Hardscape Materials: Natural Stone or Pavers?

Hardscape Materials: Natural Stone or Pavers?

If you’re considering making hardscape additions or changes to your outdoor landscape design, there are several factors you’ll have to think about. One of the most important? The actual material you’ll be using, for which there are several choices.

At LaytonScape, our landscaping and hardscaping experts can help walk you through the hardscape materials available to you and assist you in making the best choice. In most situations, two primary materials will be your best options: Natural stone or pavers. Let’s go over the qualities and benefits of each of these, plus how you should go about picking between them for your next project.

natural stone pavers hardscape

Natural Stone Qualities

Natural stone is what it sounds like: Stone that’s directly mined from the earth itself, where it has formed over a period of millions and millions of years. This is called the quarrying process, after which stone can be cut into various slabs or tiles.

Some of the important qualities to note on natural stone:

  • Aesthetics: Natural stone comes with textures and colors that cannot be replicated, making it the top visual choice for those obsessed with the aesthetics of their hardscaping. Every natural stone piece is unique in some small way, even if you will have control over basic colors and textures when choosing yours.

  • Durability: Natural stone is exposed to elements like rain, snow and ice all the time – it won’t have any issue standing up to them as part of your landscaping, either.

  • Versatility: Perfect for both wet-laid and dry-laid patio applications, natural stone is also a very versatile product.

  • Price: Natural stone is the more expensive hardscape option – quarrying and cutting the stone is not cheap, and installing stone blocks that aren’t standardized in size takes more work.

  • Heat: Note that if your natural stone is directly exposed to sun, it could get a bit hot during the summer months. Be careful of this if you have small children or pets.

Paver Qualities

Pavers, on the other hand, are man-made stones that are meant to mimic the look of natural stone. Some of the qualities of pavers include:

  • Uniformity: Because they’re man-made, pavers come in standardized sizes, textures and colors. These can be easier to track than natural stones for people building a significant hardscape. They’re also typically easier for contractors to install.

  • Coolness: Unlike natural stone, pavers will not heat up in the sun. This often makes them the preference for walkways or other areas where bare skin may come into contact with the hardscape.

  • Dry only: Pavers are usually only used for dry-laid patterns, not we-laid ones.

  • Price: Pavers are cheaper than natural stone due to their uniformity and ease of installation.

Which to Choose?

In the end, which you choose here will come down to your preferences and desires. In some cases, you might even use a combination of pavers and natural stone within your landscaping designs. Those who have their hearts set on the best aesthetic possible will favor natural stone, while those who are looking primarily at walkways or other contacted hardscape areas may prefer pavers due to their temperature benefits.

For more on which to choose for your next hardscape project, or to learn about any of our landscaping, water features or outdoor lighting options, speak to the pros at LaytonScape today.