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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Which Brick to Pick

Since my last post about selecting materials for the new patio, I've been convinced that brick pavers are the way to go. Thanks for all your help with that.

The biggest factor in deciding to go with the pavers instead of the composite decking (my first choice) was the price. One guy I spoke to said that brick pavers typically run $10-$12 per sq foot and composite decking is closer to $27 per sq foot - YIKES! He also said that installing a deck at ground level is more expensive because of the level of difficulty in creating the supports for it. OK, I'm convinced, composite decking is out. I hate that they make it so much harder to go green!

That left me with stamped concrete versus brick pavers. Concrete is cheaper but one big factor with this was the fear of cracking. Presently we are dealing with a big long crack in our not-even-3-year-old basketball court. Plus, after Katie pointed out that the pavers allow the water to drown down instead of running off, pavers seemed like the clear choic. I hate compromise!

me: "I'd like it to be 16x20 in a neutral cobblestone"
paver guy: "that's really big its going to be expensive how about 18x18?" (wait, isn't that more total sq feet than 16x20?)
me: "OK fine, 18x18"
paver guy: "its $4300"
me: "WHAT????????" "I can't afford that, what about a less expensive brick"
paver guy: "hollandstone is the least expensive"
me: "OK fine, how much for the hollandstone?"
brick guy: "3500"
me: "that's still too much, how about if we go 16x18?"
paver guy: "$3150"
me: "well that's better but still over what I wanted to spend, can I buy the materials and just pay you labor?"

paver guy: "well i don't usually work like that but let me think about it and I'll call you tomorrow"

Next day
paver guy: "NO!"

I'm still waiting for 2 other estimates, one from HD and the other from a different independent contractor who I'm pretty sure I won't select because he thinks the bricks need a concrete slab under them, so I'm sure his estimate is just gonna irritate me. Plus, the drainage benefit goes out the window with that. Here are the colors available in the Hollandstone - which one do you like?

River (above)

Sierra (above)
Rustic Red (above)
Red (above)
Prairie (above)
Charcoal (above)
Autumn Red (above)

And here are some patterns to choose from. I'm leaning toward the Herringbone at 90 degrees. The reason I liked the cobblestone is that the pattern is much less consistent, which appeals to me. The 90 degree Herringbone is the closest to random in my opinion. What do you think?

The picture below shows a few bricks of different color randomly placed throughout - I sorta like this because it seems to break the pattern up even more. What do you think?

To remind you of what the space looks like, I've included the picture of the backyard where I've attempted to draw a white line where the patio will be.

I want to make the patio as cottage-y as possible but I'm really concerned that it will be very difficult with these pavers. I'm leaning toward the 90 degree Herringbone in a neutral color (like the prairie) with a few different color bricks mixed in. I'm also thinking that it needs the perimeter in the soldier pattern so that it defines the space.

In the one picture of the sample patio above, I notice that the patio seems rather unfinished because there is no clearly defined border. I should also say that I'm sort of attracted to the charcoal simply because it seems more unusual which you know I love.

So, what do you think, people? For a 16x18 foot patio...
Pick a Paver: River, Sierra, Rustic Red, Red, Prairie, Charcoal, Autumn Red
Pick a Pattern: Running Bond, 45 degree Herringbone, 90 degree Herringbone, Basket Weave, or some other great pattern that you can direct me to.

My next decision will be the Pergola:
Should it cover the entire patio?
If not, should it be placed in the middle? Or should it begin at the back door, covering the entire width of the patio but leaving a few feet uncovered at the edge? Off in a corner? Decisions, decisions...


  1. Oh, Gina, so many choices.
    I'm not sure asking what other people like is going to get you what you would ultimately like. Everyone is going to have an opinion about what they'd think would look good, it's human nature, but remember - you're the one that's going to have to look at this every day and live with it. (OK, I know you wouldn't pick something you'd hate just because everyone else likes it, but it might sway your decision).
    So, pick with your instincts, pick the one your most drawn to, or the one that makes you smile because you can picture it and know you'd enjoy it every day.
    I have total faith you'll make the right choice and the result will be simply smashing! Sorry, I know I was absolutely no help at all! lol.

  2. All the colors are good, like you, the charcoal appeals to me too, but the praire is nice as well. We laid pavers in our backyard, as a mobility issue (both of us are disabled to some extent), with a gent we knew laying the materials we bought, on a deep layer of sand. The nice thing is, they are flat and easy to walk on, (or roll sometimes)and you can dress them up formally, or go as casual as you want and they look good either way.

    Unless a contractor can come up with a price that beats your price for the materials (spend some time and price them out at the building supply store), look for one that will let you do the buying. That way, you'll know exactly what your're getting...and where it's from.


