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AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO LANDSCAPE DESIGN
Readers, please note that most all of these images can also be viewed in other sections, namely, Courtyards & Patios, Stairs & Steps, and Pathways.
However, they are still poignant herein providing a more specific conversation on the Paving Patterns though which these surfaces are composed.
Beyond the discussion of 'containing space' (see Courtyards and Patios), is that fundamental plane where our hands, feet and somersaults meet the ground.
Being the tidy creatures that we are, an even surface, easily freed of debris, is sought out over our ancestral dirt floors, (but in fairness, a stabilized rammed earthen floor will trump, (god, I can hardly use that word anymore)...trump, tile, wood or concrete surfaces.
Hardscape patio surfaces, composed of paving patterns, have a wide range of media choices:
Rammed earth, compacted decomposed granite, concrete, modular concrete units, stone of all sorts, custom made pavers or wood decking, and even colorized asphalt!
I am particularly fond of mixing it up where appropriate -
which translates into what ever I can get away with...
Mixed media Paving Pattern.
The constant of the Grid Pattern, holding-in the energy of the Curvilinear Mosaic.
Field sketch exploring the balance between hard and softscape within this entry courtyard. This Mortar & Sand-Set paving pattern, circumnavigates the interior softscape. This layout also provided an opportunity to concrete pour the interior for further activity square footage.
Sand-Set Mixed Media - any composition that can be laid flat and create an even and durable walking (playing) surface is fair game.
Here is an example; a Sand-Set patio & walkway, set in Colorized Concrete pavers, (of various dimensions), along with a seasoning of brick, flagstone and slate.
A free-form jigsaw puzzle.
Sand-set, custom concrete pavers, Red & Brown Iron Oxides
I am a big fan of sand-set paving for a number of reasons; want to here them?
Budget: the foundation consists of only compacted aggregates with a topping of mortar sand on which to set the pavers; way less expensive than a concrete screed. And, even if you can afford the concrete, you still will generally need to grout the joints.
Note that the perimeter pavers must be locked-in, either by backing against a stable vertical element (such as this seating wall), and if not, then those edge pavers must be set in mortar - no big deal, but these steps are essential in holding the paving pattern in place.
Transpiration of water and air:
Naturally, any patio surface will be graded with some pitch for positive drainage. Sand-set pavers allow for some of this water to percolate down into the soil, which perimeter plantings just love. In addition, air can circulate, releasing trapped heat and moisture.
Ease of future underground changes:
Sections of a sand-set patio may be lifted and temporarily removed to allow for underground excavations; whether it be trimming a root, or running a conduit for some new service - it makes 'living easy' and that's what we are attempting to accomplish after all.
As mentioned, once the perimeter of a courtyard, or any hardscape is established, one can choose from a variety of paving materials.
Paving Pattern corner detail
These planter Edge Pavers rest in a secure Mortar Bed to lock-in the pattern.
Note that many of these pics can also be seen in their full scale at both,
Courtyards and Patios, as well as at,
Pathways, and at Stairs & Steps.
What can I say, I'm just one guy cutting and pasting his skinny white ass off here. And, in fairness, they all lend themselves to overlapping, topical discussion.
Stone and Concrete Patio.
Sketch detail of layout for stone pools within a concrete pour.
In place of all stone, exposed aggregate concrete was used, but dressed-up with corner pools of stone.
Note the stone dressing of this concrete patio/walkway and how it transitions into a cedar deck,see Decks for more.
Perhaps, Paving Patterns, is a misnomer? In my mind's eye, my Imaginarum, I see most any hardscape surface, laying there on the ground, as a paving pattern.
I'm sure that the ASLA will have a bone to pick over that with me...
Fortunately, no one is watching, except for Schrodenger's Cat...
Contemporary Modular Paving system.
Colorized concrete pavers have become increasingly popular. Sand-set: just lay your base, and 'blow & go'.
However, they too can be attractive, particularly when breaking up their rectilinear pattern with curving wall, or a border of stone.
