Catherine StewartAt last, a designer who uses unit pavers in innovative ways

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

Phil creates paving patterns 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 pattern 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 pattern makes it clear that it goes somewhere too. I love the sense of movement that it adds to the design.

Design and construction by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Design and construction by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

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 coloured pavers also break up the expanse of paving in an understated way.

Driveway design and construction by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Driveway design and construction by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

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.

Narrow path design and construction by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Narrow path design and construction by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

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.

Porch and path design and construction by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Porch and path design and construction by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Fifth is to create something surprising and unique, when another landscape 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 circle design - design and construct by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Paving with circle design – design and construct by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Paving with circle design - design and construct by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Paving with circle design – design and construct by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Sixth is to work together two different ‘flooring’ materials – like these serviceable concrete unit pavers with an informal stone wall and random stone flagging beyond. Although the colours of the materials blend, imagine if this were standard brick-bond style paving – it would look unfavourably 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 colours 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.

Unit paving, wall and stone flagging working well together -design and construction by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Unit paving, wall and stone flagging working well together – design and construction by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Phil Colenutt 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!

Poured concrete driveway with basketball court - design and construction by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Poured concrete driveway with basketball court – design and construction by Creative By Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

More at Creative By Design, and also on Facebook

 

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Catherine Stewart

About Catherine Stewart

Award-winning garden journalist, blogger and photographer; writer for garden magazines and co-author of 'Waterwise Gardening'; landscape designer turned landscape design judge and critic; compulsive networker and lover of generally putting fingers in lots of pies. Particularly mud pies. Creator, curator and editor of GardenDrum. Sydney, NSW.

9 thoughts on “At last, a designer who uses unit pavers in innovative ways

  1. Lloyd on said:

    Just wrapped in those paver designs. Just goes to show, it isn’t the expensive imported terracotta paver that makes the difference – it’s that creative spark that lifts everyday materials and changes the proposition entirely. It’s not what you’ve got, but what you do with what you’ve got that counts.
    Thanks so much!

    • Creative By Design Landscaping on said:

      Thankyou, It really is about what you have got, lol. Often its not until i get to laying the pavers that i come up with the crazy design/pattern stage, inspiration in the moment. I once worked for a guy who’s motto was ‘make neighbours jealous’ and ive always held that in the forefront of my mind, in any work i do 🙂

  2. Well, now you’re talking ! So possibly no gravel on the garden paths and under the gazebo, but creative paving ! While in principle blaringly obvious none of us had the idea and eye for this. I love it – gives structure, character and style to any garden. Well done !

    • Creative By Design Landscaping on said:

      Taking the extra time and sometimes a little extra cost , is always outweighed by the satisfaction at the end, when you see the finished result.

  3. Helen on said:

    Inspiring. Does anyone know of landscapers in Australia working like this?

  4. Creative By Design Landscaping on said:

    Hi Helen, i dont know that there are many landscapers that do what i do, most people that see my work only see the extra work thats involved, as opposed to the extraordinary results. The funny part of it is, yes it may be more work with all the extra cutting etc, but in the end my satisfaction of the job well done and the look on the clients face when they see it , is always worth it. especially when they thought they were only getting a patio,lol.

  5. Eugene on said:

    Be keen to know what tools you use. A sliding brickies bench saw or a nine inch grinder? Conduit for the curves? What kind of marker do you use and do you lay them on compacted washed sand with/without cement? How’s the lungs? Beautiful work btw…I’ve got a bit of professional jealousy going on here….

  6. Creative By Design Landscaping on said:

    Hi Eugene,
    For cutting, i use either a TS 700 STIHL Cutquik Demolition Saw or an MK Diamond 14″ brick Table Saw. For the curves, i lay them all by eye, and circles i usually use a centre pin, string line and nail to scribe them out. For a marker, i use the Sharpie markers (tried everything, but that’s the best for cutting accurately). lungs….pretty good, i use a cartridge mask when cutting dry and for the process i use to actually lay pavers please check out:
    http://www.calgarycreativelandscaping.com/pavers-calgary
    …thanks for the compliments 🙂

  7. Eugene on said:

    Much appreciated Phil. Wish I had of known about that method of laying you currently use. Makes a lot more sense. Pretty much semi retired now, sold the table saw and just do a bit of drystone walling now, but it’s always interesting to know how fellow tradies go about their work. Your design sense is uncommon and a delight to see. Thanks again.

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