  3. I agree with Tina somewhat, that only you can ultimately pick what you like. However, it's like when I shop for clothes...I always prefer to have a friend or my mom along to provide a second opinion or to suggest something I hadn't thought of before.

    We have what looks like Rustic Red on our patio under the pergola, in a basket weave pattern. I've always liked it.

  4. Heather's GardenMarch 16, 2008 at 6:39 PM

    Gina, I like the Sierra in a herringbone pattern. However, if you're interested in keeping costs down, I would suggest what we did for our second patio. We had a professional come in with machinery and dig us a 15x15 hole, edged it with 2x4s and then filled it with 6 inches of processed stone and then 4 inches of pea gravel on top. Under $500 including materials and it looks really nice if I do say so myself. This spring's project will be replaced the dead gazebo with a pergola. I've found prefab for under $1,000, but I think I want the real thing. Any advice on your pergola search would be appreciated.

  5. I have Sierra blend in a modified basketweave embedded in sand on all my patios and walkways. It took 14 pallets of pavers and a lot of money to get it done, but it looks beautiful. It blends nicely with the house color and the gravel in our desert landscape. I think your choice should take house color and landscape into consideration. Good luck on your project!

  6. Have you thought about doing this work yourself? It is probably do-able. Do an on-line search on the steps involved, then talk to Carol at May Dreams Gardens. I'm pretty sure she did her brick patio herself, or herself and a friend or two. And if it's not perfect, that just gives it more character, you know?
    Sherry at the Zoo

  7. Hey Gina,

    Here I am with my two cents worth . Want a cottag-y looking patio, a good work-out and money left in your pocket ? Go with a DIY flagstone or paver patio - it's really a doable project.

    Get your GB to help. All you need to do is dig the area out, add weed barrier, an inch of sand and Viola! lay the stones and apply sand on top and sweep it in.

    Check out some stone yards in your area and either pick up your own flagstone or have them deliver it.

    There's nothing more durable and natural than a flagstone patio and these days they come in many different color variations.

  8. Thanks for the suggestions, everybody! You guys rock!

    carolyn - I'm so nevous about trying to do this myself! what if I mess everything up and waste a lot of money??

  9. My two cents. It seems to me that the prairie color would look best with your house. My husband and I did our patio last year, and we chose the basket weave pattern because it was easy. I believe that you could do this yourself. The great thing about pavers, is it's not like they are glued down, you can move them anytime. Just make sure your base is level, with a slight slope away from the house, and packed down good. We lucked out last summer when Menard's put the paver bricks on sale for 33 cents each. I haven't seen them for that price since then. Good luck!!

  10. Hey Gina,

    So simple " A fifth grader could do it , " :) Just kidding. There's no such thing as screwing up because it's so flexible and if you bought the materials yourself you'd not be wasting money, you'd be saving it!

    Go online and seek further information. They're even videos that show you step-by-step. You can do it girl!

  11. I like the Sierra, and I would say the herringbone at 45 degrees for my garden... but in that space with the two 90 degree edges (house and driveway) I think that the herringbone at 90 degrees would be great. :)

    As far as the paver colors go, does your house's foundation have any specific color to it? I ask because mine is a warm grey color, so cool grey tones wouldn't look so good, and I also have orange and grey brick in my from porch corners that would clash with red.

    So you may actually want to buy one or two of each brick you're seriously considering (you can use the extras to keep containers up off of the driveway or something later) and put them outside in that area. And then look at them in a few different types of light (overcast skies, sunshine, etc.) in situ before you make a final decision. Just a thought.

  12. Hi Gina, Sorry, I think I missed your e-mail. thank you.
    Just had a look at your blog. Have you made up your mind about the pavers? I would pick Autumn red because it is outside and one can't see every footprint on this colour. Terracotta red looks good but I think it is a bid hard with the Cottage colour. Trudi

  13. Gina, Sherry at the Zoo was wrong... I did not build my own patio. I had someone do it when I built the house so I don't know what it actually ended up cost.

    I do know it is a herringbone pattern, which is nice, and is either Sierra or Prairie. Over time, the pavers have faded.

    One thing the contractor did that was nice was to leave a small 3 x 4 or so cut out by the house where I can add some plants, and I've put a miniature garden in there with all miniature plants. He also didn't make it a complete rectangle. He notched one corner in to give me another planting area. If you look around my blog, you might find some pictures to see what I mean. Or send me an email and I'll send some pictures.

    I know what you mean about deciding. It is a lot of money and you want to do it right! You are already doing the right thing by getting several estimates

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens