed base. Although soil conditions can certainly be a factor, the information below can help those do-it-yourselfers looking for insight on installing concrete or porcelain paver installations that can remain beautiful for years to come.

Standard Concrete Paver Base Installation

Step 1 – Excavation:  Excavate all the topsoil off the area where the project will be installed.  It’s imperative to dig down to the clay or subsoil.  If the subsoil in your project area has recently been filled (i.e. as a result of new construction), it’s a good idea to compact it with a large walk-behind compactor before adding the gravel.  Otherwise, if it hasn’t recently been filled or disturbed, you can begin adding the aggregate layer. When calculating the depth of the excavation, you will need to add the thickness of the paver itself, 1” of bedding sand, and the necessary gravel recommended for the type of project you are installing.

Step 2 – Aggregate Layer:  Typically, this layer consists of crushed gravel that will vary in size from  3/4” down to dust. For walkways and patios, you will need to add 4-6” of this material. For driveways, you will add 8-12”.  If you have heavy clay subsoil, it’s also a good idea to add a geotextile underlayment. This woven layer of fabric will prevent aggregate from mixing with the soil below. This is especially important in driveway applications. In colder climates, it may be necessary to add more aggregate base material to allow for the freeze/thaw conditions present there. It doesn’t hurt to add more base material if you are unsure. Once the material has been placed, you will want to rake it off evenly.  It’s critical at this phase that the gravel be pitched away from the house to allow for water runoff.  Typically that slope will be between 1/8” and 1/4” of drop per linear foot (or more for driveways, depending on the location).

Step 3 – Compaction:  For this, you will need to rent a plate compactor with a minimum of 5,000 lbs. of force.  Most local rental companies will carry this piece of equipment.  Ideally you will want to compact in lifts (layers of gravel) no greater than 4”-6” at a time.  Doing more than that will result in an improperly compacted base.

Step 4 – Bedding Layer:  Next, you will add and level 1” of bedding sand.  The easiest way to level the sand is to purchase two pieces of 1” metal or plastic electrical pipe conduit.  Place the two pieces of conduit down, and using a 2 x 4 board, screed the sand smooth.  Keep moving the tubes down as you go, making sure to fill the voids where the tubes were by smoothing the surface with a trowel.  You are now ready to lay the pavers.

Overlays – Installing Pavers over Existing Concrete

Thin concrete pavers or Belgard Porcelain Pavers may be placed over an existing concrete slab or a new concrete slab (4,000 psi  and 4” thickness minimum) on a sand or DriBond setting bed. DriBond will actually adhere the pavers directly to the concrete slab, similar to how thinset adhesive works for tile. It goes on as a thin dry powder (3/8” thick max). Once the pavers are installed, simply soak the pavers with water to activate it. If just using sand, you will want to install an edging restraint as shown in the above diagram.  Prior to installation, verify that the distance from the top of slab to the doorsill will accommodate the proposed paver and setting bed thickness. If the concrete won’t allow for the thickness of the new overlay material, many rental companies will rent small grinding equipment. As long as you are left with a minimum of 4”, you can remove some of the top layer of the existing concrete. The other option would be to cut and remove the concrete near the transition and re-pour it at a lower height. If the site is located in a freeze-thaw zone, consider any heave movement in your height calculation. Thickness of the concrete slab should be 4”-6” with consideration given to heavier loading (RV, travel trailers, trucks, etc.) to determine the correct depth of concrete base and any internal reinforcement.

Optional Bases for Porcelain Pavers

Porcelain pavers have the option to be installed over a standard base, permeable base, sand, grass, concrete or pedestals. For additional information on installation of porcelain pavers on these various bases, and for special instructions regarding accommodating vehicular loads, download the Belgard Porcelain Paver Installation Guide.

Get cooking with some of our favorite grilling station design ideas, from simple grill islands to gourmet outdoor kitchens.

•   •   •

The Angular Look

These outdoor kitchens use multiple angles and countertops galore to create expansive grilling stations with ample prep and serving space, as well as bar-style seating.

amcor_res_bel2016_patios_outdoorkitchens_walls_lafittrusticslab_westonwall_stonegate_bristolbrickoven_001_preview

Weston Stone® clads the Bristol Brick Oven and was used to create a coordinating base to the grill station and extended kitchen, as well as the staircase leading to the back of the home, which ties the entire look together. 

Rough-hewn Country Manor® wall adds a rustic touch and was used to create an angular kitchen that follows the shape of the gazebo roofline.

•   •   •

The Classic L-Shape

With a classic L-shaped grilling station, everything you need is within arm’s reach.

mlrs_res_bel2015_outdoorkitchens_borders_lafittrusticslab_moduline_bristol_001_preview

This L-shaped kitchen unit is part of the Bristol Series of the Belgard Elements collection and is prefabricated in a factory setting and shipped in sections for a custom look that installs quickly.

