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Pavers – The New Natural Stone

Pavers are the most common ingredient of the typical KC home’s back patio. While some homeowners prefer the look of natural stone installations instead of the classic patio paver, there is a pretty big gap between the two in terms of value.

While natural stone does feature appealing colors, interesting shapes and is often pleasant to the touch, many homeowners will find the cost of the material and installation very prohibitive. Because natural stone is a natural product, it is not designed to be easy to install or maintain – it is simply natural stone! Paver products, on the other hand, are engineered with these very considerations in mind, meaning that initial and ongoing costs are going to be less than and more predictable than natural stone.

Here are the big differences between pavers and natural stone broken down by category:

  • INSTALLATION: It is far more difficult to install natural stone than pavers. Because it’s natural, there is no predictable way that the stones fit together and they have to be adhered to a flat solid surface like a concrete slab. This makes it expensive to have installed, and much more difficult to do it yourself. Pavers fit neatly and logically together, they do not need bonding and require only leveled ground. This makes installation straightforward (and less expensive) for both contractors and homeowners doing it themselves.
  • AESTHETICS: This one is up to personal taste really – while there was a trend toward using natural stone because of it’s pleasing colors and feel, pavers today have closed the gap on natural stone in recent years. Pavers now come in a wide range of colors and even textures, features which are often guaranteed to last by warranty (as natural stone naturally fades over time). For those who love the aesthetic of natural, but want the longevity and savings of pavers, check out our Castello Flagstone – it’s designed to look like natural stone but it fits nicely together and offers considerable cost savings.
  • MAINTENANCE: Flagstone must be sealed regularly or it will break down quickly, flaking off the top layers of the stone, fading and breaking. Flagstone is brittle, so shifts in the substrate will lead to obvious cracks in both the stone and the grout – meaning that if any maintenance has to happen beneath the natural flagstone (i.e. sewer line, cable, etc.) there is significant risk of damage. Once installed, it is very difficult to impossible to remove flagstone without causing damage, and replacing damaged flagstone can also be very difficult to impossible – once quarried there is a limited supply of any particular type of flagstone, and the kind you have may no longer be available. Even if you can find the correct stone, wear over time could mean the replacement looks totally different, and that’s if you can find a piece in the right shape. Pavers are easy to replace, can often be moved without damage, shift with the substrate if it moves, keep their color over time, and are usually produced for a very long period of time – they are overall much easier to maintain than natural stone.

Shop our selection of concrete pavers on our products page.

The Impact of A Fire Pit

Pyzique Barbeque Pit

Maytrx Barbecue Fire Pit

Fire pits are an easy and fun way to make any backyard a gathering place for your friends and neighbors. Depending on the city where you live, you may be able to have a fire pit right on your back patio or further in your back yard.

We highly recommend fire pits because they look great, create a space for people to gather and are surprisingly easy to install yourself or with the help of your family. Before you get started, make sure to check the regulations for your city regarding fire pits – some Kansas City area municipalities count a fire pit as an open fire, so unlike a barbecue grill, they must be placed at least a certain distance away from your home (however, covering the pit with screen can change it’s status to an enclosed fire).

First, pick out the spot where you’d like to install the fire pit. Make sure it meets with the regulations, and find a spot that is already level in the yard. If you can’t find a level spot that you like, you can level it out yourself using special types of sand. Next, pick out your fire pit and have it delivered. You can always bring it home yourself, but fire pits are heavy so be careful. Your pit will likely come to your home as a palette of rounded concrete slabs.

Assemble your fire pit in a ring using any recommended adhesives. Fill the base with sand or gravel (fire resistant gravel) and get some firewood to start enjoying your fire pit! The whole process should take a half hour to an hour, with the most difficult part being getting the ground prepared if it isn’t already.

Don’t miss out, complement your new deck with the right fire pit and start enjoying the outdoors all year round!

Stone Garden Walls

Stone Garden Walls

Decorative Gravel and MulchGarden wall blocks are great for creating raised patios, planters, tree rings and garden terraces. They are so versatile you are able to add your own personal touch!

Stone garden walls are a favorite for homeowners when it comes to sprucing up their landscaping. If done correctly your Garden Wall will compliment your home and the surrounding paving materials.

