Pavers vs. Natural Stone vs. Concrete: Which is Best for Your Patio in Kansas City?

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    You might be dreaming about the idea of a patio in your Kansas City backyard.

    And we don’t blame you. Patios are great places to enjoy your morning coffee or dine al fresco with your family in the evenings. You can invite friends over to play games or even have a romantic dinner with your significant other and then watch the sunset and the stars appear in the night sky. A patio creates a place to comfortably gather in your yard. Sounds magical, doesn’t it?

    While you can fantasize about the perfect patio and all the parties and gatherings you can have there, you might also get flustered considering all the decisions you have to make to get the space that fits you and your needs best.

    For instance, you know there are quite a number of patio material choices you can pick, and you may not know which route you want to take. You might be afraid of exceeding your budget. You might be worried you will permanently install a patio that ends up being something you hate to look at. You might be concerned you’ll design a patio that’s too small or doesn’t truly fit your needs. The worries can certainly add up.

    You want to make a decision that you feel confident in. Fortunately, we’re here to help. We’ve designed and built patios made with pavers vs. natural stone vs. concrete, and we have quite extensive experience with each material type. Let’s review the pros and cons of each one so you can get a better understanding of their traits and attributes and use this information to make the decision that suits you best.

    The Top 3 Patio Material Options

    When you’re considering a patio for your Kansas City backyard, you have to ask yourself a few important questions that factor into your material choice. These questions set the tone for some of the key decisions that will happen later in the process. As such, they should be part of the first conversation you have with your landscape design professional. These include:

    • How will I use the space?
    • How long will I be living in this home – 1 to 5 years? 5 to 10 years? 10-plus years?
    • What is my personal home and design style – not just the current trends?

    If this is your “forever home,” for instance, and you don’t plan on moving any time soon, investing in a longer-lasting or higher-priced option makes more sense because you’re going to enjoy it and use it longer. If you only plan to be in your home for a short time, you may want to consider a less expensive option or one that is more classic and timeless, so it can fit a potential buyer’s personality and style.

    Answering these questions can give you guidance when you’re choosing among the 3 main patio material options. Here are the major advantages and disadvantages of each one to give you some insight into how they can fit your home living plans, style, and function.

    Natural Stone Patio Pros and Cons

    A natural stone patio offers a unique and classic look. Think slate or flagstone. They are elements with natural, earthy or cool colors that reflect a place that’s been there for years – aged stone that implies the blues under moving water or stone aged by years of Mother Nature’s winds.

    Some of these stone materials can even include naturally occurring metals that oxidize over time, producing rust patterns like a patina effect. This can create a charming aged effect that some people love.

    In addition to the classic look, natural stone boasts the benefits of durability and longevity. Like any patio material option, there are always a few cons. While natural stone options are beautiful, they do take longer to install. They require a gravel base so the patio can stand up to shrink and swell cycles in Kansas City’s heavy clay soils.

    Natural stone patios can also require more maintenance. As a porous surface, they could stain if things are spilled on them.

    Since the stone has natural undulations, we sometimes also see scaling from water freezing in these low spots.

    Paver Patio Pros and Cons

    Like natural stone, paver patios are also long-lasting.

    In fact, pavers are engineered for heavy use and wear-and-tear, which makes them ideal choices for patios, walkways, or driveways. Pavers are also able to age without losing color or chipping.

    But not all pavers are created equal. There are various grades of pavers available. High-grade pavers are the ones that don’t fade or chip. Some even come with a lifetime warranty because they are built so well. They have salt-tolerance and color through the paver versus just on the surface. For a paver patio that ages gracefully, this is your product choice.

    And because of the wide range of colors pavers come in, you can get almost any design that suits you. You can choose contrasting, vivid colors for a modern or contemporary feel or more natural tones for an earthier, rustic vibe.

    With paver patios, landscape installation professionals use a gravel base to ensure the patio stands up to the shrinking and swelling that can result in Kansas City’s clay soils through weather warm-ups and freezes. Pavers are more of an investment due to this additional installation time.

    Concrete Patio Pros and Cons

    Another patio option is concrete. To create variation and some additional interest, technicals can be used to boost concrete’s aesthetics, including coloring, stamping, texturing, and even antiquing.

    Another perk: Concrete is typically the lowest investment option for a patio, making it appealing for those with lower budgets. Concrete is a faster installation, which is part of what helps reduce its costs.

    Despite the many options in color and style, concrete does have some aesthetic limitations. It may also require more maintenance. Stamped concrete, for instance, requires yearly staining to maintain its color.

    A negative of a concrete patio is its longevity limitations. Concrete can crack, especially in Kansas City. Our heavy clay soils go through extreme freezes and thaws, causing shrinking and swelling cycles that can crack concrete.

    So Pavers vs. Natural Stone vs. Concrete Patios – Which Do You Choose?

    Your patio will certainly become the place where you spend more of your time outdoors in your Kansas City backyard. Whether you’re hosting outdoor parties celebrating milestones and achievements or just enjoying an average day relaxing near your outdoor kitchen or pool, your choice in patio material will reflect your overall style and stand out amidst your home’s architecture and backyard presence.

    On top of this, your patio is likely not your only hardscaped area in your backyard. You might have retaining walls, a fireplace or fire pit, an outdoor kitchen, and even walkways, pathways, or other hardscapes. So another factor in your decision will be ensuring all of these areas blend together well, providing one cohesive look across multiple spaces in your yard. The goal is to create an inviting and natural atmosphere that is welcoming and elevates your curb appeal.

    While we hope helping you sort through these 3 main patio material options helps you make your decision, we know there are a lot of factors that can make this choice more challenging for you. Our goal is to ease your thought process – not stress you out more.

    That’s why High Prairie is here to help. We’re happy to help ease your worries and discuss your options. Our landscape design professionals can review your space and discuss your style, concerns, and usage plans. Then we can present you with a number of options. You can even see some of these patios in photos and feel the materials in your hands to ensure you really love the final product you end up choosing.

    Think this is a lot to ask of your landscape design professional? Not at all. We love talking about patio styles. The goal is to create a space you are going to use so much you’ll wonder why you didn’t install it earlier. And to reach that final outcome takes great conversations with your landscape designer and a solid understanding of your material options, and their style choices, installation nuances, longevity, cost, and how they fit in with your current home and landscape and usage plans.

    Give us a call. Not only can we talk styles and options endlessly, but we also have a great budgeting guide you can use to help you plan ahead. We want to do everything to make you happy. So what are you waiting for? Let’s build a patio!

    Ready to see how High Prairie can transform your Kansas City home landscape with a patio using your preferred material choice? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a design that you will love and your neighbors will envy.

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    About The Author

    Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.

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