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Planning Your Patio

Patios make a great addition to your home's livable space and provide a great place to relax, dine and entertain. There are plenty of designs you can choose from, depending on the size and function of the patio you want to build. Whether you choose to have a small or large patio, below are some patio design ideas to help you make your patio the perfect place to enjoy your outdoor living space.


House Plan 4212 has tons of outdoor living space, including this covered patio with a high ceiling. Perfect for kicking back and taking in the view!

First you need to decide where you want to build your patio. Do you want it to be an extension of your home? Or are you looking to create a private retreat away from the house? If you want to enjoy outdoor dinners or entertain family and friends it is best to place your patio as close to the kitchen as possible.

Size really does matter when you're planning your patio, especially if you like to entertain or anticipate adding a spa, fireplace, outdoor kitchen or bar to your patio.

When it comes to choosing the material for your patio, the most popular surfaces are stone, stone veneer, brick and concrete (stamped, colored or plain), either alone or in combination. It's a good idea to consider factors beyond cost like aesthetics and functionality. Try to complement the style of your home and if you plan on adding an outdoor kitchen or spa choose a surface that is smooth, yet safe. Tip: Keep in mind the darker the color of your material the more heat absorption and warmth.

Don't forget to accent your patio with amenities like low-voltage lighting, planters, fireplaces, fountains and furniture. Let your lifestyle dictate the details you add to make the most of your outdoor living space.

As the trend towards creating a comfortable outdoor living space continues to grow, so has the selection of outdoor furniture. Outdoor furniture manufacturers are creating chairs, sofas, loungers, benches and tables to match any architectural style in a variety of durable mediums like wicker, aluminum, iron and teak.

Adding trees, flowers and shrubs can enhance the time you spend outside and provide shade and privacy. If you're thinking of installing a patio cover, a pergola is a great idea. It not only provides shade, but by adding climbers such as ivy, grapevines or clematis you can really enhance the look of your patio. Other options are awnings, umbrellas, corrugated metal roofs, retractable covers and gazebos.

Once you've decided how you want your patio to look it is best to have your contractor or landscape expert build your patio, since the materials are heavy and hard to work with, especially if you have a complex design.

Design Tip
Patio doors are becoming taller and wider, spanning the length and height of whole walls so your outdoor living space feels like a natural extension of your home. When it comes to patio doors, there are many new options for homeowners to choose from, like low-maintenance fiberglass that mimics the look of wood, architectural inspired-styles, decorative glass, custom colors and designs and energy efficient systems.