Backyard pavers are available in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and materials, and the most important criteria for choosing pavers depend on the nature of the project for which they are intended. The pavers should be aesthetically compatible with other elements of the yard's design, in terms of shape, color and texture. They should also meet any specific practical needs of a project, such as the requirement that pavers used near pools and hot tubs provide adequate traction in order to prevent accidents.
Pavers are manufactured in many different materials. Concrete pavers offer excellent durability, are relatively inexpensive, can be found in many different shapes and colors, and can be considered a good basic paving option. Brick or basic stone pavers are also available and may be preferable to concrete pavers for applications where matching materials are important, for example, blending harmoniously with a brick façade. Backyard pavers are sometimes made of marble or other more exotic stones, as well, and while these materials are attractive and durable, their cost may be prohibitive for some projects.
The shape and color of backyard pavers should help to tie the design of the yard together and create a pleasing overall impression. Interlocking pavers are designed to easily create patios and pathways that hold together and are visually appealing. Other interlocking effects can be achieved by mixing pavers of two or more complimentary colors, either in regular patters or with carefully-planned abandon.
Generally speaking, pavers should blend with any structures located nearby and should be chosen in colors that compliment, rather than clash with, local vegetation. When planning a paver project, it is important to consider what a given outdoor space will look like in all seasons, rather than simply designing for the current season. A collection of photos taken over the course of a year can be an excellent planning aid in considering which sort of backyard pavers to employ, especially in temperate climates where the appearance of an outdoor space changes drastically with the seasons.
Certain specific projects require the use of special types of backyard pavers. Pool pavers must provide adequate traction in order to ensure safety, and only pavers designed for this purpose should be used. Invisible or permeable pavers are another special case. These pavers interlace with grass and soil and allow for invisible driveways and paths. Their lattice structure allows plants to grow through them, and preserve the look of a natural landscape while making that landscape much more resistant to vehicle and pedestrian traffic.