Color Varieties of Concrete Pavers

One of the major benefits of concrete pavers is that they come in a wide variety of colors. This is in direct contrast to materials like poured concrete and asphalt, which typically come in one color (unless special coloring is added before they are laid). With this burst of color, you can do much more with your design than you would with the typical greys and blacks of slab materials. For instance, you can match your hardscape to your landscape or to the color palette of your home. Many homeowners fret over picking the right color. Note that there’s not going to be one ‘right’ choice out of a bunch of ‘wrong’ choices – many different blends of brick will work with your project, so pick the one that YOU like the most or that your contractor recommends.

How to Pick the Right Colors

Of course, the colors you pick for your new project, whether driveway, walkway, patio, pool deck, garden, or other application, mostly depend on your taste. Some colors will go well with any environment, especially naturals and neutrals like grey, black, brown, and beige. However, sometimes certain colors will go best with your already existing home style, landscape, and other hardscape projects. This includes reds, oranges, yellows, and pastel colors – these colors can really draw the eye and look great given the right environment, as they can easily clash with other aspects of your home and yard.

Another thing to keep in mind is how the color affects the way the area looks. Lighter colors will generally make a project look larger, while darker colors will make it look smaller. In addition, single color pavers usually show stains much more easily, while blends will hide stains better. However, note that there are plenty of ways to remove stains and clean pavers, so don’t worry about this that much.

Another thing to keep in mind is the heat that may be generated by the pavers you select. If people will be walking on the surface of the pavers with bare feet, it will be best if you take a lighter looking paver. For instance, you will want to go with a lighter color for a pool deck project or a patio versus a driveway. Driveways, in general, are better with darker colors, as this color will hide stains and marks better than a lighter color.

An important note: pavers even within the same colors may differ from order to order. Thus, if you want to use the same color pavers for different projects, its probably best to have those projects completed at the same time to ensure that you won’t have major differences in color between different areas – this is completed by mixing the pallets together as much as possible. You (or whoever is doing the installation) should be sure to take brick from different parts of each pallet and from different pallets at once to ensure an even distribution of the brick.

A Selection of Concrete Paver Colors

In general pavers come in different blends of colors. The most popular are two color blends. This can either mean two bricks of an entirely different color each (for instance, one red and another gold). More commonly, however, this means a set of bricks where the two colors exist in varying quantities. For instance, one brick may contain almost all of Color A, while another can contain almost all Color B, and where other bricks may contain mixtures of A and B at varying amounts.

There are many different paver color blends available from many different concrete paver manufacturers, so an exhaustive list isn’t possible at this point. Please check with your selected manufacturer to determine both paving stone colors selection and availability. (Some paver colors and shapes require manufacturing time as they aren’t kept in stock).

Single color blends – one solid color throughout the pavers. Examples include Nicolock’s charcoal, pewter, chocolate, salmon, chamois, red, limestone, and mojave tan; Grinnell’s charcoal, red, and sand; Cambridge’s Salmon, Sahara, Ruby, Onyx, Chestnut, and Shell;

Two color blends – some of the most popular concrete paver colors. When installing these bricks, the color should be ‘randomized’ as much as is possible. This requires the installer to not take from the top of a single pallet of concrete pavers down through each layer. Instead, the installer should work from multiple pallets at the same time, and work through entire sections. This is to ensure concrete paver color variability throughout the finished product.

Examples of two pavers colors blends include Nicolock’s granite city blend, terra cotta blend, golden brown blend, harvest gold blend, fire island blend, adobe blend, cocoa blend, autumn blend, marble blend, crab orchard blend, bayberry blend, oyster blend, sahara blend, mocha blend, and sage blend; Grinnell’s hickory, buckskin, chestnut, brown flash, gray flash, and multicolor; Camrbidge’s Ruby/Onyx, Sahara/Chestnut, Chestnut/Salmon, Onyx/Natural,  Salmon/Onyx, Onyx/Chestnut, Golden/Onyx, Canyon Blend, Toffee/Onyx, Chestnut/Bronze; and Rinox’s Ash Charcoal, Burgundy Wine, Morocco Beige, Ivory Beige, Milton Grey, and Panama Beige.

Note as well that three color blends also do exist, but they are rarer than the ones described above. They are also more difficult to work with, as keeping an even distribution of the color throughout the project can be a challenge. In addition, minimum size requirements for projects with three-color blends are required to allow for proper mixtures of colors.

Note that it is possible to mix colors of different blends together. This is done most often with single colors as the paver pattern or paver design requires. For example, many like to use standard grey brick for the major part of the patio or driveway with a darker border used as a soldier course. However, mixing more than three colors may lead to a very confusing and messy installation. Thus, it’s best to stick with the blends that the manufacturers have provided.

Other Things to Consider

Preserving the color over time is an important aspect of this choice to consider. The best way to do this is to pick a paver that will not fade due to the sun or to rain; in addition, pavers near pools must be able to withstand the effects of chlorinated water. Another way to preserve or heighten the effect of the colors of your brick is to seal the pavers every year or two. This will give them the ‘wet’ look that makes their colors pop from the landscape.

