While many homeowners
immediately think of pavers when considering a patio, walkway or garden area,
there are other attractive landscaping techniques that can be accomplished
using concrete. Stamping, stenciling and decorative concrete are all great
alternatives to pavers and are highly customizable. Both methods have
advantages and disadvantages when used in the home landscape.
Pavers have a
brick-like form that comes in a variety of interlocking shapes. They also come
in a variety of colors, which allows installers to create unique and customized
installations. The initial installation for pavers costs around the same as a
basic decorative concrete installation. However, DIY’ers may be able to take on
this project to save some money. Pavers have a long life and resist cracking
when they are installed correctly. This reduces the overall cost of pavers over
their lifetime because they rarely need to be replaced.
pavers typically revolve around their maintenance and include the following:
New sand must be added
periodically as it settles into the grooves.
Weeds grow in the sand
requiring regular weeding or chemical treatment.
Pavers sink or settle
when not installed correctly.
Paver colors vary even
among the same lot. Thus, if you are using all the same color, care must be
used to mix them so that blotchiness or uneven coloring is avoided.
Decorative stamped concrete
looks very similar to a paver
installation except that there is no sand. This installation consists of a
solid base of concrete on which molds are pressed to create a design. The
advantage of stamped concrete is that it
mimics any type of finish
, including pavers, brick, natural stone and
rock. Stamped concrete can also be colored with specialty dyes. A top sealant
provides long-term durability for these installations.
concrete has several disadvantages as well, including:
Installation costs can
be high, especially when coloring and specialty customizations are desired.
Stamped concrete is a
job for a
It requires special knowledge and tools to
install properly. In addition, concrete cutting is required to create control
Concrete cracks in
extreme climates and uneven terrain. For this reason, the ongoing maintenance
costs for stamped concrete are higher than for pavers.
Dyes fade over time and
are very hard to match when repairs are required.