Adding a bit of that stone from the wall into the paving pattern can be a nice touch as well.
Entry Courtyard for indoor/outdoor restaurant dining
24 inch square Sand-Set, Colorized Concrete Pavers. A simple layout for the paving pattern was utilized, to, well,...keep it simple. The rap around courtyard was at least 5,000 square feet of surface area. Any, more complex pattern, would have been inadvisable.
A scattering of grey & black iron oxide was utilized in the mix, along with Portland white cement (to help accent the colors), washed mortar sand, and a dash of plasticizer.
When utilizing these contemporary, mass market paving products, explore the possibilities in Mixing together both varying sized pavers as well as their Coloration.
Additionally, these pavers provide an excellent Backdrop to other featured materials, such as this stonework.
An age old paving material along with its Basket Weave paving pattern; good old fashion Brick.
However, such an installation will cost three to four times that of the modular concrete pavers, set in sand.
See, Stairs and Steps, for a pictorial discussion on brick installation.
Individual stepping stones set in a grid pattern with gravel joints.
Sometimes, the laying of a paving pattern does not mean sandwiching one paver against another, supported on a common, compacted base. Setting individual pavers, independent from its neighbor is an interesting look.
In terms of installation, a compacted aggregate base is established, then each paver is set in its own bed of mortar.
A variation on above; independent stepping stones, but set in Clustered Groupings.
Here again, a compacted base was first established; thereafter, each piece of the clustered stepping stone was then set in a mortar base to hold both the composition together, as well as holding the stepping stone in place.
Note, the young ground cover plantings that will fill-in the soil voids between stepping stones.
As above, so below; more Sand-Set Paving Patterns, but here in stone rather than in modular paving materials.
Patio Flagstones, such as these Basaltic units, require a fair amount of edge cutting and breaking in order to fit together and conform to their jigsaw layout. Mixing and matching various sized pieces is an art-form in itself; same sized pieces, generally, are not as attractive as mixing it up.
Here, the joints are held to about 3/4 inch minus and then compacted with a sand/aggregate mix. Butting the joints requires a fair amount of cutting.
Paving patterns can be of Mixed Installation Styles, such as this path, walkway and landing.
Individual stepping stones in a gravel path; flagstone walkway of fitted & jointed units; and, a mortar & grouted landing.
Note the various material handlings for the edge-work.
Another flagstone paving pattern as a garden path. You can see the Thick Grout Joints, some in excess of one inch. This is not inexpensive, both in terms of materials as well as skilled labor.
Note the varying sizes of stone and how the mason utilized a rough metric of two's and three's, i.e., either two or a three stone width, along the length of the path.
Creating a paving pattern out of broken-up Concrete Fragments is not as simple as this rough material might suggest.
The pieces are generally three to six inches in thick, and the edges are not sheer but jagged and protruding. This creates a situation where wider joints are required.
Fortunately, Wide Compacted Aggregate Joints, work well to lock these fragments together into a pathway. In addition, the rough aesthetic of the exposed aggregate in the concrete lends itself to such joint-work.
When using smooth-faced concrete slab
I like to make a mix of grout with a lot of sand and 1/4 inch minus aggregate, along with a masonry glue binder.
I consider most any rhythmic repetition of surface material on the ground-plane to be a paving pattern. Ergo, stepping stones through the background of lawn, too, falls into this category.
Note that although functional, this path of Flags is a pretty boring composition; my bad - sometimes a guy is in need of a quick solution...
What would be more interesting, is to have utilized three sizes of flagstones, some singular, as in this pic, but then varied where alternate steps were composed of two or three smaller flags...
All right, I'm reaching a bit here to call this Crushed Cantera Stone pathway a Paving Pattern. What can I say...if you look closely at each, individual pebble you will see a pattern, and.... ah, forget it...
Cantera is a soft, sedentary stone. I wanted a path with a particular auditory expression. Walking on this path has a pleasing crunching sound. And that is what I was after.
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