Here is a brick and granite patio being installed in Redding, CT. A design you don’t see everyday. When discussing materials for patios with our landscape clients, I always suggest using materials that already exist on the property and house and use those materials for any new construction projects. The reason for that is the more materials that are introduced to a property, the more hodgepodge the end result. Getting back to the picture above, a similar brick existed on the chimney and the front steps were granite. We would typically choose one material for a new patio but the client wanted something a little different. I was worried the end result would be too busy but the client was sold.
This brings me to my second point. The goal of every landscape project is to have a unified effect throughout the property. As a landscape designer living in New England with all of it’s history, I’m a firm believer of using natural materials as much as possible in our landscape designs. Very rarely do we ever spec. concrete pavers for our walkways and patios. Don’t get me wrong, concrete pavers have a place in the industry. Concrete pavers could work with modern architectural styles, they might even work with other architectural styles found in our area. The problem I see is companies are using concrete pavers for every project that comes through their doors because of the ease of installation and that’s not right.
A lot of houses in Connecticut and throughout New England are old houses. Also, a lot of the newer houses found in Connecticut have a style representative of architectural styles from the past. If the over all goal of a landscape designer is to marry house and landscape, how does a concrete paver walkway or patio accomplish this in front of a 200 year old house? How does it even accomplish this in front of a new colonial or cape style house? It doesn’t! When an architect does his best to replicate a style from our past, when materials, such as wood windows, are used to help sell that fact, isn’t it the landscape designers responsibility to continue that style into the landscape? I believe it is. The New Milford Historical Society is a perfect example when they built a new addition a couple of years ago. The architects spared no expense in trying to tie this new addition into the existing framework of pre-existing, historic buildings. Cedar shake roof, brick veneer, wood windows and doors. These are all materials that could have been easily passed up for vinyl, fiberglass and cement. These old school materials are usually more expensive but they were imperative to the over all plan. Fast forward to the new walkway. You guessed it, concrete pavers. Nothing drives me more crazy! You would think that an organization like the New Milford Historical Society, whose goal is to share and preserve New Milford’s historic past, would get it when it comes to their own property. This organization gives out an annual award every year for the best historic preservation project.
The contractor who installed the project should have known better as well. It’s the contractor/designers responsibilty to guide the project and client to make the right decisions for a successful installation. A concrete paver walkway in the front of The New Milford Historical Society is just silly. The walkway sticks out like a sore thumb. Especially when there are other walkways built from natural materials within the same space. The new walkway adds two additional materials and colors which didn’t previously exist. In my opinion, the new patio is a cluster@$%# as it doesn’t fit in to the existing landscape. Looking on the bright side, I guess the good news is the walkway didn’t end up being stamped concrete, another one of my favorites.
If you like what you see, please visit Designing Eden to see similar projects like this one at www.DesigningEden.com.