Everything You Need To Know When Building A Patio

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, people have been confined to their homes to avoid the risk of infection. So, home improvement has been on the rise because people want to feel like they actually love the place that they are isolated within.

One of the most popular tracks of home improvement that has been booming ever since the pandemic started is outdoor improvement! People gained interest mainly in building patios, where everybody can hang out, enjoy fresh air and sunlight while still being in the comfort of their own homes. 

In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to make educated and economically savvy decisions when it comes to building and adding a patio to your home!

What is a Patio?


The word patio comes from the Spanish word patere, which means "to lie open." A patio is an outdoor area that is (usually) covered by a roof, not being bound by any walls. It is merely seen as an attachment to the main home. The patio is either built to protect the entrance of the home from getting soaked by heavy rain, or the more usual use of which is as a place for outdoor gatherings.

The patio is often confused with a porch, but the two have slight differences. Unlike porches that need to be always attached to the house, patios may or may not be "connected" to the main house. In that, it can either be an attached structure, or it can be an outdoor landscape that's adjacent to the position of the main house. Also, unlike porches, patios are not built for utility. Still, most of the time, homeowners want to include patios in their residences because they want to have an outdoor lounging area where they can feel relaxed and one with nature. 

What are the Types of Patios?


Since patios are designed within the interest of the homeowner, there are almost a dozen types of patios that you can choose from if you want one on your property. The following are the nine most common patio types that you can opt for: 

Concrete Patio

A concrete patio is the perfect balance between durability and affordability. If you want a patio that doesn't require much upkeep, then you should use concrete as the main material of the patio. Others even use concrete as a base for their patio because it's easy to decal it with tiles if you want to get creative. (Related: Concrete Patio Cost & Consumer Guide)

However, it would help if you kept in mind the concrete tends to absorb extreme temperatures and keep in mind that patios are situated outside. Constant thawing and freezing will likely decrease the longevity of the concrete patio. 

Gravel

The less durable yet ultimately cheaper cousin of a concrete patio is the gravel patio. While people often underestimate gravel, it's actually a pretty good budgetary option for those that want to spruce up their patio walkways.

However, though gravel is pretty durable, it tends to get messy because the rocks aren't exactly fixed to a place. 

Pavement

The umbrella term that we use for all the other options that are not concrete and gravel but also won't fall underneath the ones that will be mentioned after this are called pavements. In a way, the broad spectrum of pavements will give you a lot of options that allow you to unleash your creative spirit without breaking the bank. 

However, working with materials that are not known to you can seem a bit risky. 

Clay Bricks

If you're aiming for a more decorative yet (sort of) in the budget option, then go for clay bricks. The bricks tend to give a traditional look to your porch, which brings it a homey elegance. 

The only downside to clay bricks is that the prices are pretty high for a couple-few, but if you've got money to spend, then why not?

Flagstone

The classier and more expensive cousin of a clay brick patio is a flagstone patio. A flagstone patio is composed of heavy sedimentary rocks that give a clean and modern look to your patio. 

However, if you're the D.I.Y. type of homeowner, you might want to opt-out of this one because as they are natural rocks, they tend to become very heavy and hard to maneuver. So, if you do choose this material, then it would be best to hire a professional. 

Sand

If you're up for easy installations, then choose to have a sand patio. It doesn't cost much, plus you literally just have to rake down some sand to have this as your base.

However, the disadvantages are apparent; sand gets everywhere. No one would want to feel the breeze in their backyard with sand getting up in their eyes and hair. 

Tile

Tiles are another common material that people prefer for their patios. They are very popular because they fulfill both the aesthetic and utilitarian needs of people. Talk about how there are hundreds of tile designs, and if ever your patio does get dirty, tiles are pretty easy to clean.

The only downside, though, is that tiles tend to get slippery when it rains, and it would be pretty exhausting to keep on mopping your patio area; and it would also pose an additional risk to accidents if you're not careful enough. 

Patio Pavers

People specifically designed a material that works best for patio installations which are called patio pavers. These pavers are created to interlock with each other, thus reducing the requirements for grout or mortar.

What are the Different Patio Shapes?


  • Circular - If you want a simple yet eye-catching patio, then a circular patio would be your style. For circular patios to look appealing, there must always be a center point that people can focus their eyes on. Be it a dining table or a fire pit; a circular patio is very decorative.

  • Square - If you want a practical and cost-effective patio, then a square patio is the perfect design for you. Its design often fits modern houses, and it is most apt for accommodating large numbers of guests. 
  • Freeform - If you want to release your artistic vision, then a freeform patio would be your best option. It allows you to decide how you want your patio to look, and it's often unique because it adjusts to how the landscaping of your home looks like. 

Things to Consider when Building a Patio


  • Size - Fix your mind on what capacity of accommodation do you want your outdoor patio to be set at.
  • Location - The most common locations of a patio area are at the front and the back of your home. So, if you want to display your beautiful patio and raise your house's appeal, then a front patio would work, but if you want some privacy during your leisure time, then put it in the back.
  • Materials - You can choose from a variety of materials that were discussed in the past section. 
  • Furniture - Fix your mind on what furniture should be seen on your patio. You wouldn't want it to seem too empty but also not too cluttered, so plan it out.
  • Raised vs. Ground-Level - On a more technical note, you must know if your patio should be ground-level or raised because it involves knowing how good the foundation is and how less likely it is to succumb to erosion.
  • Lighting - If you're the type to stay out on your patio at night, then you should consider the lighting in coordination with the sizing of our patio. 
  • Roof/Covering - A roof can really protect you from harsh elements when it's too sunny or if it's raining a bit and you want to stay on your porch. But you can also opt for a freer patio if you want it to be open to sky-gazing. 
  • Maintenance - This includes cleaning and fixing; you should be clear on how much you want to spend on your patio every year so that it won't be much of a burden. 
  • Utilities - Consider the area of utilities like underground power, water, plumbing, and gas lines when assembling your porch. Never play out any development that requires exploring the ground without first assessing the area of every underground utility. 
  • Building - Codes Check your city's local ordinances on residential construction to avoid any forced removal in the future.

Conclusion


Since you’ve gotten to this part of the blog post, then you're probably quite well-versed in the basics of patios! However, as much as you want to D.I.Y. your own patio to save money, I do warn against it because you might end up wasting materials and time if you aren't well-versed in the labor that comes with doing it.

If you're deciding on whether or not you do need a patio, then take this article as a sign. Everybody deserves an outdoor spot that feels like home, and a patio is a perfect place for that. 

Kenneth Wilson
October 12, 2021
Yard & Garden

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done.