The opportunity to add texture, dimension and color in your outdoor living design has greatly increased in the last decade as outdoor living has become a priority for homeowners. As options for driveway materials have expanded, this has influenced other hard surfaces in landscape design and outdoor living.
Originally designed as a much more appealing alternative to concrete slab or asphalt driveways, classic concrete interlocking pavers are small and thick, making them sturdy enough to withstand the weight of multiple vehicles. Since concrete interlocking pavers are laid individually over base rock, should one or more get damaged, they are easy to replace, giving them yet another advantage over the typical concrete slab driveway.
As the popularity of concrete interlocking pavers increased, manufacturers began creating them in more textures, colors, and finishes, including larger format interlocking pavers that mimic the veining and cleft of natural stone. Because larger format pavers are bigger in size (yet thinner in thickness), they should not be used as a driveway material, but they are ideal for backyard patios, outdoor spaces, and pathways. Coordinating styles and sizes of porcelain pavers allow for the creation of that highly desired indoor-outdoor flow.
Surfaces that include walkways, patios and pool decks (but not driveways, or where vehicles are parked) are seeing additional new flooring and outdoor surfaces come to market. One recent trend, according to Harrell Design + Build Designer, Lisa Parramore, is the emergence of wood grain porcelain pavers. “Wood-inspired porcelain tiles have gained significant foothold inside homes,” Lisa shares. “Once again, paver manufacturers are seizing an opportunity to take this interior design aesthetic outside by creating durable, low maintenance, and very attractive pavers that have the same wood-like appearance.”
Wood-inspired porcelain pavers come in variety of sizes from small to large. They also come in large format sizes, including a popular plank format, like a wood floor. Just as with the classic driveway pavers, the new wood-inspired porcelain pavers are placed over base rock. “Most true porcelain tile has to be adhered to a concrete slab to ensure its durability,” explains Lisa. “The need for a slab adds to the cost, as you are hiring a concrete specialist, as well as a tile installer. The same look can be achieved with wood-inspired porcelain pavers and costs from 25% to 40% less, specifically because a concrete slab isn’t necessary.”
“One of our vendors commented that this product is ‘flying off the shelves,’” Lisa recounts. And the installation of wood-inspired porcelain pavers or tile ensures that you have continuity in the look and feel of your flooring, if you have a wood flooring inside. This is a great way to extend your living space, blur the line between inside and outside, and create the outdoor room of your dreams.
Lisa, who holds her Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) accreditation, is currently working on an exterior remodeling and landscaping project in Los Gatos in which the client wants to use wood grain pavers for their expansive pool deck. Proving that this product is a hot commodity, Lisa was able to find matching pool coping (the material above the water tile line that generally covers the top of the pool structure) from paver manufacturer Belgard, to create a continuous look.
Outdoor porcelain pavers in a variety of interpretations of wood planks can add a touch of the avant garde to your garden, backyard, or outdoor space. If you’d like to explore this contemporary look in your Silicon Valley or Peninsula yard, we invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Harrell Design + Build Designers.