Plan the Perfect Patio

For many homeowners, the patio is almost magical: a place to unwind, party, cookout, and get away from it all. Brilliant colours surround it, and food prepared in an outdoor kitchen tastes better than food prepared in an indoor kitchen. 

The patio materials are the literal foundation of this alfresco living room, and they are where you and your family can start creating that perfect outdoor place for you and your family. Your choice can significantly impact the look, durability, and functioning of your favourite home accessory. 

Starting at the beginning 

Consider the finished space before committing to a patio style. You probably have a decent idea of where it will be and how big it will be, so get a chair, take it outside, and place it where you want it. Then take a seat and visualize each material in your head. 

Your patio should not only enhance your lifestyle but also accent your home and scenery. Consider combining paving materials if you have a vast surface to deal with; some of the best patio designs involve two or more. Inlaid borders can visually separate space for sitting from the outdoor kitchen when several materials are used. 

When you've come up with your ideal design, think about which materials will best bring it to life, both in terms of beauty and practical concerns like maintenance and cost. 

Many homeowners prefer poured concrete for their patios because it is structurally sound, affordable, and can be embossed or coloured to seem like more expensive paving materials. In addition, it works best in mild to warm locations where frost heave isn't an issue. 

A basic concrete patio is four inches thick, but if you want to build something particularly substantial, such as a built-in fireplace, have the builder reinforce that section before pouring. 


Bricks, which come in a range of hues, provide a welcoming and appealing patio. Unfortunately, this classic patio style often costs more than one made of concrete because of the materials and the time involved in setting, levelling, and grouting each brick by hand. 

If you decide to invest, you can choose from various designs, ranging from a typical running bond to something more tactile, such as a boxed basket-weave or herringbone. 

Solid 1- or 2-inch-thick paving bricks, either dry-laid or mortared in place, are the ideal choice for patios. If you expand your brick patio into deep shade, you'll have to be careful not to get a slick surface after every rain. 


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

If you want to lay your patio, you'll need a suitable substrate with at least inches of sand and a permanent border to keep the pavers from slipping, such as a poured concrete curb. 

Pavers can be dry-laid by butting them tightly together or being put with consistent mortar joints. If your patio is built over utility lines, you should know that dry-laid pavers are easier to remove and replace if you ever need to access the utilities below. 


Stone's beautiful appearance comes at a higher cost — especially if it's not locally sourced — but it's hard to beat for natural charm. Flat, randomly shaped stones create a relaxing and meandering look, whereas uniformly cut slabs of granite, travertine, slate, or bluestone can make a formal patio that fits in any backyard. 

Planning tip: Natural stone is highly durable for any patio, but if you're building one near a pool, choose a nonslip kind like coral stone. 


Tile, which comes in various materials such as ceramic, glass, porcelain, terra cotta, and natural stone, is used to create attractive mosaic patio designs that are cool to the touch in hot regions. Because tile is so thin, it necessitates the use of a concrete slab. 

Were you planning to lay the tile yourself? Having a professional pour an even slab is a good idea. It's also worth noting that not all tile is appropriate for patio installation. All of your supplies — tile, thin set, grout, and sealant — must be labelled for outside usage in order to endure the elements. 

Sand, pea gravel, and crushed stone 

Crushed stone, pea gravel, or sand may be more your taste if you don't want a rock-solid patio. Crushed stone and gravel come in a wide range of hues and textures, and even sandy Zen gardens can be used as patios. 

To avoid the loose material from spreading beyond its intended border, you'll need to create a sturdy perimeter. 

Planning tip: When the seasons change, it might be tough to clear snow and fallen leaves, so keep your climate and environment in mind. Refresh the surface every few years to preserve a manicured appearance. 

About the author

Tameka is a real estate associate and team member of the Haven Real Estate Group. Today, Tameka continues her mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at the blog. Her blogs will cover a wide range of topics, including practical advice, inspirational ideas, and more.

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