Whether you use a pro or choose the DIY route for your patio the key to a successful project is choosing the right layout and materials for the job

Layout Tips:

Think of all the scenarios that you want your patio to be used for. If you will be entertaining you might want to have easy access to your kitchen to clean up. If you want a quiet spot to read a book, maybe you want to build some shade into the project. Or alternately, maybe you want a place to sunbathe and need a spot with more sun exposure.

Once you have determined your patios uses, pick a location and map out the perimeter of your patio. Use stakes and string ( or landscapers spray ) to physically represent where the patio will be. You will probably want to live with this design for a few days to make sure you have the correct setup, Ideally, you want your patio to feel like a natural extension of your home,

Water flow is another important consideration. Even though you will grade your patio in such a way to allow for water to drain, it’s important that you do not pick a low spot on your property. Excessive moisture not only disturbs the ground beneath a patio it also contributes to weed growth and mildew.

Don’t forget to give some thought to the plumbing, electrical lines or septic system in your yard so that you are not forced to dig up your patio for underground utility repair. You should also make sure that your design meets your local zoning and setback requirements.

Material Tips:

How you plan on using your patio and where you live should be the most important factors in determining the materials you use. Although budget and personal taste are also big factors. For example, If you expect to be walking barefoot on the surface you should consider texture and heat retention. If you live in a climate with freeze-thaw cycles like Central Massachusetts, you will want to be mindful of the material you choose.

Here are some characteristics of various patio materials:

Poured Concrete:
  • Least expensive, most labor-intensive
  • Requires professional installation
  • Stamped concrete can mimic more expensive materials
  • Susceptible to cracking in climates with extreme temperature shifts
Pavers
  • Choose from a variety of options; brick, flagstone, clay, concrete and composites
  • Slip-resistant, easy to install
  • Absorb stains so will need to real the surface every two years
Composite Pavers
  • Made of recycled materials
  • Many colors and textures available
  • Some pavers snap into a pre-laid grid
  • Can be expensive
Brick
  • Can last over 100 years if installed correctly
  • Different patterns and colors are available and possible
  • Brick should be specific to the temperature range of your climate
  • Resistant to stains
  • Price varies widely
Natural Stone
  • Includes bluestone, slate, limestone, sandstone and travertine pavers
  • Can be purchased in uniform shapes or as irregular slabs
  • Each type has a different heat-retention and slip-factor
  • Second most expensive option to tile
Tile
  • Many different options to choose from both glazed and unglazed
  • Installation requires that you lay tile over a concrete slab
  • Price ranges from reasonable to very expensive

The best part of installing a patio is the planning process. When it comes to installation it’s often more cost effective to go with a professional. Do the math on your time and the equipment needed to install your patio project and let us know if you need professional assistance.