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Planning the Perfect Patio

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

Considering having dinner under the stars in your dreams? Make your fantasy of a lovely patio a reality.

Many homeowners consider their patio to be almost magical: a place to unwind, host guests, cook outside, and take a break from the routine. A meal served in an outdoor kitchen somehow tastes better than anything that comes from its indoor counterpart since it is surrounded by brilliant colors.

The patio materials, which serve as this outdoor living room's physical basis, are the first step in creating the ideal outdoor environment for you and your family. Your choice could have a big impact on your favorite home addition's beauty, toughness, and functionality.

Consider the final design of the patio before deciding on a certain style. Grab a chair, move it outdoors, and set it up where you want it because you usually have a decent notion of its general placement and size. Then take a seat and visualize each item.

In addition to enhancing your home and landscape, your patio should improve your quality of life. When designing a patio, some of the best patio designs include two or more paving materials if you have a vast area to work with. You can use inlaid borders that can visually divide a lounge area from the outdoor kitchen by using a variety of materials.

When you have the perfect design in mind, think about the materials that would best realize it in terms of both aesthetics and functional considerations, such as cost and maintenance needs.


Poured concrete, which is structurally robust, affordable, and capable of being stamped or colored to resemble more expensive paving materials, is the patio material of choice for many homes. It functions best in mild to warm locations where frost heave is not an issue.

Planning advice: Standard patio concrete is four inches thick, but if you're planning to build something substantial, like a built-in fireplace, ask the builder to reinforce that area before you pour.


Bricks, which come in a range of hues, build a cozy and lovely patio. This traditional patio design often costs more than one made of concrete, both for the materials themselves and for labor, which is important to take into account because each brick must be put, leveled, and grouted by hand.

If you decide to spend the money, you can choose from a wide range of designs to decorate the area, from a classic running bond to something with more textural appeal, such a boxed basket-weave or herringbone.

Planning advice: Whether dry-laid or mortared in place, substantial paving bricks that are 1- or 2-inches thick are the finest option for patios. Avoid extending your brick patio into areas with intense shade if you don't want to deal with a slippery surface after every rainstorm.


Pavers, which are frequently made of cement, cinder, or stone, are at the top of the DIY patio wish list because of their inexpensive cost and incredibly easy installation – you'll be out there grilling in no time.

If you want to lay your own patio, you'll need a solid border, like a concrete curb, to prevent the pavers from slipping and a sufficient substrate made of at least three inches of sand.

Planning advice: Pavers can be put with consistent mortar joints or dry-laid by tightly butting them together. Knowing that dry-laid pavers will be easier to remove and replace if (or when) you need to access the utilities below the patio if it is built over utility lines.


Stone's extremely coveted appearance carries a heftier price tag, especially if it isn't found locally, but it is unrivaled for natural attractiveness. While uniformly cut slabs of granite, travertine, slate, or bluestone can create a formal patio appropriate for any backyard, flat, irregularly shaped stones offer a tranquil and meandering look.

Natural stone is incredibly resilient for any patio, but if you're designing one poolside, choose a nonslip kind, like coral stone.


Tile, which comes in a variety of materials including ceramic, glass, porcelain, terra cotta, and natural stone, makes stunning mosaic patio designs that are pleasantly cool underfoot in warm regions. Tile must have a concrete slab installed because it is thin.

Planning advice: Even if you want to lay the tile yourself, having a professional pour an even slab is a good idea. Also keep in mind that not all tile may be used to build patios. All of your components, including the tile, thinset, grout, and sealant, must be marked for outdoor usage in order to endure the elements.

Crushed stone, pea gravel and sand

If you don't like solid patios, you might prefer crushed stone, pea gravel, or sand. Even sand-filled Zen gardens can serve as patio spaces because crushed stone and gravel both come in a range of colors and textures at affordable costs.

However, to prevent the loose debris from expanding past the designated border, you will need to create a sturdy barrier.

Planning advice: Carefully examine your climate and environment as the seasons change as it might be challenging to clear snow and fallen leaves. You could expect to update the surface every few years to keep it looking manicured.

Source: Zillow

Author: Bob Vila

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