Concrete or paving, which is better?
Many people ask me which of these two is better, I simply have to answer them that it’s not really a matter of which one is better but more to do with the theme that they are trying to create in their landscape design.
Both have advantages and disadvantages and I will address those here.
Let’s discuss Paving first, this creates above all else a look that is more older style than modern, brick pavers especially. Many of the houses built in the fifties had brick drives and gardens paths because they were cheap but still well suited the landscape, unlike Concreting
Patterns vary from herringbone which can be laid at 90 or 45 deg. this is probable a more modern brick paver pattern than the others which are basket weave and stretcher bond. More and more patterns have been appearing over time but none as common as these three, which I think are timeless.
Paving provides an atmosphere to your garden that simply concrete cannot, doesn’t matter how many times they try to emulate paving with stencils and stamped patterns, there is nothing like the real thing. Meandering paths throughout the garden made from bricks certainly gives almost a romantic touch and definitely seems to enhance the the overall look of your home garden.
Today the market for paving has moved in a direction of much larger pavers with square pavers up to 400 x 400mm, these are usually laid corner to corner and have a very tile like look about them. they are really only designed for walking traffic, not to drive on but they do the job they were intended for very well, providing a clean appearance to any area that they are laid.
So paving is more about the look of the surface, one of the main disadvantages is though, more care and material has to go into the preparation, increasing the cost of the job even further. Another concern is often there will be a lot of cutting pavers for the edges, you will have to hire a brick saw to do a really decent job and this can also be costly.
Maintenance on your paved area will be that you will have to give it a good scrub down to keep the fungi from taking hold making your paved surface very slippery.
But overall the look of a paved area is very soothing and can blend in very well to most landscape themes, keeping a very natural appearance.
Concrete is certainly more durable and much cheaper, however a lot of people are put off by the stark grey colour so you may want to get it coloured which can be mixed in at the batching plant. Stencil and Stamped Concrete are also quite popular with a variety of colours, which are added after pouring the concrete, this does however increase the cost considerably but once it’s done, you will have a durable surface that will last for a very long time.
Keep in mind though if you choose the Stencil or Stamped process then it will probably be finished with a sealer, this is something that you will have to keep doing every two to three years.
Pouring concrete doesn’t need quite so much attention given to the ground underneath providing it is solid and cannot sink or shrink. If you are concreting on clay for example it is a good idea to put a buffer layer of sand between. This will prevent the movement of the clay caused by the moisture content affecting the concreting, which can cause it to crack.
You also have the option of making your concrete stronger by request on ordering, This is great for any problem areas or working areas with machinery etc.
So really it boils down to your personal preference. They are excellent materials to work with and I enjoy them both, the look at the end of the day is what matters, after all, you will be possibly looking at it and walking on it for a long time.