I've been following Unilock since the mid 1980's and I've seen a lot of new products come and go. Some have stood the test of time, and stayed in the product portfolio while others have seen, Barrie's second sale and are seen no more. In the past, a new product would be released in two or three colours for the first year than additional colours would be added depending on market conditions and demand.

Things all changed though when Thornbury was introduced. For Thornbury's introduction we saw that interlocking paving stone released in 6, that's right, 6 colours in the first year. I like the colour choices, unfortunately the dealers aren't huge fans of more sku's. That means, more storage requirements, fortunately Thornbury comes with all three sizes in one bundle so it's not too bad. This is known as a layered product, all 3 sizes are included in the bundle as layers, you can not purchase just one size. Unlike Northshore or Brussels block, which are bundled individually. You could use a single size in these 2 products but not so with a layered product like Beacon Hill Flagstone and Thornbury.

This limits laying patters slightly so it's something to keep in mind when choosing the right materials for your particular project. Obviously if you get creative with the pattern with multi sized products, you can run into problems. This will result in having too many or too few stones of a certain size. The installer has to keep an eye on the pattern and use an equal amount of sizes.

Here is a driveway and walkway that I took a look at. The homeowner wanted to increase the size of the walkway. Upon discussing the project I had to point out the pattern. The homeowner thought their project looked just fine until they took a really close look at the pattern. I pointed out that this pattern would be described as, crazy? The paving stones do not fit properly and look randomly placed, without rime or reason. Than small pieces were cut in to fill up all the gaps. If you look at the pictures below, I would call this installation just plain wrong.

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So maybe a layered product is better because all three sizes are included and situations like the one above  could be avoided? Perhaps, but they have patterns in the catalogues for a reason. They are very accurate when ordering materials and should be used at all times. But, for now, the trend at Unilock is layered products, meaning all three sizes come within the bundle. 

Beacon Hill Flagstone from Unilock for 2013 is being released in .. wait .. 8 colours. That's right 8. There are 6 standard colours and what they are calling 2 premium colours. The 2 premium colours will be manufactured with white cement. Of course I've talked about white cement many times and in my EnduraColor article. But for those that haven't read that article. White cement, as compared to the traditional grey cement, makes pastel and more vibrant colours possible in concrete products. Grey cement tends to dull colours in concrete. The only way to achieve really vibrant colours is with white cement. The six standard colour are , Almond Grove, Desert Sand, Granite Blend, Java, Sierra, Sycamore. The two premium, white cement colours are cameo and sunrise.

From what I have seen the two new colours, Java and Sycamore look really good. I can't wait to use these colours installed. We do have a Java, Beacon Hill Flagstone project, in java,  to do, so stay tuned. Three sizes are available but there is only one word of caution. Currently Beacon Hill Flagstone is not suitable for driveway or vehicular traffic applications. This is because the paver is only 6cm thick. The large rectangle could snap under vehicular load, so no driveways. For a driveway stone, Northshore could be a consideration. The trend is towards larger format pavers, why not consider Beacon Hill Flagstone for your patio and walkway applications.

About the Author

Garry Reisky

Garry Reisky is the owner of Terraform Contracting. A landscaping and hardscaping contractor located in Toronto, Ontario. Terraform designs and installs residential hardscape and landscapes. Garry is a hardscape expert with extensive installation and product knowledge. Garry is an unofficial Rock(et) Scientest and self proclaimed guru of everything Enduracolor. Find Garry on Google+. Tired of dealing with inexperienced contractors, Contact Garry for a free estimate.