Build It Better

Plus, it needs little maintenance, apart from occasional cleaning. This saves time and money. The natural brick texture actually hides dirt and grime, unlike paint finishes, which highlight it. Bricks are also termite-resistant.

When it comes to utilizing bricks and clay pavers, professionals should keep the following in mind:

Bricks do have limited uses. A brick-veneer wall will typically be applied to a block back wall to make it look attractive. A single wythe wall is not structurally sufficient to function as a retaining wall.

Clay pavers are typically used in “brick” sizes and dimensions. Concrete pavers can be formed in a variety of interlocking shapes so a cobbled look is achievable, but that will fade out.

Brick or segmental paving is the type of product installed for the long term. If the hardscape is to be redesigned or reconfigured in a few years, materials that would be easier to remove should be considered.

Today’s Outdoor Trends

Outdoor spaces require the same care and detailed design as interior counterparts, so what are some of the latest trends in styles and colors with these materials?

“For the Gen Y market segment, the color direction is definitely dynamic–bright, saturated colors along with everything environmentally conscious.  Natural elements playfully interacting with cool contemporary elements is the new direction,” says Victoria Currens, principal with Style Interior Design in Irvine, Calif.

Today’s trends are definitely following the hospitality industry, inspired by luxury sites like the Roosevelt, Standard, and W hotels. The resort look involves spacious grounds incorporating both softscapes and hardscapes that separate zones of cabanas, outdoor eating areas, fireplaces, fire pits, lounge areas, pool bars, and comfortable pool-side chaises.

The nightclub look is found in a more condensed area with less landscaping and harder surfaces. The areas tend to be on podium decks or rooftop decks with spectacular views.

Since these areas are primarily comprised of hard surfaces and minimalistic landscaping, activities are not segregated. There is usually one large event area.

Michael Schrock, principal of Costa Mesa, California-based Urban Arena, says Las Vegas is the place where new outdoor trends are being played out.

“While some of the things they do are not achievable due to cost or manpower, the overall feel and excitement is obtainable. The consumer wants the exciting amenities they have to offer, and it sells,” Schrock says.

No matter where stone, pavers, and brick are used, these materials make a lot of sense, and their raw beauty can be called upon throughout any space. Because they’re also such strong design elements, even incorporating a little will make a large statement.

The smallest spaces often can be the best because a landscape architect can invest more money in the highest-quality design and materials.

Christine Rombouts is a freelance writer specializing in the building industry. She can be reached at

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Related posts:

  1. Choosing Patio Flooring
  2. Building With Pavers, Stone, And Brick
  3. Ground Cover
  4. Pine Hall Brick Wins Gold
  5. Practical Residential Paving

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