When designing a garden, adding a patio to your plans can open up a wealth of possibilities. An attractive patio can provide the perfect spot to entertain guests, install attractive furniture or even provide a spot for exercising in warm weather. Given the number of materials and styles on offer, you should also find it easy to choose a patio that will suit your garden perfectly.
That said, there is also a lot that can go wrong when designing a patio. Clashing materials could be the least of your worries; a choice that offers poor drainage or high-maintenance could turn an attractive garden into an exercise in frustration, especially if you fail to have it installed by a professional landscape designer.
With the growth of the internet, it is easier than ever to explore the different options open to you for designing a new garden. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most popular options for creating a patio.
Choosing a patio material
Installing a patio in your garden can offer a number of advantages. For one, a patio won’t require any mowing! However, the different options available will each carry their own advantages and disadvantages, particularly when it comes to installation costs and long term maintenance. As such, it will be important for you to consider each of your choices carefully.
Some of the most popular patio options include:
- Paving stones – Hard-wearing and easy to install, paving stones are an enduringly popular option for new patios. You will also find that they come in a variety of different materials, including concrete, clay, stone and even recycled materials such as plastics. An important thing to keep in mind is that while man-made materials will be easier to shape, they will not have as much of a natural charm as you may get from other options
- Gravel – While they may not be the most comfortable material on offer, gravel is both pleasant to look at and cheap to install. When laid over a well-installed landscaping fabric, gravel patios will be resistant to weed growth. They can also provide excellent drainage. Unfortunately, a gravel patio can require regular maintenance work to keep it level. You may also find that a gravel patio will not provide as much support for furniture as other options on this list
- Clay bricks – If you are looking to install a patio as a DIY project, clay bricks could be the perfect option for you. They can even be laid on sand beds without the need for mortar. Another advantage is that bricks can come in a variety of colours and styles – an excellent perk if you want to make your patio unique! If you want to have your patio professionally installed, however, you will usually find that using bricks will be more expensive in terms of labour
- Concrete – When you think of concrete surfaces, you may sooner picture an unattractive city centre than a beautiful garden. However, the sheer diversity offered by concrete means that it can suit virtually any style, and often for a much lower price. Concrete patios can be patterned, painted, and even upgraded with other materials such as loose stones. More importantly, they are also long-lasting and extremely durable, allowing you to enjoy your patio without having to worry about yearly maintenance
- Flagstone – It is difficult to beat a natural look, and the earthly processes that go into colouring and shaping pieces of flagstone will ensure that your patio is totally unique. You will find that there are multiple choices on offer in terms of materials, including sandstone, limestone and quartzite. There may even be a local quarry nearby that will give you the chance to acquire the stones cheaply
- Tiles – In the right weather, a tiled back garden patio can make you feel as if you’re sitting by a Spanish villa. Tiles hold the advantage of having customisation options which are virtually limitless. However, you should keep in mind that smaller tiles will carry higher labour costs when it comes to having them installed. You should also avoid glazed tiles, as these tend to become extremely slippery in wet weather