Design Possibilities for Concrete and Brick Pavers

One of the major advantages of concrete pavers is that they allow you to be very playful and free with the designs of your project. You are not limited in shapes, colors, and patterns as you are with more popular paving materials like concrete and asphalt. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to create some complex pattern or design if you don’t want to; sometimes simpler is indeed better, both for your budget and for the look you’re trying to create. The deal is, of course, that you at least have the options available if you so choose to pursue them.

This article will give you a general  overview of some of the design possibilities available for your next project, whether it be a driveway, patio, walkway, pool deck, landscape, or garden creation. Consider adding some of these ideas to your paver designs. Note that some of them will require extra expense, as noted in the description, so if you’re on a budget you’ll have to be careful not to go too nuts. Still, you can add some interesting flairs to the design often without increasing the cost.

Note that these designs apply to all types of pavers. Whether they are concrete pavers, brick pavers, natural stone pavers, plain bricks, or others, you can use your creativity to apply these patterns and designs with one or more materials, some of which have not been mentioned here. Note that some of the options may work better with one type or the other; for instance, brick pavers are hard to cut, so designs that require curves and heavy cuts may be challenging with this type of material.

General Layout of Your Pavers

Changes in Elevation: How your pavers react to changes in elevation may depend on the actual changes in grade, but consider the options here for how you may want the pavers to ascend or descend that grade. (For instance, check out this article on the raised paver patio.) You could go with small steps, medium sized landings, or something else. Obviously, a lot of this will depend on the specific physical and engineering needs of the project, so consult with a contractor/engineer if the design will incorporate heavy changes in grades (i.e. slope or elevation).

Curves: Adding curves to your installation gives your walkway (or other project, use your imagination!) elegance and sophistication. Many paving stones designs and brick paver designs work better with curves.

Paver Pattern Designs

In this paver pattern discussion on this site, I give more details on the available patterns. But here are some other ideas:

Patterns: As described on other pages here at the CPG, the patterns (particular ways to lay the brick, like herringbone patters) available are varied, and depend on the shapes of the brick your purchase. Some patterns will look better than others given the dimensions and scope of your paving stone designs, so be sure to consider all options available to find the best fit. The pattern you select will determine how the eye will or will not be drawn to the project, and thus whether or not the project will be the ‘centerpiece’ or the ‘complement’ to the rest of the landscape and hardscape.

Circles: Adding circles of varying sizes to your patio, driveway, or poolside is a great way to spruce up the beauty of your home. To install concrete paver circles you will need to have a circle kit. Each company makes its own kinds of circle kits, often in limited colors, so you’ll need to ensure that the color and style of paver you select for the patio or driveway as a whole has an optional circle kit that you can purchase. Installing a circle kit can be challenging, as it has to be laid from the center out to be done properly.

Engraved or Illustrated Pavers: You can get pavers and paving stones with certain designs either engraved, painted, or otherwise layered on the surface of the brick. This could be a fun addition to your outdoor patio or driveway, for example.

Additional Structures

When building your new patio, walkway, driveway, or whatever, consider adding these extra features to your application:

Walls: One way to spruce up your concrete and brick pavers designs is to add walls. Some walls are purely functional and are installed as retaining walls to keep back dirt or line the bottom of a hill. Some walls, however, can be purely cosmetic, integrated closely with your design. Often paver companies sell wall stone in the same color and style as regular concrete paving stones, so probably be able to match up the components either perfectly or by using complementary colors.

Waterfalls: Adding a custom waterfall to your backyard or pool setting is a great way to add style and taste to your patio or pool deck. The engineering for a waterfall is a bit more complex than usual paver installations, so you will probably have to call a professional (and your contractor may have to sub-contract out the water work).

Fire Pits: A great addition to a backyard patio, a fire pit is a great way to add some campfire fun right at home. Certain regulations may apply for installing this fire pit, so definitely consult with a contractor.

Steps and Stoops: Adding a new set of steps or a stoop to your home entrance may be a great option for you, especially if you are installing a walkway to your home. You can often use the same pavers for the stoop as for the walkway, with a few minor additions to complete your concrete pavers designs. Don’t forget to add concrete balusters where needed to give people a place to grab on to when walking through the area.

Enclosed Areas: Keep away from the sun and rain by enclosing your patio, either with a permanent structure or with a removable tent or overhang of some kind. Read more in this article about the enclosed patio.

Stepping Stones: You can also use pavers to create stepping stone like designs. To do this, simply use paving slabs or other larger versions of these pavers. Another interesting idea is to make small squares or circles of pavers in the form of round stepping stones. Simply install small bases in the area where you want your ‘stones,’  lay the pavers, and you’ll have ‘stepping pavers.’

Landscaping: This is an entire subject on its own, so I won’t cover it here. For more information, check out these articles, such as this one on landscaping rocks.

A Final Word

Safety First: Of course, what looks nice may not turn out to be safe. Never compromise with safety, not only to protect against physical harm but also to protect against damage to your home and property.

Mixing and Matching: You can also mix and match the materials and design possibilities mentioned here for an integrated, well-thought out look for your front or backyards.