What Kind of Patio is Right For You?

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The official beginning of summer is just a few weeks away in the USA.  This brings us to thoughts of cookouts, backyard lounging and outdoor family gatherings.  An outdoor space that is comfortable, functional and visually appealing is paramount to many who enjoy their backyard.  The question is, what kind of patio is right for you?  Let’s examine some of the options for outdoor spaces.

Enjoying the backyard at night is one of the pleasures of a nice patio space (homeemoney.com)
Enjoying the backyard at night is one of the pleasures of a nice patio space (homeemoney.com)

Patio Surface Options

Stone pavers, slate, brick and gravel are a few of the options available for constructing a patio space.  It is a matter of aesthetic preference, cost and amount of work involved.  You should have an idea of how you want the finished space to look and how you will be using it.

Stone pavers give a touch of elegance with raised areas and rounded steps (HGTV)
Stone pavers give a touch of elegance with raised areas and rounded steps (HGTV)

Stone Pavers

Stone pavers are a popular choice.  They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, styles and colors.  They are relatively easy to install and the cost is moderate.  For a 120 square foot space, stone pavers range from $380 to $580.  Installed by a professional, the cost would be $1350 to $1800.

A patio of stone pavers (jacobsenlandscape.com)
Stone pavers are a popular backyard surface material (jacobsenlandscape.com)

Slate or Flagstone

Slate or flagstone is a great choice for a more natural look; however, the cost is significantly higher than pavers.  Slate ranges from $875 – $970 for a 120 square foot space.  Installed, the cost is $1750 to $2250.  As an option, you can use slate as an accent along with other materials.

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Natural slate patio area (digsdigs)
Natural slate patio area (digsdigs)
Stones that look like slate are a beautiful addition to your outdoor space (jeriko.us)
Slate tiles are a beautiful addition to your outdoor space (jeriko.us)

Pea Gravel

Pea gravel is the easiest to install and most affordable option for the patio or any outdoor space.  Priced at only about $5 per square foot installed, gravel can be used in borders, around fire pits and even as patio material when given the proper borders.  It is also easy to install, which would cut the price in half.

Get creative with gravel on your patio (HGTV)
Get creative with gravel on your patio (HGTV)
Extend your patio with an area for a fire pit, surrounded by gravel (Pinterest)
Extend your patio with an area for a fire pit, surrounded by gravel (Pinterest)

Brick

Brick is a universally appealing choice for outdoor surfaces.  The cost of brick is $440 to $670 for 120 square feet or $1450 to $1900 installed.  You can create various patterns with brick to make it more interesting and visually appealing.

Traditional brick patio with stone insets creates and welcoming place to relax and entertain (stewiesplayground.com)
Traditional brick patio with stone insets creates and welcoming place to relax and entertain (stewiesplayground.com)
Brick in a structured pattern adds interest (urbangardensinc.com)
Brick in a structured pattern adds interest (urbangardensinc.com)

Comfort

When it comes to a backyard patio, comfort is key to enjoying the space to its fullest.  Nice seating, a fire pit for cooler nights and umbrellas for sunny spots are a few essentials.  Treat your outdoor space like you would any gathering spot in your home.

Create outdoor living spaces on the patio (theydesign.net)
Create outdoor living spaces on the patio (theydesign.net)

Comfortable seating is a must if you plan to spend time in the backyard.  Sturdy outdoor furniture can be arranged in separate areas.  A conversation area and a dining area can serve you well for everyday use as well as entertaining.

Having a variety of seating areas makes for a great entertaining space (Pinterest)
Having a variety of seating areas makes for a great entertaining space (Pinterest)

Umbrellas can give you protection from the sun if your yard lacks natural shade.  Not only do they serve a great purpose, but umbrellas add a nice decorative touch as well.

Related:
Creating an Outdoor Living Space
If you don't have shade in your backyard, create your own with umbrellas (evafurniture.com)
If you don’t have shade in your backyard, create your own with umbrellas (evafurniture.com)

A fire pit or fireplace is an excellent addition to any patio.  Offering warmth and coziness, a fire element enhances the outdoor experience in all seasons.

Adding an outdoor fireplace makes for a cozy spot for relaxing and entertaining (patiodesign.info.com)
Adding an outdoor fireplace makes for a cozy spot for relaxing and entertaining (patiodesign.info.com)

Function

When planning your patio, think of the function it will serve.  Do you just want a simple place to relax and enjoy the backyard?  Do you entertain often?  If you plan to entertain often, consider convenience to the house and size.  If you just want an intimate spot to enjoy, you really don’t need a large space.

City patio (HGTV)
City patio (HGTV)
Stone pavers make an excellent and versatile material for patios (brickphonepicture.blogspot.com)
Convenience to the house is a top consideration when planning the patio (brickphonepicture.blogspot.com)

Style

Raised areas and flower beds can turn an ordinary patio into something special.  Consider installing flower beds to add seasonal color.

Designing green areas within the patio adds interest and color (patiodesignpictures.com)
Designing green areas within the patio adds interest and color (patiodesignpictures.com)

Raised areas or multi-level patios can be wonderful spots for entertaining.

Raised areas, flower beds and use of different materials makes for an appealing patio space (simplepooltips.com)
Raised areas, flower beds and use of different materials makes for an appealing patio space (simplepooltips.com)

Add water features and lighting for an even more dramatic space.

Adding different levels and features such as water and light torches to the patio space can elevate the space (Pinterest)
Adding different levels and features such as water and light torches to the patio space can elevate the space (Pinterest)

Trellises and arbors can give you shade and natural beauty, as well as architectural interest.

A trellis gives this outdoor space charm and shelter from the sun (midcityeast.com)
A trellis gives this outdoor space charm and shelter from the sun (midcityeast.com)

If you have a sloping yard, play up the feature with a raised patio and nicely shaped stairs.

For a slightly sloping yard, a raised patio with rounded steps is graceful and appealing to the landscape (homestylediary.com)
For a slightly sloping yard, a raised patio with rounded steps is graceful and appealing to the landscape (homestylediary.com)

For the modern home, a simple patio works well.  Place large paver stones or concrete blocks artistically in a bed of gravel.  Accent the space with a simple fire pit and chairs for the perfect spot to relax.

For the modern home, something simple is most appealing (patiodesign.info.com)
For the modern home, something simple is most appealing (patiodesign.info.com)

When you enjoy spending time outdoors, having a patio makes that time so much more.  Comfort, function and style of your private backyard space will reward you with years of enjoyment.

Related:
The Repurposed Garden

 

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