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There are many design decisions to be made when contemplating what paving material to use when building a patio or terrace. Picking hardscape materials can be tricky.  It’s important to know a little bit about every product so that you know what will work best for you and your family’s needs. Many design details are important;  including pattern, color, cost and the maintenance required down the road. Some of the most popular options in patio choices are flagstone, concrete pavers, brick pavers and sandstone. All these options are made to last! The flagstone patio is a beautiful classic choice. The casual random flagstone pattern is very popular. Square cut flagstone has a lovely elegant look that is a bit more polished and traditional. This material is extremely durable. It works great in the city, or in the country. Concrete pavers are one of the more popular choices. The idea of the concrete paver is to replicate that of natural stone. They come in many different shapes that can be installed in hundreds of patterns. Installation is usually easier, which generally leads to a lower cost than the flagstone options. Concrete pavers come in so many different colors and sizes that it really does require a trip to the stone yard to look at  the various choices.  While you are there you can also check out the brick pavers, which I believe to be one of the more romantic option for paving material. Brick pavers give most spaces a historical elegance. They are often used as pathways and they are very durable. There are many patterns associated with brick pavers as well. The pattern really is totally dependent on the home owner and what they like. There is no wrong or right pattern. Sandstone is the most affordable stone. It is slightly fragile compared to flagstone such as Owen Sound flagstone but can be a great option. It is an imported product from India, and can be bought in square and rectangular sizes. One of our most popular contemporary favourite choices is sandstone. It offers a great look and comes in many different colors, including a dramatic black. Sometimes the hardscape decisions are not that hard. The important part is picking the product that best compliments the rest of your landscaped backyard. The best way to remove the  worry is to go to the local stone yard and see what works best for you. We spend a lot of time at the Beaver Valley Stone yard in northern Toronto, with our clients, showing them the many options. Get samples, put them against your house, near your decking choice and pick something that works for you. Then your hard decisions  will no longer be that difficult! By: Courtney Cotter