Garden stone walls can be made out of large stones with a flat faces. These stones are mortared to concrete block walls. Sometimes the stones happen to fit together very tightly like a jigsaw puzzle; at other times they have a looser look with larger mortared joints.

Our Maytrx series of retaining wall stones and garden walls fit together snugly and simply, making them an ideal choice for someone looking to build one of these walls themselves. Our Mesa Adobe series locks together providing ease of assembly and a superior long-term hold.

Flat Stones

These stones are used to create a stone garden wall where the stones are cut to a precise geometric shape. Then as with the natural shaped flat stones, they are applied to a concrete block wall. This type of wall has structured, flattering look.

These stones above are irregular in shape and are complemented by small landscaping boulders

Stone Colors

Look at the color running though the stones. Some stones are mostly one color, while others have many colors combined.

Stones can be different shades of grays, blues, tans, or even reds. You can even combine any combination of these colors and have a great well balanced project. Take a moment and think about what plants, flowers or fixtures you would like to incorporate into your garden wall to complete your look.

Don’t forget to include the colors of your house when choosing the color shades of your stone!



It is easy to design and install decorative Garden Walls throughout your landscaping project. Let us help your residential and commercial environment come alive while combining natural greenery, flowers and earthy concrete retaining wall units. Garden Wall units are the perfect addition to any lawn, garden, patio or terrace.

For more information on getting started with building Garden Walls, please contact us and one of our team will be happy to answer any questions you have. If you’re ready to see options for Garden Walls that we carry at Riverbend, please browse our selection online.

Improving Spaces With Decorative Gravels

Decorative gravels literally rock when it comes to landscape design. No material is more versatile or available in so many different varieties as decorative gravel. Landscapers use decorative gravel in myriad places because of its ability to create complementary themes in an outdoor space.

So What’s The Big Deal About Decorative Gravel

First off, decorative gravels come in just about every imaginable shape and size. From tiny pebbles to larger stones, there’s a decorative gravel that fits almost every need. You’ll even find a lot of different surface textures between different types of decorative gravels – think about the jagged edges of a rock formed by lava versus the smoothness of a river rock polished by years of erosion.

While basic gravels are often sold by the bag, most decorative gravels are sold by the ton or cubic yard. Often when purchasing these kinds of gravels, retailers will offer the option of home delivery. This saves homeowners from having to haul it themselves as is often the case with bagged gravels. Riverbend offers delivery to Independence and Liberty-area homes starting at just $50, and the rest of the metro on a per mile basis.

One of our favorite things about decorative gravels is that they come in a vast array of colors, from strikingly bold to muted. This allows homeowners to create a counterpoint to a brightly colored plant, or to add some punch to a landscape. Paired with a water feature, decorative gravels are a necessary and beautiful additional feature.

What To Look For In Retaining Wall Stone

When it comes to retaining walls, you’ve got a lot of options to choose between. From natural stone to complete engineered concrete systems, the options are nearly endless, and choosing the right one for you will depend on several factors.

The first factor is the aesthetic style or form factor. The stone or concrete you choose to use should be in line with your existing aesthetic decisions. It should either add another point of interest to your home with a distinguishing color or interesting texture, or it should match the kind of the stone your home’s exterior already incorporates. Aesthetics are an important consideration because they help create a feeling about a place, and since this is your home, a retaining wall should help to make you proud every time you look at it.

The second and equally important factor is determining who is going to install your new retaining wall. At Riverbend Rock & Mulch, we like to focus on making it easy for homeowners to do projects themselves – it’s why we offer delivery and featured concrete retaining wall systems that make it easy to do projects yourself. With our Maytrx line of engineered concrete stone products, each piece is designed to pair nicely with the other pieces. Plus, our Maytrx line is available in numerous sizes, shapes and colors making it a perfect fit for most projects. When it comes to installation, these systems are comparatively very easy to install on your own. Unlike natural stone that requires careful fitting and lots of binding materials, concrete offers homeowners with little experience installing such systems an easy way create build retaining wall they’ve always wanted at a fraction of the expense.

For more information on getting started with building retaining walls, please contact us and one of our team will be happy to answer any questions you have. If you’re ready to see options for retaining walls that we carry at Riverbend, please browse our selection online.

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