If you enjoy relaxing in the sun in your backyard, then make sure you put your patio where it will have a southern or western exposure but provide shade with an umbrella, canopy or vine covered pergola, particularly in climates where scorching summer temperatures will make it uncomfortable.
For a cool respite from the sun, a northern or eastern location would be fine. An eastern location gets morning sun and is shaded in the afternoon. A northern location is generally shaded by the house itself and provides little sun all day.
If you have large shade trees on your property, you might want to nestle the patio among the trees. You’ll get dappled sunlight and a feeling of escape from the house. However, don’t build the patio too close to the trunk of the trees. Most tree roots grow out not down. Roots grow out past the drip line of the canopy of branches so keep the patio away from the roots.
If your town building code allows it, a front yard patio located near a walkway to the front door, can act as a welcoming place for friends and especially neighbors to stop by for a chat since it’s a less intimate space than a backyard patio.
Your front yard may offer better views of your tree lined street and your neighbors pretty landscaping. A top of chair height border of shrubs will help screen it from the street and create a sense of privacy.
A courtyard patio is another option. Generally a staple of Spanish or Mediterranean architecture, a courtyard is surrounded on three sides by the house. It’s accessed through a gate or archway in front. This intimate space acts as an outdoor room particularly in hot climates where it can be used most of the year in nice weather.
But it can also fit into any small space you have. “It can be a charming little space,” says Joanne. “You can create an environment that suits your personality for not a lot of money.” With little or no grass, enclosed by walls, fences or bushy trees, a courtyard patio is intimate and cozy. You wouldn’t have the same feeling in a large space.
If you plan to entertain a large crowd then you’ll need a patio that is big enough to hold a dining table and at least four chairs, a place for the grill and some comfortable seating in an area away from the table.
The shape of your patio might determine where you put it. If you have existing trees near your house that you want to keep, you could build your patio around them. Any nearby natural boulders can be incorporated into the design for a natural look. A rectangle shape made of cut flagstone, brick or paving stones will lend a formal, symmetrical look to your home while a curvaceous circular shape will give it a more casual feel.
There is nothing more boring than a plain slab of poured concrete for a patio. But if you insist on using it, consider a stamped pattern that is dyed with a coloring agent for a more natural look. Be aware of the maintenance issues with this type of patio. You have to reapply the coating about every two years so it doesn’t lose its color. They can also show surface cracks and the color wears off in heavily trafficked areas. In frost-free zones, concrete is often the material of choice.
For a completely natural look, nothing beats natural stone for a patio. There are many different types of natural stone to choose from including flagstone, slate, bluestone and limestone. Flagstone patios are attractive additions to any home, and if you’re considering adding an outdoor living space to your backyard, you may want to consider this classic and convenient design option. Let the materials you already have on your house dictate the type of material you might have on your patio
Aged slate pavers will give your patio a lived-in look; these pavers are “tumbled” in a machine that creates a worn look and a rustic, lived-in feel for your patio.
mix-and-match style. This design employs slate pavers of different sizes and shape to create a visually interesting, seemingly random pattern. It’s a little less formal, but it can be more inviting and add personality to your outdoor living space.
geometric pattern. Whether the design is a herringbone, checkerboard or basket weave pattern, this sleek style is often complemented by more contemporary, modern patio furniture.
Brick is porous so it retains moisture. In freezing weather, it cracks so it has to be replaced. In shady areas, slippery moss grows on the bricks and it has to be scrubbed off using a bleach solution and brush. In sunny areas, the moss problem is not as profound but still grows and has to be cleaned off otherwise walking on it can be treacherous. This paving product lends a charming, Old World look to a patio.
There are now many different shapes, colors and patterns available in manufactured paving stones than ever before. Even high-end homes now sport paving stone patios. Pavers are modular pieces that are all the same thickness so they go down easily and quickly saving you time and money.
Whether you’re remodeling your existing outdoor space or installing a brand new patio, you’ll have almost countless options to peruse when it comes to patio tiles.
The most common type of patio tile is made of unglazed clay. If it’s been fired correctly, this type of tile will be harder and denser as a result. Red clay is most commonly used for this type of tile, though white, gray and black clay can also be used.
Glazed tiles can be used as accents to an un-glazed clay patio, around the edges or in patterns within the unglazed tiles.
A patio cover is a backyard shade structure that is attached to your home. Typically two posts or columns support the outer portion of a patio cover. The roof of a patio cover may be open or solid depending on what level of protection you require.
In many parts of the U.S., weather determines if your patio should be covered. In areas where the unrelenting sun makes it nearly impossible to sit outdoors unprotected, a covered patio is the obvious choice.
Even in areas where the summer sun can bear down for months but the winters can be brutal, a covered patio will allow you to enjoy it longer under cover protected from rain or wind.
Your outdoor parties will be a lot more successful if you make sure your patio is comfortable, spacious and inviting.
A patio cover should be built right off the house in an area in need of protection from sun or rain. Most homeowners elect to locate a patio cover right off their back door so that it serves as an extension of their living space. Common places for patio covers include over a patio, dining area, built-in grill or outdoor fireplace.
The size of a patio cover is dependent on the size of the area you wish to protect or shade. If building a patio cover to accommodate dining or other patio furniture make sure the posts are spaced wide enough for people to easily walk around the furniture.
The height of a patio cover can range from eight to twelve feet tall. Keep in mind that the taller a cover is the less protection from the elements it provides. Additionally, the lower a patio cover is the more cramped it will feel. Check with a landscape architect or patio cover installer to decide on a height that is proportionate to the desired length and width.
Open and solid patio covers provide different levels of protection. An open, or lattice roof allows light to filter through, creating a partially shaded area. A solid roof will block all light and rain or snow. Typically solid patio covers are made of aluminum. However, you may have a solid patio cover roofed with shingles to match your house.
Shade structures that are not attached to a building are commonly referred to as pergolas.
A pergola is a backyard shade structure with an open-lattice roof supported by columns or posts. Pergolas are not designed to completely block the sun, but to provide relief from direct sunlight, while allowing air to circulate freely. Most pergolas are free-standing, but a pergola can be attached to your home if you wish.
A gazebo is an eight-sided shade structure with a solid eight-sided roof. It usually has a built-in bench running along the inside, and sides that are open to the air so you can enjoy the surrounding garden views.
Wood patio covers are still very popular for homeowners that want their materials to remain consistent especially on the outside of their home. For instance, if a home is made from cedar then it is wise to purchase structures that are also made of cedar to match the home. Wood patio coverings come in many shapes, sizes, materials, and prices. Some wood materials cost more than others and some are more popular because they have very little impact on the environment. For example, wood materials like bamboo and maple are considered sustainable woods because the wood is not being cut down faster than it can grow back or be replaced by new trees. There are many types of eco-friendly wood choices available on the market today.