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This custom L-shaped grilling station is constructed with the chiseled stone look of Belair Wall® and houses multiple storage cabinets and drawers to keep everything you need close at hand.

•  •  •

Multiple Cooking Surfaces

Gourmet outdoor chefs can’t settle for just one cooking method.

bel2016_ad_grilldaddog_002_plate_preview

With the design flexibility of Tandem® Modular Grid, this outdoor chef has it all…wood-burning brick oven, charcoal-burning Big Green Egg®, butane grill, sink and refrigerator!

•   •   •

Gorgeous Curves

Outdoor kitchens and grilling stations don’t have to follow the limited linear rules of an indoor cooking space. Get create with curvy designs.

belgard2010_nfdwimn_urbana_arbel_westonwall001_preview

Multi-level counter tops and diamond-shaped embellishments add visual interest to this Weston Stone® grilling station. A built-in umbrella stand helps protect the cook from sun and rain.

nfd_west_bel2016_res_kitchen_wall_tandemwall_001_preview

Doric columns and curved Tandem® walls add an elegant look to this outdoor kitchen.

•   •   •

Timelessness

You can’t go wrong with the classic look of brick.

A copper vent and roof add a modern twist to the traditional look of this brick grilling station and bar, which offers ample seating for guests to visit with the grill master.

•   •   •

Creative Touches

For a unique design, sometimes you have to think outside of the box.

A built-in gas fire feature adds flare to this Weston Stone® grilling station and bar.

This sunken kitchen was created using rough-hewn Celtik Wall® to retain the pool and build out the kitchen structure, which includes a grill, beverage cooler and refrigerator.

•   •   •

Grill Islands

Even when space is at a premium, you can still have an eye-catching cooking space.

expo_bel2015_res_patios_outdoorkitchens_megalibre_bristol_001_preview

This grill island from the Bristol Series of the Belgard Elements collection includes a bar top for seating on the opposite side. Embellishments of Arbel® pavers add visual interest, and in this design, coordinate with the paver patio.

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The Bordeaux Series grill island from the Belgard Elements collection has a smaller footprint and offers a stacked stone look with either a midnight (shown) or limestone countertop.

•   •   •

Multi-Media Mecca

Some folks want an outdoor kitchen that offers all of the convenience of the indoors.

Tandem® Modular Grid was used to build out this outdoor kitchen, which houses multiple cooking surfaces and outdoor appliances, as well as a built-in flatscreen TV and sound system.

•   •   •

Wood & Stone

There’s just something earthy and fabulous about combining the looks of wood and stone together. An excellent way to do that is by adding an arbor to your outdoor space, which not only helps filter the sunlight, but adds pop to your design.

Reclaimed wood creates an eye-catching arbor for this Weston Stone® grilling station.

Arbors flank both sides of this Tandem® Modular Grid cooking station, adding an interesting look and coordinating with other wooden structures in the outdoor space.

Modern pool design has become somewhat of an artform. There was a time when all backyard pools looked basically the same, but that time is gone. Today’s pools incorporate a variety of materials and design techniques to make each creation as unique as each homeowner. If you’re planning to build a pool, here are some inspirational ideas based on some of this year’s most popular pool and patio design trends.

Vanishing edge: The latest craze in pool design is the vanishing edge (sometimes called an infinity edge or negative edge), which produces the visual effect of water extending to the horizon.

miragequarziti_3

Pool deckMirage® Quartziti porcelain pavers.

Fire features: There’s just something ethereal about combining the elements of fire and water that appeals to many people on a deep level. Fire bowls, fireplaces and fire pits make an excellent addition to a poolscape, both from visual and practical standpoints, as a fire feature provides a way to enjoy your pool deck during months when it’s too cold to swim.

Water features: Water features come in a variety of styles, including waterfalls, fountains, spillways and more. The image below incorporates two different types of waterfalls: a natural stone waterfall and a spa waterfall.

Back to nature: Many homeowners choose a design that looks like it was carved out of nature. This can be achieved by incorporating natural stone, or as in the design below, concrete pavers that emulate the look at natural stone. There are a number of added benefits to choosing pavers over natural stone, including decreased materials costs, decreased installation costs and non-slip surfacing.

Pool deck: Mega-Arbel® pavers

Pool deckMega-Arbel® pavers

“Green” options: Eco-friendly design strategies are one of the top-growing trends in outdoor living. With a pool design, this can be achieve through the use of a geothermal or solar heater, as well as permeable paver decking. Permeable pavers allow rainwater to filter through the joints instead of running off into ditches and storm drains. A permeable system can even be designed to harvest and recycle rainwater.

