Paving innovative design by Catherine Stewart

Catherine Stewart, Award-winning garden journalist, blogger and photographer; writer for garden magazines and co-author of ‘Waterwise Gardening’; writes article about our paving design.

At last, a designer who uses paving in innovative ways –

Innovative paving and ground-plane pattern-making is not something I see very often in paving stones, so when I came across this fabulous paving work by Phil at award-winning Creative By Design Landscaping in Calgary, I was smitten.

Phil creates paving designs for a variety of purposes and the precision of his layout and cutting mean that the finished jobs are like subtle artwork on the ground. His work is an excellent example of how you can use relatively inexpensive materials and, with a little imagination and some design flair, create something beautiful and unique but also hard-wearing and long-lasting.

The first purpose uses paving design to show pedestrian direction. Although this paved circle is clearly somewhere to stop and sit, the suggestion of a partially intersecting path in the paving design makes it clear that it goes somewhere too. I love the sense of movement that it adds to the design.

paving patio

paving with unique designs

The second is to differentiate areas for different purposes. In this paving design, the two car-track zones to the garages are defined in the driveway area but it the long oval outlines using the same colored pavers also break up the expanse of paving in an understated way.

driveway paving

driveway paving

Third is to create interest in what would otherwise be a long, boring paved corridor. Instead of just looking right down this long void, the subtle pattern on the ground created by the paving engages the eye, makes the space seem wider and the journey much more interesting.

paver pathway

Narrow path paver design

Fourth is to solve design problems like in this garden where a curved entry porch meets a front path that sweeps in on an angle. By repeating the same curve but reversed in the paving pattern and letting the two just kiss, Phil emphasises the welcoming shape of the porch.


paver entrance

Porch and path design and construction

Fifth is to create something surprising and unique, when another hardscape designer would have done something much more ordinary. I suspect most designers would have automatically opted for concentric circles, but isn’t this much more interesting? And look at that precision cutting.

paving with circles

paving with circles


Paving with circle design

Sixth is to work together two different ‘flooring’ materials – like these serviceable concrete pavers with an informal stone wall and random flagstone beyond. Although the colors of the materials blend, imagine if this were standard brick-bond style paving – it would look unfavorably rigid against the stone. Instead, there’s a clever pattern through the paving that appears at first glance to be a random selection, which means it echoes the look of the flagging. However a closer inspection reveals an interesting pattern repeat of two colors in three sizes and in two directions. I doubt that too many landscapers would have the skill to set-out and cut this so accurately. Genius work.

paving with walls

Unit paving, wall and stone flagging working well together

Phil also does lots of great work in stone and poured concrete. In this large front drive area, a half basketball court is embedded into the concrete, marking out play areas but so gently that they’re not obvious to the casual observer – just those who need to know what’s Out and what’s In!


Concrete driveway with a half court