Paver Patio vs Wood Deck: Which is Best for You?


Everyone loves an inviting outdoor space for eating, entertaining, and relaxing. Deciding what kind of outdoor space to create calls for evaluating the location of the structure, the topography of your yard, budget, and of course the aesthetic you hope to achieve. One significant choice will be what kind of material you want to use for your outdoor space. Let’s take a look at some things to consider when deciding between wood vs hardscapes.

Will the outdoor space be raised or at ground level?

  • Wood decking is elevated and can sit a few inches to several feet above grade with supports. This may be ideal for second story decks or to accommodate sloping topography.
  • Paver patios are typically built at ground level. Since they require less structural support than wood, patios can be built next to your home, or elsewhere on your property to give you an inviting space to enjoy a garden, pool or fire pit.

Do you need to accommodate tricky topography?

Since paving is done at a ground level, sloped landscapes require construction of a raised foundation or small retaining wall. Patios can also be built with multiple layers to account for grade changes.  Decking, on the other hand, is elevated. It is a good solution for steeply sloping yards or yards with tricky topography.  Consider a deck & paver patio combination for homes with exposed basements.

For a ground-level construction, natural stone, concrete or clay pavers are a better option, providing a durable, long-term solution.

Do you want a low maintenance option?

A paved patio is by far a better option if you’re looking for a low maintenance feature. Once your pavers are installed, there is very little further maintenance required apart from the occasional hose down or quick replacement of an individual faulty paver. On the other hand, wooden decks require regular cleaning, staining, and replacement of rotten or worn deck boards.

Paver Patio    Wood Deck

Wooden decks have a shorter lifespan than paver patios. If not protected properly, wood is predisposed to rot, fungus and general decay. While regular maintenance can extend a deck’s lifetime, a paver patio definitely has the advantage when it comes to permanence.

Where will the patio be located and what look are you going for?

When choosing between these two materials, take a look at your overall landscape design and home and consider which one will blend in more naturally with the existing look and architecture. You should also consider the location to determine whether wood or stone is the right choice. For example, for poolside settings, the chlorine or salt used in pools can be damaging to wood, as can the high exposure to moisture. Pavers also offer a good choice when constructing a non-flammable area for a fire pit.

Pavers are perfect for fire pitsConcrete pavers often integrate better with other hardscaped outdoor elements, such as fire pits, steps, grill islands, and water features. If you’re looking to enhance the visual appearance of your landscape by adding these elements, pavers make a good match. Many people like the warmth and character offered by wood, while others prefer the timeless look of a natural stone or a paver product.

Pavers can replicate the look of wood and come in a variety of patterns and colors – giving homeowners flexibility to match the style of the property and integrate complementary colors in the hardscape.

Which is the most cost-effective option?

In the short-term, wood may be cheaper install. However, the following factors make paver patio the winner in the long-term:

  • Minimal annual upkeep
  • Easy to maintain
  • When professionally installed, repairs are typically limited to replacing individual pavers or installing new poly sand.
  • Long lifespan

Making the decision between the type of outdoor space you want for your home requires careful consideration of all the pros and cons. By thinking through the look you want, the placement of the structure, your short and long-term budget and the durability you seek, you won’t go wrong with whichever material you choose.

Our landscape designers are experts at selecting the right materials to complement your home and landscape. Call us today for help in selecting the right outdoor space for your home. 262-252-6240

Creating a Rustic and Serene Commercial Landscape

This WLCA award-winning project called for hardscaping and landscaping around a new addition to the client’s existing historical building. We designed and installed extensive new walkways, steps, outcrop walls, planting beds, patio spaces, fire pit area, and additions to an existing creek bed area. The client has an eclectic and creative design aesthetic, which allowed us the freedom to design a rustic and serene landscape with interesting features throughout.

Landscaping to Complement Historic Building

Needing more space for their growing business, Gentian Financial added an interesting and fitting addition on to Holstein School, built in 1920, which has been a staple historic building in Mequon. The addition has brick, stone, and reclaimed timbers on both the interior and exterior, so mimicking that in the landscaping design made sense. The client’s love of all things pavers and stone allowed for sweeping walkways, patios, and landscape features.

Multiple Hardscapes for Visual Interest

We used a variety of hardscape features to visually lead clients in and out of the facility and to the outdoor meeting spaces. Stroll through the property and you will see Belgard Mega Dublin, Holland, and Mirage porcelain pavers, Chilton outcropping, granite boulders and fieldstone, and lannon rock faced steps. The Mega Dublin pavers in the front of the facility work in tandem with Warmquest heating elements to minimize snow and ice during the winter.

Enchanting Outdoor Gathering Spaces

Gentian hosts many events for clients, friends, and family so careful consideration was given to creating welcoming and unique gathering spots. We used Belgard Mirage porcelain plank raised pavers to bridge the gap between the historic school building and new addition. The planks mimic the oiled wooden floor on the inside of the addition.