Pool deck: Eco-Dublin® permeable pavers.

Pool deckEco-Dublin® permeable pavers. Patio terraceBelair Wall®

Mixed materials: Eclectic designs are quite popular, achieved by mixing a variety of materials and styles together. The design below incorporates multiple styles of pavers, tiles and natural stone. Wood grained porcelain pavers also add the look of natural wood to the design, but offer added benefits that can’t be achieved with natural wood: durability, slip-resistance, fade-resistance and stain-resistance.

Pool deck: Catalina Stone pavers and Mirage® Sundeck porcelain pavers.

Pool deck: Catalina™ Stone pavers and Mirage® Sundeck (wood look) porcelain pavers.

Multiple elevations: Retaining walls can help control erosion, convert sloped terrain into usable space, and in the case of poolscape design below, build multi-level terraces for seating, gardens, dining areas, water features and more.

Pool deck: Mega-Lafitt® pavers. Walls and terraces: Country Manor retaining wall.

Pool deck: Mega-Lafitt® pavers. Garden walls and terraces: Country Manor® Wall.

Decorative edging: There was a time when your choices were limited to brick or bullnose coping. Keep in mind that both of those options are still popular choices. But now, creative  designs and alternate edging materials are becoming increasingly popular, as well.

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Edging: Aquastyl® coping. Decorative border: Dublin Cobble® pavers. Pool deckLafitt® Rustic Slab

Extended outdoor living areas: Modern poolscape design tends to expand beyond the water’s edge and into extended outdoor living areas, which are often designed and decorated to look like an outdoor version of an indoor space.

Outdoor fireplace: Bristol Belgard Elements. Pool deck and patio: Lafitt® Rustic Slab.

Outdoor fireplace: Belgard Elements Bristol SeriesPool deck: Lafitt® Rustic Slab.

Less is more: While some are drawn to expansive poolscapes, others are opting for a contemporary minimalist look. The design below evokes the timeless look of a classic pool with the contemporary twist of an additional modular stepping stone patio.

Pool deck and stepping stones: Mirage® Stones 2.0 porcelain pavers.

Pool deck and stepping stonesMirage® Stones 2.0 porcelain pavers.

Lighting: One simple way to add ambiance of a pool design is to incorporate interesting lighting. This can be done throughout the landscaping and in the interior of pools and spas.

Pool deck: Dublin Cobble® pavers.

Pool deck: Dublin Cobble® pavers.

This outdoor living design incorporates several of the most popular trends this year: permeable pavers, fire pit, This outdoor living design showcases several of the most popular trends this year: low-maintenance landscaping, Subterra® Stone permeable pavers, a fire pit, low-voltage lighting, and a built-in cooking area with ample seating and counter-top space. A permeable system can be designed to incorporate rainwater harvesting to be used for irrigation to create the ultimate eco-friendly patio.

 

In the annual national survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), landscape design professionals are polled regarding the outdoor living project types and individual design elements that have the highest demand. The results of this year’s survey are in, and for the third consecutive year, eco-friendly projects dominate the top 10 project list. And although it’s no surprise, internet connectivity made its way into the must-have list this year. In terms of individual design elements, the overwhelming majority of the design items have to do with making outdoor areas more livable. For the third consecutive year, fire pits and fireplaces top the list of most popular design elements.

RANKING PROJECT TYPES DESIGN ELEMENTS
1 Drought-tolerant plants Fire pits and fireplaces
2 Native plants Wireless/internet connectivity
3 Low-maintenance landscapes Lighting
4 Edible gardens Outdoor furniture
5 Permeable paving Seating/dining
6 Reduced lawn areas Built-in grills
7 Fire pits and fireplaces Planters, sculptures, garden accessories
8 Water-efficient irrigation Counter space
9 Wireless/internet connectivity Outdoor heaters
10 Rainwater/graywater harvesting Stereo systems
 
 
This outdoor kitchen design incorporates drought-tolerant plants,
 
This outdoor kitchen design incorporates the popular items of drought-tolerant plants, festive overhead lighting, ample prep and serving space, a large seating area, and a wood-burning fireplace. The kitchen, fireplace, and built-in wood boxes are all constructed with Celtik® Wall to create a coordinated look.
 
 
 
This outdoor kitchen is fully connected
 
This highly livable outdoor kitchen is fully appointed with all of the modern conveniences of the indoors, including the must-have elements of internet connectivity, dining space, multiple outdoor cooking surfaces, ample counter space, and both ambient and overhead lighting. Tandem® Modular Grid was used to construct the kitchen base and a partial wall to house and protect the television from sun and weather for ultimate game-day viewing.
 
 
Article by Belgard Hardscapes
 

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