Get ready for the best parts of summer living with an outdoor
do-it-yourself patio that will be an enjoyable spot for outdoor
barbecuing, al fresco dining or curling up with a summer read.
some timeâ€”perhaps the span of a long weekendâ€”and a few basic tips, you
can put together a patio to complement your outdoor space. Already
have a deck or patio? These tips can also be applied to freshen up an existing space.
1. Plan out your space:
Your patio should be big enough to be comfortable, but small enough to
be intimate. Set out your barbecue, a table and a few chairs to gauge
the size of the area. Once you have an idea, outline the area with
string to mark where the concrete or bricks will go. As you plan, make
sure you think about the purpose of the patio. Is it for eating and
barbecuing? Choose patio materials that will provide a stable surface.
Is your patio meant to be a quiet outdoor getaway? Perhaps stone or
other natural materials will work better.
2. Choose your materials:
You want your patio to blend with your outdoor space and complement
the style of your home, as well as work with the purpose of the space.
Ultimately whatever you choose will be a result of your personal taste
and the amount of money you want to spend.
- Concrete: While
concrete is on the more affordable end, it demands more skill and time
than other options. If you decide to go with concrete, itâ€™s necessary
to slope your patio at least a one-quarter inch grade to ensure proper
drainage. If you already have a concrete patio, note that concrete
doesnâ€™t have be basic gray. You can purchase concrete in different
shades, or stain and paint existing concrete. Just make sure to protect
the color with a coat of sealer.
- Crushed granite: Once
compacted, this can provide almost as firm of a surface as concrete and
water drains well through it. Gravel or crushed stones can also work
well for a less firm of surface.
- Pavers/Brick: Both are easy to
work with and can be laid out in a variety of patterns on a sand and
gravel base. Concrete pavers are the most durable and will give you
great bang for your buck.
- Flagstone or other natural stone:
These can also be laid on a sand base but may provide an uneven dining
surface. You can purchase pre-cut stones, or have the stones cut for
you. The gaps between the stone can be left as is, or filled with a
ground cover plant like woolly thyme, blue star creeper or babyâ€™s
With each of these materials, drainage is pertinent.
No matter the material, your patio should have a slight slope so water
runs off easily.
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3. Make some designer touches:
furniture: Again, try to incorporate the style of your home or outdoor
space with any furniture or accessory you purchase. Try a wrought-iron
or wicker look for a traditional home, or more mod plastic forms for a
contemporary house. Short on cash? Scour garage sales and thrift
stores for discarded furniture. Most of it can be painted to create a
- Barbecue: If you do have a flagstone patio, you
can create a separate gravel or concrete area for the barbecue and save
money by dedicating the more expensive materials for the seating area.
Terracotta planters are by far the most affordable and create a
cohesive look for your patio. Fill them with plants in varying colors
and heights. Herbs, lettuce and tomatoes all grow great in containers
and are easily harvested during the summer.
- Outdoor lighting:
Donâ€™t have an outlet nearby? Most lanterns and even strung lights now
come in solar or battery options that provide great light without
- Accessories: Make your patio an extension of your
home with little touches like hanging art, durable patterned cushions
and pillows or, if you happen to be under cover, a great outdoor rug.
Love an outdoor fireplace? Grab an affordable standing version,
starting at $80 or a chimenea, starting at $120.