The word "paver" isn't particularly glamorous or exciting, but the things themselves can play an essential role in creating the outdoor space of your dreams. From outdoor dining rooms and poolside paths to chessboards and labyrinths, pavers pave the way to outdoor living.
Unite The Zones: The regularly-placed pavers throughout Sofia's yard invite one to hopscotch between the different zones: dining area, lounge area, grill station, vertical garden, and fireplace. An unbroken expanse of gravel would not have created that same feeling of "why not wander over here?"— and is much more difficult to walk on.
Impose Order: Margaret's yard keeps the wildness to the borders, allowing guests to feel like they're lounging in a civilized oasis where they won't be sucked dry by mosquitoes or have bees drown themselves in their cocktails. Meanwhile, the pale color keeps things cool underfoot.
Go Organic: This is an excellent juxtaposition of clean lines (the posts, trim, roof, patio, and patio border) with flowing, natural shapes (the plants and pavers. One can stay on the patio where all is clean and safe, or wander off on the path looking for trouble.
Live Large: I would never have thought to use such wonderfully massive pavers on such a narrow path, but the effect is magical.
Create A Room: Another wonderful juxtaposition of orderly and wild, this outdoor dining room combines elegant furniture with a patio made of interlocking pavers in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.
Create A Pattern/Not-Pattern: The look of this walkway fascinated me so I was thrilled to see that the homeowners had described how it came about: "The walkway brings people into the space, doglegs around the garage and connects the house to the patio with the vegetable garden out back. It's made of local limestone, and the pattern is based on Japanese path design. In Japanese garden design, I believe the style would be called "shin," which is highly controlled and clean. We were sure to design the limestone walk so as not to ever have four corners come together. A meeting of three is more aesthetically pleasing." I love the way this path feels soothingly orderly, yet pleasingly random.
Take the Best of Both Worlds: Pavers provide level, solid surfaces for furniture but allow for plenty of green in between.
Create Possibility: As you exit the front door, the paver paths offer options: where shall you go this fine morning? The correct answer is always "to the pool" (see below).
Go With The Flow: According to Juliana, "Eventually my husband (with the help of several friends) chipped out all the concrete; built a redwood deck, planter boxes, and an L-shaped bench for lounging; laid sod, and then — when the sod died in part of the yard — set down pavers and stones to make a patio." Don't cry over dead sod! Cover the evidence with pavers and no one will be the wiser.
Create Drama: Perhaps a glowing pool and a magnificent fountain create their own drama, but the long, elegant, sedately-placed pavers leading to them certainly add to the effect.
Mix-N-Match: Pavers are expensive, heavy, and a major commitment. Save yourself some money- and the heartbreak of your chosen pavers being discontinued- by working with what you've got and adding as you go. In this Melbourne yard, bricks pave one area while round pavers lead to a rectangular paver path. If one breaks or the homeowner wants to switch up the style she won't have to replace every single one!
Wander: Forgo your yard for a soothing, edible labyrinth that will be the talk of the neighborhood. According to Mebane Labyrinth, "The Walther Avenue labyrinth is described on the World Wide Labyrinth Locator as 'Octagonal shape designed to fit our yard and that is exactly the truth. There is no mowing here because the labyrinth takes up the entire front. There are several kinds of thyme between the pavers. And some other edible and blooming things." Do a few laps and by the time you're done you'll have assembled a salad.
Check It: If you happen to have a chess junkie (or several) in the family as well as plenty of space and money, how about an oversized outdoor chess board? This tutorial involves poured concrete but you could definitely make one out of pavers. Pro tip: checkers is super fun and it's a lot easier to make red and black rounds than it is to carve ponies and what-not.