Wall blocks, pavers, stepping stones and edging stones let you add function and design to your landscape. Learn about the products you can use to build retaining walls, fire pits, planting beds, walkways, patios and other hardscape projects.
Concrete wall blocks, pavers and edging stones replicate the look of stones or bricks in a variety of sizes, textures and colors. Collections that share a style allow you to tie projects together with a similar look. For example, you can create a raised planting bed using wall blocks that coordinate with pavers used to build a patio and walkway. Collections give your outdoor space an integrated, designed look.
Precast hardscaping products have uniform sizes — which simplify planning — and are relatively easy to install and maintain. They're designed to require minimal or no cutting during installation. If you need to cut the material, you can do it with a mason's chisel and drilling hammer or — for projects that require a lot of cuts — a power saw with a blade designed to cut concrete.
You may see notations of "common" or "nominal" measurements in addition to the actual dimensions of the products. The slightly smaller, actual dimensions represent the physical measurements of the product — use these when calculating the blocks, pavers or stones you need for a project.
Make sure you're aware of building codes and homeowner association rules that might apply to your work.
These products can be heavy. Enlist a helper and have your materials delivered.
Purchase 10% more blocks, pavers or stones than your estimate. The excess should account for breakage, material you need to cut and replacements for future repairs.
Use wall blocks to create retaining walls, raised planting beds, tree rings and fire pits. Wall blocks can look like naturally worn or hand-chiseled stones. Other styles have a clean, designed look. Coordinating wall caps are available for some styles.
Different types of blocks have different maximum wall heights, generally ranging from 2 to 3 feet. Make sure you know the maximum building height for the wall blocks you choose.
See the projects below to get step-by-step instructions for using wall blocks around your landscape:
Read Planning for a Block Retaining Wall for instructions on estimating how many blocks you need for your project
While some wall blocks simply stack to create layers or courses, some are designed to allow better alignment and stability. One design has a lip that secures it against the previous layer. Another uses pins to interlock each layer.
Use pavers — sometimes known as patio stones, stepping stones or brick pavers — to create patios and walkways. Some pavers have designs molded into them, giving the appearance of several small stones in one paver. These let you create patterns simply and quickly. You can also find smaller pavers to create designs of your own. Paver styles include the architectural appearance of bricks, the natural look of worn stones or river rocks and the random edges of flagstones. While patio paver and patio stepping stones are made with concrete mixed with sand or crushed rocks and come in a variety of shapes and styles, Holland brick pavers (pictured) are made with concrete or clay, have the more traditional brick aesthetic and are, traditionally, only available in 4-inch by 8-inch rectangular bricks. Pavers can be installed on top of an existing exterior concrete surface or on your lawn or yard space.
Note that some patio stones can handle vehicle traffic — for use as driveway pavers, for example — in addition to foot traffic, but many pavers are for foot traffic only.
All patio and walkway projects require a clear, level surface and a base prior to any laying. Take a look at these projects for instructions on creating outdoor living spaces and footpaths with pavers:
See Planning for a Paver Patio or Walkway for tips on estimating the materials you need for your paver projects
Rubber pavers offer a lightweight alternative to concrete paving stones.
An uneven base can lead to pavers and stones breaking, so be sure to level the area prior to installation.
Edging stones provide visually interesting borders between planting beds and a lawn. They help keep mulch where it belongs and provide a cleaner mowing and trimming line. You can create straight, angled or curved borders with ease. Some edging stones interlock for simple placement and design. Like other types of patio blocks, edging stones are available in different colors and styles to let you select the look that best complements your home. Read Create a Border Using Edging Stones for step-by-step installation instructions.
Before beginning any excavation, call 811 to check for underground utilities.
In addition to blocks, pavers and stones, you'll find accessories to help make your project a success:
Paver base is gravel that forms part of the foundation of block and paver projects. It gives the project stability, provides for drainage and helps you compensate for small elevation changes in your landscape.
Paver base panels can replace traditional paver base and reduce the amount of paver sand you need for patios and walkways. The panels require less digging than paver base, are lightweight and interlock for simple installation. Note that they are not for use in areas intended for vehicle traffic.
Leveling or paver sand is another component that supports block and paver projects. Paver sand helps fix the individual pieces of the project in place and allows you to make adjustments to maintain level.
Patio stone and paver restraints are flexible strips that hold pavers in place in patios or walkways. They work with both straight and curved designs. Spikes secure the restraints against the outside edges of the pavers.
Polymeric or joint sand fills the joints between individual pavers in patios and walkways, helping prevent weed growth.
Always follow the product manufacturer's use, installation and safety instructions.