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Landscape Paving 101: Some Reasons to Go for Granite

Granite is one tough, resilient paving material. Available in cut stone and irregular shapes, it’s a popular paving material for driveways and walkways because of its strength. It is low maintenance and makes a great durable walkway, patio or terrace in the home landscape.

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The basics: Granite is an igneous rock with a recognizable grainy pattern. It’s quarried all over the world and is readily available for landscape and building applications. Granite is an old-world stone, like limestone, that was used in early architectural applications.

Cost: $14 to $20 per square foot installed.

Pros

Long-lived and extremely durable
Low maintenance
Reusable
Very dense, hard rock that stands up to vehicle loading and traffic
Does not crack or split
Cons

Expensive, especially if using rare colors
Heavy, making it a potentially tough material to use for DIY projects
Size and color: Granite is available as cut, dimensioned stone and irregular stone, just like limestone and bluestone. Common dimension stone sizes are 3 inches by 6 inches, 6 inches by 9 inches and 9 inches by 12 inches. Stones in these sizes are cut to share a similar edge dimension so they can be combined into ashlar paving patterns. Granite does not just come in gray. It is also available in pinks, whites, tans and deep charcoal to black. Deep pink and black are rare colors that cost more than the more typical gray tones.

Finishes: Granite, like other natural stones, can have a finish that ranges from smooth to rough. Honed, thermal and split-face options are all great for outdoor applications. The smoothest finish is polished and too slick for paving, but makes a beautiful fountain or wall veneer. Finishes for outdoor paving need a little texture to make them slip-proof.

Maintenance: Granite paving is a low-maintenance material that needs only an occasional pressure washing or a periodic rinsing. If your paving is permeable, you may also need to pull weeds or refill sand between the paving joints to keep them tidy.

Sustainability: Granite has a long life, which makes it a sustainable material — it gets additional sustainability points if sourced locally or a recycled variety is used. To make granite even more sustainable, set sand or gravel between the stones so that it is permeable. Permeable granite paving allows for rainwater to infiltrate the soil below, which is good for water quality and runoff.