There are many ways to upgrade your home's charm, but few provide as much
enjoyment as the addition of a great patio. When considering this
project, the first thing to keep in mind is the financial aspect.
It is always better to overestimate and come out under-budget than the
other way around, when all is said and done.
When designing your patio, it is best to keep in mind the look of your
home as well as your family's lifestyle. Does your home project a
more formal or casual atmosphere? Will this best be served by a
brick patio, a wood deck / patio combination, or one made of stone
or tile? What will be the main purpose of the patio? Will it
be primarily for special occasions, small get-togethers, or evenings
lounging with a glass of iced tea? Keep this information in mind
when deciding on the size of your patio and whether or not to enclose it.
When it comes to patio surfaces, the choices abound. Patio surfaces
can be not only functional, they can be beautiful as well. The right
patio surface can last forever and can give you the appearance you desire.
Brick Patios —
Brick is a popular patio surface, and it works well with houses of just
about any style. Its strength makes it ideal for outside use, and
its shape means that you can use it to build additional structures, like
planters and garden walls. Brick comes in a variety of sizes and
colors, is moderately priced, and can be easily found at home improvement
centers, masonry suppliers, and landscapers.
Stone Patios —
If you are going for a natural, untamed look, few surfaces will work as
well as stone. Stone works with many different architectural
styles, and comes in different shapes, sizes, and colors. You can
get it as rough pieces of flagstone, or you can buy manufactured stone
that comes in uniform dimensions and thicknesses. The geographical
location where a stone was quarried will determine how hard it is.
For example, some types of sandstone are as hard as marble, while other
types are easily dented or scratched. Some stones are also more
porous than others. Stones with lower porosity are more durable and
last longer than stones that absorb lots of water. If you are
considering stone, be sure to take porosity, durability, and hardness
Poured Concrete Patios —
If you are looking for a smooth-surfaced patio and don't want to spend a
lot of money, concrete is the way to go. Concrete is durable, can
be formed into just about any size and shape, and blends well with other
surfacing materials. And you don't need to think gray and boring
when it comes to concrete. It can be finished in many colors and
textures, and can be decorated by pressing small stones or rounded rocks
into it when it's still wet. Concrete that is poured correctly is
very durable and should last a lifetime. One drawback of concrete
is that it can crack, especially in climates that have temperature
extremes. A good contractor will lay the concrete correctly using
certain methods designed to prevent cracking.
Concrete Paver Patios —
If you don't want to pour concrete, concrete pavers work well and are
available in a variety of different designs and shapes. They last
indefinitely and generally don't break or stain. See the concrete
paver suppliers below for patio paver specifications and sizes.
Outdoor tile is also a beautiful patio surface choice, although it is
labor intensive because it needs to be set into concrete.
Your patio accessories can be as simple as a charcoal grill or as
beautiful as a tile fountain, and lush foliage. There are also many
different options in the way of patio furniture to choose from. You
may just want a basic table and chair setup or several reclining chairs
or another combination of furniture. Some of the materials used for
outdoor patio furniture are redwood, cedar, teak, plastic, steel and
Other Patio Ideas
Others factors to be considered with your patio are lighting, heating,
shelter, and bug control. Lighting can be electric or torch, and it
can be a combination of practical and mood to create a certain
ambiance. You can enjoy your patio all year round if you have heat
from a fireplace or pit, a propane freestanding heater, an electric patio
heater, or some form of enclosure. Shelter can be provided by a
solid roof or a retractable awning. A pergola can provide dappled
shade, but it will not protect from rain or snow. Bug control is
best handled with a screened enclosure, but bug lights, citronella
torches, and candles can also be effective.
However you choose to design it, your patio can be your
"home away from home" and a place where memories are made for years
Patio Design Resources
- Pacific Paving Stone
California-based paving stone supplier and installer
features information about driveway and patio design.
- Belgard Patio Pavers Gallery
This division of Georgia-based Oldcastle manufactures
residential and commercial concrete interlocking pavers and retaining
walls for exterior landscaping patio projects. Website features
a patio paver photo gallery.
- Cultured Stone Patio Pavers
These smooth, durable pavers from Owens-Corning can add an
informal charm to any outdoor space.
Find a range of precast concrete products for landscape
projects including patios, walkways and driveways as well as garden
and retaining walls.
- Quikrete At Home
Features do-it-yourself tips and instructions for building
patios, walks and drives with brick, flagstone and adobe.
- Telescope Casual Furniture
This manufacturer of outdoor casual furniture features
a series of patio furniture collections.
Designer, manufacturer, and supplier of custom outdoor patio
furniture for commercial and residential use.
- Dr. Strap
Florida-based manufacturer of commercial and residential
grade patio furniture and accessories.
- Four Seasons Sunrooms
Designs, builds and services sunrooms, solariums, and
conservatories as well as Florida rooms, greenhouses, and patio enclosures.
Offers ready-to-assemble sunrooms and screen rooms for
patio or deck installation.
Patio and Porch Solutions
Related Outdoor Living Website
Backyard patios and decks often complement each other
as outdoor living spaces, and this companion website about planning and
designing outdoor decks
informative and inspiring as well.
Patio Ideas - Patio Design - Patio Materials - Patio Furniture