Among the outdoor gathering spaces is a raised gas and wood-burning fire pit. It is fitted with a custom-made laser cut ring, which showcases the company name and is visible at night from the road. Pillars and steps define the entrances to the large and shaded “back yard feel.”

As we designed this creative and eclectic landscape, we navigated the challenges of elevation changes and a wish for sightlines to the landscape features from various offices. We preserved the beautiful, mature trees during all facets of construction to allow for excellent shading, as well as a cozy feel for each of the outdoor meeting spaces.

Gentian Financial is constantly adding items to the landscape to create chatter in Mequon. They are truly visionary! We would love to help you realize your own vision for your landscape. Contact us today to set up a design consultation or call (262) 252-4260.

Re-Imagining the Front Entrance of a Wauwatosa, Wisconsin Home

Our client had a vision for their front entrance. Originally constructed in the 1930’s the concrete porch and walk had settled, cracked and weathered. The existing iron railing was failing and the landscaping was unimpressive, with overgrown and mismatched plantings.

The American Landscape team was charged with creating a front entry that complemented the home’s distinctive architecture and was visually stunning. The client wanted to maintain the original semi-circular layout of the porch landing and add a path to their south patio. The final design included a raised porch landing, primary and secondary walkways, a step at the junction to the city sidewalk, surrounding landscaping and lighting.  

Selecting the Right Materials for Texture, Color & Style 

Choosing the right materials is a critical aspect of creating the right aesthetic for a hardscape project. In this case, our team constructed the new front porch landing using Summit Stone® risers and full nose paver step treads. We flanked the lower step section with low-rise pillars of Summit Stone and Ledgestone caps. 

To introduce additional texture and pattern, the team built the porch landing and walkways with Elements pavers in a three-piece field pattern. A Brussel’s paver accent band is incorporated along the perimeter border, to accentuate the gentle curvilinear layout.

We eliminated an existing path of disheveled stepping stones that connected the front walk with a south side patio and replaced it with a paver walkway of the same materials as the primary front entry walk.

Our designer gave the colors of the materials careful consideration. The façade of the home is a cream brick veneer, so hardscape colors of cream, deep brown, tan and buff were carefully selected to complement and accentuate the home’s exterior.

Finishing Touches: Landscaping & Lighting

Our crew removed declining and overgrown landscaping from the front. We created a combination of formal and casual layouts using classic boxwoods, hydrangea, lilac and assorted perennials.

Low-voltage lighting from Kichler and Volt was used to enhance the night time atmosphere. Path light were positioned along the walkways, and under-cap accent lights were set on the entry pillars to create a soft welcoming glow as one approaches the front door.

Re-imagining the front entrance of this Wauwatosa, Wisconsin home was a challenge and rewarding for both our team and our very happy client.  

Ready to tackle your own dream project? Get in touch with our team today to start the conversation. (262) 252-4260

Before & After: Patio/Fire Pit Installation Despite Cold Temps!

Given the challenging winter conditions we have in Wisconsin, knowing how to complete hardscape installations even as colder temperatures begin is key. We’re sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the installation of a patio, walkway and fire pit for a client that we worked on well into January! The key for this installation was to lay frost blankets down on the work area well before frost and snow hardened the ground. Our team was able to complete almost all the installation and this client will now be top of the schedule for finishing off their project in spring.

You can watch our video of the project as it took shape, or read about the daily progress below.

Patio Installation: Day-by-Day Progress

Day 1
Orange frost blankets were placed weeks before the project was due to begin. Blankets had to be shoveled off, then lifted off the turf.  The area for the patio was then measured out and lines marked for crews to begin.


Day 2
Patio base excavation is completed and installation of the gravel patio base begins, along with the construction of the seat wall using Rosetta products.

Day 3
Building of the wall continues and on the other end of the patio, laying the gravel base is finished up.

Day 4
You can see the project really taking shape! The wall has been completed and Belgard pavers are being installed.

Day 5
The team continues laying pavers. Notice that any areas that are not being worked on are kept covered to protect the ground from freezing.

Day 6
The fire pit, using Rosetta products to match the seat wall is built. Work continues on leveling base and laying pavers.  In preparation for the installation of a pavilion in spring, the team inserts Sonotubes that will be filled with cement to create footings.

Day 7
Time to fill the Sonotubes with concrete! The last of the patio pavers are installed.  The team is careful to keep areas not being worked on covered so the project can keep progressing in the cold temps!

Day 8
Final day of this cold weather patio/firepit/walkway installation! The team used EdgeCrete to keep pavers in place and completed the walkway connecting the patio to the garage. The entire area was then cleaned and covered until work can resume in spring.

Extending the season for hardscape installations is one of the ways we deliver on our commitments to our customers. If you are ready to talk about your own landscaping project, get in touch with one of our talented designers today! (262) 252-4260