Let’s Discuss Some Backyard Patio Options
Do you wish your outdoor living space was actually livable? Are you overwhelmed and unsure of where to start? You aren’t alone. Designing and building an outdoor space you love involves careful planning and in-depth knowledge.
Here are a few things you should know when it comes to backyard patios and outdoor living spaces.
A patio is built directly on flat ground. They can be made of almost any hardscape material, and popular choices include pavers, concrete, flagstone, and wood. Constructing a patio on a sloped lot can be done through the use of retaining walls, but doing so does increase the cost and the level of difficulty. A patio is an obvious option if your doors open to ground level or you are creating a living area in the yard and further away from the house.
It’s not uncommon to see a deck that steps down to a patio in order to maximize space. We’ve pulled together everything we know about patios so you can put these ideas to work for you.
Popular patio floor choices
Concrete is one of the more frequently used materials for patios. It is long-lasting and low-maintenance, it works for a number of different design styles, and it is perfect for creating smart-looking, well-defined edges. Concrete is one of the top choices for modern designs. Concrete is extremely unforgiving and sets quickly, so this is a job you should definitely leave to a professional.
Concrete Slabs or Pavers
Concrete slabs allow for a little more creativity in your layout while still looking sleek and modern. Precast concrete pavers come in different shapes (square, rectangular, circular, etc.) and are a more inexpensive option than others. They are great choices if a more custom look is what you’re after — sections can be left open for plants, trees, ponds, or other garden features.
Stamped concrete brings patterns into your design. It should be installed all at once so the stain is consistent. It’s also a good idea to make sure the pattern you choose will work in your space. Certain patterns are more prone to slippage so they shouldn’t be used near pools or in areas that see a lot of water.
The look of wood isn’t limited to decks. If you love the warm, classic look of wood, a platform wood patio is for you. Built inches off the ground on a platform base, these types of decks can go anywhere.
Typically thought of as more traditional or conservative in design, bricks are a wonderful option for a patio and are even seeing a surge in contemporary landscapes. Bricks are heavy and small so you’ll need a lot of them to cover any real square footage — a task best left to professionals — but their advantages make them well worth the investment. Their color won’t fade and, instead, tends to look better with age. Their small size also makes them fairly flexible when it comes to creating complex shapes, designs, and patterns.
Stone patios need little in the way of maintenance if installed properly, making them a great long-term investment. Generally, stone pavers fall into two categories:
Cut Stone: Cut from quarries (as opposed to being made from molds), cut stone pavers have variations in size, colour, and texture. There are a wide variety of cut stone available, but the most popular tend to be bluestone, cobblestone, and travertine.
Flagstone: is made from splitting sedimentary stone into layers. Patios made of irregularly shaped flagstone give a more natural look to landscape design.
Generally, pavers can be installed in one of two ways:
Dry-laid means pavers are laid on a compacted base of sand and gravel with small gaps between each paver. The gaps are then filled with sand, gravel, ground-cover plants, or other material. Since they are not mortared into place, dry-laid patios are easier to maintain since any shifts in placement or cracked stone can be easily replaced. With proper installation, it is possible for dry-laid patios to be as smooth as wet-laid.
Wet-laid involves setting pavers on concrete, or another type of mortar surface, as a base, then setting them by filling the gaps with more permanent mortar. Wet-laid patios are typically more expensive but are longlasting and very durable.
HOW TO PERSONALIZE YOUR PATIO
Patios are not one size fits all. Here are some ideas that can be added to your patio design and ensure it’s outdoor living space you’ve been dreaming about.
Even if there is only a slight slope to your yard, building two or more tiers will add visual interest and bring more functionality to the deck. Multiple levels allow you to designate each one for a specific function. For example, maybe an upper-tier is for more private activities, like hot-tubbing, so a privacy-style railing surrounds all or part of it, while the lower-tier is designated to entertaining, grilling, and dining.
A tiered patio is a great opportunity to play with different design elements and styles. You can use complementary materials such as wood and stone, mix up the size of pavers on each tier, or change the direction of the wood decking.
INTENTIONALLY DESIGNED PATIOS
Build your patio around pre-existing landscaping like trees, water features, or firepits rather than ripping things out and starting from scratch. This will not only save you money but also the years it takes for trees and bushes to mature.
