Building With Pavers, Stone, And Brick

Many of today’s parks and public spaces are benefiting from paver, stone, and brick designs made possible thanks to the creativity of architects and manufacturers.

Brick walkways can give an old-world feel to a modern park. Photo Courtesy Boral

Across the nation, new ideas are emerging to create the “wow” factor that people expect in parks.

Designers have selected the above materials over the years for good reasons:

• Durability

• Addition of beauty and form to a space

• Cost-effectiveness

• Versatility.

Whether rough and rugged or refined and elegant, pavers, stone, and brick offer a unique combination of natural beauty and historic style that few other materials can match.

Pavers

Flexibility in design and sustainability are reasons clay pavers make sense for parks. Permeable pavers are often the environmental choice to preserve natural water drainage through both traditional and unique segmental pavements. They also significantly reduce runoff from common rainstorms, eliminating puddles and minimizing local flooding and erosion.

Certain pavers even meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Stormwater Phase II criteria as a structural best-management practice.

“Clay pavers are durable and long-lasting; their color will never fade, and they don’t require a sealer,” says Shelley Ross, director of marketing for Boral Bricks.

“Made from natural, sustainable materials–clay and shale–they provide color contrast and texture to a landscape. They also provide warmth and scale to a project. From a performance standpoint, there are some really good arguments.”

Another reason park designers like clay pavers is they allow air and water to reach the root zone of trees, allowing the snow to melt faster, thus reducing ice hazards.

Brick

Brick has been around for centuries, proving longevity and durability, but there are many other benefits that make brick a premier product for hardscapes and buildings.

Pavers, brick and stone add color and texture to the landscape. Photo Courtesy Boral

Put simply, the natural colors of brick give a certain panache that is not necessarily seen with other building materials–an old-world feel that seems more reminiscent of a 500-year-old park that one might find in Europe.

Brick is also one of the most cost-effective materials of building because it doesn’t need any coating to preserve its good looks. Plus, maintenance is easy. Aside from occasional cleaning, brick requires no repairs or maintenance, which ultimately saves time and money. And unlike with painted finishes, the texture of natural brick actually hides dirt and grime.

Brick does have limited uses, however. For instance, a brick-veneer wall will typically be applied to a block backwall to make it look attractive. But a single-wythe brick wall is not structurally sufficient to function as a retaining wall; it is fine for a low two- or three-course flower bed, but it can’t stand alone for a 6-foot retaining wall.

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