Plan Your Patio Now

Choose the right material for your space. It's never too early to make plans.

By FamilyTime


If you have been dreaming of a relaxing outdoor space to spend time during the warm weather, there's no better time than right now to plan a patio. The more time you spend designing it and choosing the right material, the happier you will be.

If you don't have the budget to do so, you don't have to hire a landscape architect to design a patio. Refer to books about patio and terrace design or surf the Internet for ideas.

Use your own design sense. Confer with neighbors who have built patios you admire. Keep drainage in mind, and consider how and when the sun will hit the patio stones.

Once you have a plan, you might decide to consult with an architect. Run it by the builder you plan to employ and listen to his advice. 

The Plan
Decide where you want to build the patio. It makes sense to choose the most level area of your yard, but if that is not accessible it's possible to grade the land.

It may be far more cost effective -- and very attractive -- to install a few steps rather than level very uneven land. Chances are you will need to some grading but you may be able to save money with steps or a slight shift in the design.

Do not be stingy with space. You will use this "outdoor room" frequently and so it should be large enough for your family and the furniture you plan to install there. If you entertain, make sure there is ample room for people to move around.

The Materials
Choosing the patio material is the fun part. Your selection will probably be guided by your budget, but keep the style of your house and gardens in mind, too.

Most people think of flagstone or brick when they consider a patio, and while these are lovely materials, you might also consider others.

Concrete is becoming popular with patio lovers. It can be formed to resemble flagstone or can be molded into bricks or interlocking pavers.

Tile is another choice that is fashionable in warm climates. It can crack in freezing temperatures.

Fieldstone is charming but is among the most expensive materials you can choose.

To add interest, you could mix materials. For instance, you could build a natural stone pathway leading to a flagstone surface, or edge the concrete or flagstone with brick.

Once the patio is built, you will move right onto it. And love every minute you and your family spend there!