Perfect patio season is upon us! Scorching summer evenings have given way to cooler temperatures, earlier sunsets, and all the charm of autumn nights. The benefits of a quality patio space in the fall months are often understated, especially with the addition of a fire feature. Whether you’re looking to update an outdated patio space or build new, there’s an option for every style and budget.
Concrete is undoubtedly the most versatile and practical option for patio spaces and comes at an attractive price point. It can be laid to fit virtually any space. It’s inherently durable, especially when laid with rebar, and is easy to maintain. It’s also the most versatile option from a stylistic standpoint, as it offers a variety of finish options, including stamped, brushed, colored/tinted, and polished. The downfall of concrete is that it can be a nuisance to repair if it cracks or chips over time.
Patio pavers also offer a range of design options, coming in at various price points, and are easy to fit to any given space. A paver patio is going to be a more costly investment than concrete, but pavers aren’t nearly as prone to cracks and shifting due to weather-related elements, making them ideal for midwestern climates. Paver patios also require a great deal of prep work. First, gravel has to be laid and leveled, after which polymer sand is then added to prevent weeds from growing between the pavers, all before each stone is individually placed. However, when laid correctly, paver patios are stunning, providing classic colonial vibes and effortless ambiance.
Natural stone, such as marble or slate, are among the most modern luxurious patio options. They come in a variety of patterns and colors, are cut into tiles by the manufacturer, and are relatively easy to install for professionals equipped to handle their weight. There are other tile varieties as well that still offer a polished appearance and can provide a similar aesthetic as natural stone, but come at a less expensive price point.
A clay brick patio offers more traditional luxury, true to the style and sentiments of historical England. Like paver patios, the installation for clay bricks is tedious. Notably, lavish appearance also comes with a lavish price point. Professional tip: While some try to cut corners and ease the cost of a clay brick patio, it is advised to use mortar, as opposed to sand, to ensure the structural integrity and the longevity of a leveled surface.
Gravel patios aren’t among the most popular choices, but they are inexpensive and easy to install yourself. Gravel could be an ideal option for a small seating space around a firepit in a rustic setting. While initially inexpensive, gravel, or any loose material, needs to be replaced every 2-3 years, if not annually. Another obvious disadvantage is that gravel provides no uniform surface. Gravel patios require a landscaping barrier to keep the gravel in place, but even then, are difficult to maintain in climates with snow and heavy rainfall.
A flagstone patio is the perfect selection for a one-of-kind, show stopping appearance. Flagstone is also a fitting design choice for those wanting to achieve an elevated rustic aesthetic. Unlike pavers and tiles, flagstone is cut in large, irregular and often uneven shapes. Like all stone patios, when installed and sealed properly, a flagstone patio lasts a long time and is easy to maintain.
Whatever material best suits your space, budget, and design vision, consulting professionals about materials and installation is a safe way to ensure your patio is laid properly and can be easily maintained for years to come!