Any landscape construction project can be a significant investment. Though you are increasing the enjoyment you receive from your landscape while increasing the value of your home, you also want to be sure you are getting your money’s worth. In particular, you may wonder how long a particular feature or item will last before it has to be repaired or replaced.
As with many things, the answer is: it depends. In the case of a patio, it will depend on the materials used, how the patio was located in the landscape and how well it was constructed.
Lifespan of Patio Stone & Pavers
Most patio pavers, including flagstone, interlocking pavers and brick, have an extremely long lifespan that can be measured in decades rather than years. Stone can last for thousands of years in nature, so why would it not do the same as part of your patio? There are some softer stone materials that may start to show signs of wear after years of continued use. Usually, this adds character to your landscape and is not necessarily a bad thing.
Both natural stone and manufactured pavers have a longer lifespan than wood and wood-composite products. It is likely to be other factors that determine the lifespan of your patio rather than the materials themselves.
Locating a Patio for Longevity
While most places in the landscape will work well for a patio, there are a couple of situations where you may want to reconsider your chosen location. The first is if poor soils are present. It is important that your patio is constructed over stable ground. If you start digging in an area and discover the soil seems to be very wet or there is a lot of organic matter present below the surface, then that soil may not provide a stable base. The patio will be likely to settle unevenly, requiring the resetting of patio pavers on a regular basis.
It is best not to build your patio where surface water from other parts of the yard will be constantly flowing across it. Some surface water is fine, but excess water may shorten the lifespan of mortar and aggregate between patio stones.
Good Patio Construction
Talk to your landscape contractor or garden center about the best construction techniques for your patio. It is important to compact the subgrade – the existing soil – that will be under the patio. There should also be a well compacted layer of aggregate that serves as a base layer under the patio pavers. Choosing the proper mortar or aggregate to go between flagstone or interlocking pavers will also affect the lifespan of your patio.
You may decide to use a commercial sealer for your patio’s natural stone or interlocking pavers. Sealers can increase the lifespan of some softer stone materials in regions where there is a lot of freeze and thaw. Using a sealer also helps to keep the color of pavers looking deep and rich. A good sealer can last for several years, but will need to be reapplied after it starts to fade.
Choosing high quality materials is always important in landscape construction projects. A carefully constructed natural stone or interlocking paver patio in the right location will provide years and years of enjoyment.