Selection of Material

For hardscape installations, materials are available in many different styles. They can vary in material type as well as finish, shape, size and colour. There are pros and cons to each different\z56 material and in this section we will first explain each aspect.

Material Types:

Concrete pavers and segmental retaining wall (SRW), along with natural stone, are the materials used to create all of the different elements of your landscape project, from your driveway and patio surfaces to retaining walls and steps.


There are two types of manufacturing processes used to make pavers and SRW:

Dry Cast
Manufactured using very little water and high compression, this material will have the greatest strength and durability factor. Surface textures are slightly rough and are produced in a range of colours and textures.

Wet Cast
Manufactured by pouring a wet mixture into a mould until cured, this material will not to be as durable and tends to be more expensive. However, colours and textures will appear more vibrant and natural with a very smooth surface.

Natural Stone

Available in many varieties, natural stone is a beautiful product. It is generally more expensive than concrete pavers for both the material and installation. Also, as natural stone is quarried and not manufactured, there will be a much greater variation in colour and consistency. Natural stone can be used for patios and overlay as well as some retaining walls but should not be used for driveways. Types of natural stone include Limestone, Slate, Sandstone, Marble and Granite. Defending on the application, these product can come in natural forms such as flagstone and large boulders or pre-cut pieces.

Styles and Finishes

Thirty years ago, your choices were limited but today it seems as if the sky is the limit. The industry is constantly changing and adapting to trends. Narrowing down the options can seem like a daunting task but is important.
Websites and product catalogues are a very good place to start looking and to get a feel for what catches your eye. These manufactures do a great job in showcasing the products in various applications. They include many photographs of completed projects and provide innovative ideas for installation blending different colours and styles together.

In addition, most landscape suppliers are a valuable resource and have displays of paver styles and colours. In many instances, these displays include mock installations to allow you to get a feel for what the product would look like once installed.

Paver Options

-Pavers come in many textures. They can have more of a natural or slate look(slightly variable surface), a smooth finish, a tumbled or “antique” look and even a highly polished finish.

-Shapes are generally limited to square or rectangle for pavers. However, there are some products that made to look like random natural flagstone or even hardwood planks.

-Manufactures also provide many choices for sizes and scale of their pavers. These products can range from very small pavers and cobblestones to very large slabs.

-Pavers can also vary in joint width. This is the gap between the pavers that are filled with sand.

-Colour is a huge factor in product selection. From dark slate grey and onyx black to warm brown and beige earth-tones, your options now span the colours of the rainbow.

Manufactures with products readily available in the Ottawa area include: Techo Bloc®, Permacon® & UniLock®.

After making a selection, it is prudent to verify what you are getting with actual samples from your contractor or retailer in order to ensure the disered colour and texture. As the consumer, you should keep in mind that there will be some degree of colour shift from the catalogue pages and displays that may have aged or have had a sealer applied when compared to newly manufactured product. New product can be dusty or chalky and that will wash away with installation and a few rainfalls.

Ultimately, the decision is yours, so take your time and discover something you will love!