How to Design a Paving Stone Border | Western Interlock
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How to Design a Paving Stone Border

Paving stone borders tie your hardscape together while also making your project feel elegant and complete. That’s why, in this article, we’re going to teach you how to design a paving stone border. 

paving stone borders

Before you dive in, there are a few basic hardscape terms we’ll use in the article that are helpful to know.

  • Border: The outermost edge of your hardscape. Often laid to enhance hardscape design and tie in the fieldstones.
  • Fieldstones: The primary hardscape area.
  • Pattern: The design and layout of your paving stones. This term can describe both borders and fieldstones.

Now, let’s discuss borders from a high-level and look at what they accomplish for your hardscape project.

Consistency and contrast

The first step to designing a paving stone border is to choose colors that complement each other. Here’s how we think about this: you can lay a consistent border or a contrast border. Both need to complement your hardscape.

Caption: This is a border that’s consistent with the color pattern and subtle in its design. However, the owner has done an excellent job of complimenting the overall color tone of his hardscape.

As you can see, consistent borders blend in and tie in your project, making it look consistent. On the other hand, contrasting borders give your project a level of depth. As you can see below, the owner uses the minority color in his hardscape as his border to add a level of contrast to the hardscape.

paving stone borders

Caption: This is a border that compliments the fieldstones by the sharp contrast. Isn’t it beautiful! 

Border pattern options

Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at what’s going on with both of these general pattern types and discuss two specific pattern types: soldier and sailor.

Soldier course

A soldier course is when you lay a row of pavers side to side, perpendicular to the rest of the field. In other words, you lay the long sides next to each other, and the short sides are touching the fieldstones.

soldier course

Soldier course paving stone borders are the most common type of border treatment that use Holland, Plaza, Camino Large Rec, or Camino Small Rec. With this type of pattern, your border stones are often a different color than your fieldstones.

Caption: Two unique soldier courses surround a brown sailor course (described below).

Why is it called a “soldier course,” you may ask? It’s quite simple. It’s because, in battle, soldiers don’t line up vertically; they line up horizontally. In other words, they all stand next to each other, facing forward as they head into battle. This course is different than the sailor course, as we describe below.

Sailor course

An alternative to a soldier course is the sailor course. You lay this course end-to-end parallel to the field. In other words, the short sides are next to each other, and the long sides are touching the fieldstones. 

sailor course

As you can see in the image above, the owner laid the dark brown (or reddish stones) as a sailor course between the fieldstones and a square stone border (described below).

A sailor course consists of rectangle stones that use Holland, Plaza, Camino Large Rec, or Camino Small Rec.

Square course

A square course is just what it seems. It’s made up of square stones only that encase the fieldstones. As you can see below, the owner of this hardscape laid both small squares and large squares along his walkways to add a unique design depth to the simple square course.

Square courses use pavers like City Square, Camino Square, or Park. If you’re looking for border design inspiration, look at our showcase paver projects or download our online brochure and look at page 66.

Build a beautiful border

Here at Western Interlock, we’re on a mission to take the hard out of hardscaping. That’s why we publish DIY tips, tricks, and step-by-step tutorials at DIYwithWI.com and host a live DIY seminar every month during the summer at one of our manufacturing or distribution facilities.

If you have any questions, you can visit our Paving Stone Display at our Manufacturing Facility in Rickreall, OR. Or, give us a call our team of hardscape experts at 503-623-9084.


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