BUILT-IN PATIO FURNITURE
Break up tiered patios or make a patio feel more like a room by building planters. Built-in planters create visual stops that replicate the feel of a wall. They also provide an easy way to bring in colour with flowers.
Investing in built-in seating is a worthwhile way to maximize space. It’s also an opportunity to combine different materials, like a wooden bench on concrete slabs, or visually break things up, for example, thinner boarded benches on a wider boarded floor, or channel elements of a favorite vacation getaway, such as a stacked stone bench to reflect a Mediterranean style. If space is tight, you can use the floor space between the seating for a portable fire-pit or dining table depending on your needs. Of course, mixing and matching your built-ins can provide even more by the way of design. Nestling a bench between two big planters filled with trees will lend the space shade and ambiance.
Another great built-in option that is both space-defining and functional is a built-in grill arrangement. It’s an obvious indication of what the area will be used for, making it easy to cook and serve. And because a grill needs to be height appropriate, a built-in grill is often built into a wall so can easily pull double duty!
A built-in grill is a great addition to any patio so it’s no surprise that many homeowners are taking that idea up a notch by installing an outdoor kitchen on their patio. Modern outdoor kitchens have evolved to include many of the same conveniences of an indoor one. Custom outdoor kitchens can include wet bars, smokers, mini-fridges, pizza ovens, roasting spits, side burners, and warming drawers.
Odds are pretty good that if you are going to all this trouble, you’ll be using your outdoor living space for more than just cooking. If you love to entertain, having a lounge or dining area nearby is the perfect way to move beyond your basic barbecue.
FIREPITS & FIREPLACES
Create lasting memories with a cozy fire-pit area. Patios are the perfect way to section off an area that will accommodate appropriate seating, store necessary accessories (like firewood or roasting sticks), and highlight a beautiful fire feature. The design choices for a firepit are limitless, ranging from sleek, concrete formed rectangles to traditional, stone circles.
In lieu of a firepit, some homeowners opt for a built-in fireplace to achieve a look more akin to the indoors.
Whether you choose natural gas or wood-burning, built-in or free-standing, big or small, there’s a fireside option for every budget and every patio.
If you want to make your patio feel more defined as an outdoor room, need some shade, or are looking to add some refined elegance to your exterior, a pergola might be exactly what you need.
Pergolas originated in Italian Renaissance gardens and are often thought of as a more traditional or classic design feature, but they can be custom-built to fit any style. Many modern designers use streamlined designs and less ornate-looking materials to create a more contemporary feel. Pergolas provide just the right amount of shade for your patio without making it feel closed in.
They can be cantilevered, semi-attached, fully-attached, wall-mounted, or freestanding depending on where your patio is located.
Don’t overlook lighting when designing your perfect patio. Nothing could be worse than having a beautiful space but not being able to enjoy it after the sun sets. The right lighting will not only enhance your evenings outside, but also add the finishing touches to making your patio feel like an extension of your indoor living space.
And just like interior design, exterior lighting has an abundance of options from subtle, ambient landscape lighting to more overt, task-oriented dining pendants. Likewise, installation options range from easy to install solar lights to a built-in electrical circuit, and everything in between.
To maximize the effects lighting can have on your outdoor living space, you should aim to use at least two kinds of lighting. String lights, while beautiful to look at, do very little to improve visibility. Add in stair riser lights or perimeter lighting and you have ambiance and safety.
Here are a few of our favourite lighting options for your patio and outdoor living spaces.
- String lights
- Recessed lighting (in-floor and in-ceiling)
- Table lamps
- Step lights
- Rail lights
- Landscape spotlights
Whether your ideal patio caters to cooking and entertaining or solitary evenings relaxing in the yard, it is possible to design an outdoor living space you love.
Why Choose Natural Image Property Services?
When you choose Natural Image Property Services you are partnering with a small, locally owned and owner/operated company. We are insured to work on properties such as yours and are licensed to conduct business throughout all of the municipalities that make up Franklin and Licking Counties in Ohio.
Our staff are properly trained and will always be friendly and courteous. By choosing Natural Image you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your property is in excellent hands.
If you’d like to schedule a time for us to provide you with an estimate on constructing a new patio please give us a call (740) 403-8063 or fill out our online contact form and someone will be getting right back to you.