There is a bewildering array of options if you’re looking for a paver patio, walk or driveway in northern Virginia. Each stone supplier has anywhere from one to five paver manufacturers they stock, and each manufacturer can have anything from a handful of pavers to the whopping TWENTY-SEVEN pavers and slabs offered by Techo-Bloc. How do you make sense of this? How’s a layperson to narrow down their options? Here’s how I decide on the paver I want to use for a project and make sure I get the best pavers for my patio or walk.
1. Reject the pavers from the box stores
Sorry big box stores, but this is sage advice. They tend to stock a limited selection of styles and colors, none of which ring my bell. If you’re doing this project yourself you’re going to need to hit a stone yard for sand and gravel anyhow so you may as well save some delivery fees and get everything on one truck. And, of course, you’re not going to get the same advice and service after the sale from a box store as you would at a stone yard or small garden center. Do you really want paver advice from someone who was working in plumbing three days ago?
2. See who you can get locally
Sure, you can have that perfect paver freighted in from the one production facility that makes it outside of Winnipeg. But is it worth it? Go online or call around to your local suppliers to see who they carry. There’s no point in falling in love with a paver if it’s going to add $2500 to the cost of your patio just to get it here.
3. Start with the color
Every paver manufacturer has slightly different color ranges and they run the gamut from boring and basic to vibrant and rich, all the way to horrendously tacky and a crime against good taste. You can skip this step and go right to #3 if you’re flexible on color and just want something in a color family. If you’ve fallen in love with something like this, though:
… you probably need to find a shape from that manufacturer that works for you. There are no custom colors with pavers and you can’t paint them, so you need to choose accordingly. If you need help, I wrote a post on how to select paver colors.
4. Pick the size and style that works for you
Once you know the color palette you can decide what works for you in terms of shape, size, and style. Do you want an aged cobble look? A clean, contemporary look? Something that looks convincingly like flagstone? Some manufacturers have all these options and some have one or two.
5. Get pricing
At this point you know what paver you want so you can start pricing it. In the event that the price is a little more than you hoped you can always try to find something close to what you settled on, but either from a less expensive manufacturer or in a less costly style, and repeat step 4.
That’s it! If you’re wondering why I didn’t go so far as to call out particular manufacturers it’s because most of them are reasonably close in quality, and improving every year. If a stone yard does carry a lower-tier paver the sales rep will probably make that obvious, even if she doesn’t come out and say it. Good luck!