The Handyguys - Working Together on that Honey Do List Home Energy Savings Tool tests

Hardscaping Options – Concrete, pavers or stamped concrete

by The Handyguys

in Audio Only Podcasts, Lawns

Hardscaping options

The Handyguys discuss some hardscaping options under consideration for Brian’s fathers house – concrete, stamped concrete and pavers.

Concrete Ideas and Tips

Plain old concrete is the cheapest and fastest option for a front stoop. A small stoop can be done in a day with the following day to remove forms and clean up any dirt around the area. Brian’s fathers project (front patio, walkway, side walkway and rear patio slab) came in at about $3500 for plain concrete.

Concrete Patio and hardscaping ideas or tips

Image thanks to

Stamped Concrete and Hardscaping Help

Stamped concrete is the process where a texture is places in the concrete to emulate the look of stone or brick. Stamped concrete also is typically colored. It’s a less expensive option than pavers, installs quickly and has a nice look. Brian’s fathers project (front patio, walkway, side walkway and rear patio slab) came in at about $4500 for plain concrete.

Stamped Concrete and hardscaping ideas and assistance

Thanks to for the image.

Pavers or Stamped Concrete

Pavers are bricks made from concrete. They come in many different shapes and colors that can be mixed and matched to come up with an interesting and unique look. They are usually more costly than concrete. Pavers also require much more attention to detail in terms of preparation and they are more labor intensive to install. The entire job takes longer than concrete. Brian’s fathers project (front patio, walkway, side walkway and rear patio slab) came in at about $9000 for pavers.

Paver Patio and hardscaping help

Image thanks to

Listen to the podcast for a full discussion on each of the options.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jake Johnson November 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm

The stamped concrete looks pretty interesting. But the pavers, even though more expensive, always just look so good!


john howard January 2, 2012 at 7:56 pm

i perfer the pavers as their easier to replace but like the ease of just plain concert


NJ Cellulose Insulation Contractor January 6, 2012 at 11:24 am

Many New Jersey homeowners have been opting for pavers to be installed. I think they always look great and as John said, they are easier to replace if any one becomes broken.


Frank March 23, 2012 at 7:09 pm

On the topic of how deep your sub base should be, what I have always read is that you want to get below the frost line, where ever that may be in your area, with your sub base. Of course, the expected load will determine what type of materials you use, and how those materials are reinforced, but every single type of material needs a solid sub base that the frost heave won’t affect. I have never heard that it won’t affect concrete pavers. I recently (last May) did a small patio project in front of my house using concrete pavers purchased at Lowe’s, and gravel and sand purchased from a landscape supply company. I rented a compactor at Home Depot. I haven’t finished the surface yet, I guess I should get around to that, but the total cost of the project was $716.47. It was a 120 square foot patio, with a four inch gravel sub base and four inches of sand. The foundation is concrete with a brick veneer which I just butted the patio right up to, ensuring the slope was away from the house. The house was built in 1986, so I’m not worried about any weird settling, but I will keep an eye on it. If something settles in such a way that the slope goes the wrong direction I imagine it wouldn’t be that hard to fix. I made the stupid thing after all, I could pry up the affected pavers and add more sand or whatever. It was a fun project, and I want to do more in the future, using the same techniques. I’ll keep you guys posted. Now that I’m thinking about it I took a lot of pics which I will send if you’re interested.


The Handyguys March 26, 2012 at 7:54 am

With pavers you do not need to have a base to the frost line. The depth of the base is determined by the traffic it will receive. 4″ is fine for walkways, 8″ is often used for driveways.


Frank March 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I should add to the above comment that my total cost was with a lot of stops and starts, not sure of the timing of certain things, and miscommunication with my wife, which was why I ended up renting the compactor for a total of three days instead of one. Hard to do work and go pick up supplies when you don’t have a carseat for the not quite one year old and your wife is on a shopping spree and the compactor just sits there because you ran out of gravel. Wasted hours which turned into about $40 for that day’s rental. I could do it a lot better now. For cheaper, assuming materials cost stays the same. The estimate I received from the landscaping company near me for the project was about $1400. So I saved a ton of money on labor.


The Handyguys March 26, 2012 at 7:55 am

Yes, a project like you describe can be significantly less than a contractor due to labor.


Gloria Sheldon October 23, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Loved the podcast. Even though I’m female, really get into this DIY stuff. This was very informative. Pricing was especially helpful and let me know to proceed with painting my elegant farmhouse/cottage, with Glidden Pebble Path Gray (#PFC 73) Porch & Floor Paint. And pray to God someone will love it and buy this monster. Maybe I should a painted it MONEY GRAY for luck! Ha! Wish I could send you a pic. Enjoyed the podcast. I’m signing up!


The Handyguys October 29, 2014 at 1:50 pm

You could send us a picture, I’ll add it here as a comment. email it to Thanks for the kudos.


adamran February 21, 2015 at 7:04 am

Great Post overall. I read your all the stuff about stamped concrete and found it very informative. Thanks for sharing.


Leave a Comment