It is just my opinion, of course, but in all my designs regarding pathways and patios, I have sided with form as at least equal to function – and it has led me to a sense that the curved line in design is the Natural Line. I see so few straight lines in Nature that my own biases probably create curves where none existed. But really, in fact, the remarkable discovery of straight lines in a natural setting is so unique, it would be a literal feature.
(click all images to enlarge)
What the implications are for landscaping means adding to the work – and, yes, sometimes quite substantially. How wonderfully easy it would be to run a nice straight course of paver lines – or even cement – and just go outward from there in some nice proportionate square box. There would be no need to tweak and twist pavers to conform to curves and there would definitely be very little cutting of the pavers. As a time-saver, this would be an obvious plus. And it is, definitely, sometimes a plus. There are places for squared-off patio pieces. Slammed in quickly, they give a functional appearance and practice. The one below, we added as nearly an afterthought.
And this patio was already there, ready to plant around, so we left it undisturbed and worked with it:
But I am about form and design as much as I am about functionality – equally, I believe.
In my experience, the curve is simply more natural and – if nothing else – definitely more interesting. Sometimes bordering on “Too Busy!” but still sort of fun.
The insertion of “elements of surprise” are another complete benefit of curving lines and the ability to adapt segmented pavers to an ideal. We do this by the act of cutting pavers to conform to lines drawn and to also when we adapt to obstructions or interesting insertions……which we also design.
Boulders, for example:
So we arrive at a simple conclusion: If we use brick pavers for our designed surfaces for walking, for driveways or for stair and wall constructions, we find out they can curve.
“Well, Whoopdeedoo,” I hear. “That’s great, Einstein. Tell us more we already know.”
Well, I get asked a lot about curving lines why I bother so much with them. I mean why cut to fit to make a more effective and attractive walkway, gal dangit? Or when you can just bend them a little bit individually to make a curving line, like this one:
If I had a choice, frankly, I would side with the “un-cut” pavers because I like the way the full sized pavers look, curving like that in a mass, like they are somehow really “in motion”.
These are a couple lightweight looks at just that:
This one below exemplifies it as much as any I ever did. It almost “moves” as you look at it. Enlarge it to really get the full effect. It is also worth mentioning that “Tumbled Pavers” – those apparently “antiqued” ones which they toss in a vat and tumble around in sand and among other pavers, smacking each other around and getting “rounded off and chipped slightly” – are the very best for curving intact. Regular pavers are pretty perfect – that ask for more uniformity.
So there we have pretty much the “Why?” of paver cutting. In order to get those perfect edges and rounded appearances out of what are basically rectangular or square origins, we need to cut them. And that is an art of its own. It takes time to develop a routine where a cutter and his set-up guy work together to produce this: