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Patio Design Options

By: H. Iacobacci-Miller
Photo from bbc.co.uk.com

Patios are quickly becoming more of an addition to the house, rather than simply a concrete pad in the yard. Designs and styles for patios are nearly endless and can be adapted to fit any lifestyle and budget. Patios can be used for outdoor dining, grilling or simply a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Before constructing or remodeling your patio, think about how it the space will be used. Keep in mind comfort and personal style. If it will be used for relaxing or dining, you'll want to be sure to include shade trees or arbors to provide relief from the sun's heat. Lush plants will add color and texture to your new patio design. Will it be used year-round? Try adding a fireplace feature for those brisk fall evenings.

If your patio will be used for dining, think about what type of table and chairs you want to have. You don't have to stick to the traditional patio style furniture either. Rustic, pine tables and mismatched chairs provide a rustic charm. Use outdoor fabrics to add pillows for comfort, texture and color. This is also a great style for those working on a budget. When decorating and designing on a budget it's important to learn how to re-use and update existing pieces.

Now start thinking about the patio surface. You can use traditional concrete, which can be easily stained to create interesting effects and texture. Another option is to use brick. Old brick looks great in English garden themes. There are also numerous colors and shapes of concrete pavers that are designed for patios. Not only are they easy to install, they're durable. Yet another option is tile.

The options for your patio surface are great. It's important to pick the surface for your style however. Remember, every surface will have its pros and cons. Tile will need to be sealed and concrete can crack. No surface is truly maintenance free so keep that in mind when searching for the right surface for you.

Probably the most important step in creating a patio is making sure that the ground or base area is completely level and stable. If it's not, bricks and pavers will be unstable and concrete will crack easily. After digging out the area for your patio, fill it in with base gravel (typically known as class-5 gravel or ¾" highway gravel). Pack and level the gravel to provide a sturdy base for your surface. Taking the time to prepare the base will pay off in the end just as taking the time to learn about the many options available will.