One of the great things about having a back yard, whether it be large or small, is being able to enjoy a back patio. Although a simple patio design consisting of a slab of concrete and a couple chairs can give you a place to go sit and wind down, taking some time to plan a functional, relaxing and versatile backyard patio can greatly increase the time that you spend enjoying your new outdoor space. By using what you have, and making the proper additions, you can turn any boring backyard patio into a retreat.
According to PaveTech, installing a 192 square foot patio will cost around 700 hundred dollars using pavers and doing all of the work yourself. If you use a contractor, the price will go up, but you’ll also have the peace of mind knowing it’s installed correctly.
Here are a few things to consider when designing your backyard patio:
1. What will you use the patio for?
Thinking about the patio’s use prior to installation is critical. Will you use it as a place to read or relax? Will it be a place to entertain? The answers to these questions will dictate the size, location, and budget for this project. Here are some ideas for transforming your backyard into an outdoor room that provides the protection and comfort you want when relaxing outdoors.
Make an outdoor family room
If your purpose is to entertain, you have a limited budget, and a good amount of space, consider adding an outdoor living room on your existing deck or patio. Because it’s outdoors, the space will be more casual than your indoor living room and will have less clutter. So, make it a convenient and inviting place to relax or spend time with family and friends.
Choose the best location closest to the kitchen so you and your guests can easily make trips to the kitchen and bathroom. Add a couch, comfortable chairs, and some side tables for food and drinks. And don’t forget the fireplace – it will enable you to use the space when the weather starts to cool.
To make the outdoor space seem like a continuation of your inside living space, keep the same theme from inside your house. If your house is modern, continue the modern look. Bring the same color scheme to your outdoor living room. It will flow better and appear as an extension of your home.
Create an outdoor game room
Is your purpose to have some fun outside? If you have a limited budget and some room, consider dedicating your patio, deck, or yard to games and watching sports. Purchase some life-sized games like Jenga, Chess, or checkers or add a couple of weatherproof game tables like table tennis or pool. These games will get you outside and active!
You can also buy a large TV to put among the games. Add a few chairs and couches and watch your favorite sports while the weather’s good! Consider installing a fire feature and you can be outside in the cooler temperatures.
Install an outdoor kitchen
If you have a sizable budget and a significant amount of room, an outdoor kitchen is a great place to bring the comfort and functionality of an indoor kitchen outdoors. Just as it does inside your home, the outdoor kitchen will be the hub of your home and follows the increase in outdoor living trend now prevalent across the U.S.
You can install a basic bar, include water supply, add a mini refrigerator, and a grill to an existing deck or patio. Or you can go all out and install stone countertops, built-in grill or smoker, a full-sized refrigerator, and even a small TV.
Keep in mind your outdoor kitchen won’t add a lot of value to your home. So, before investing in this project, make sure it’s worth it in terms of how much you’ll enjoy and use it. If you love to entertain outdoors, this may be the enhancement that is well worth it.
2. How much space do you have available?
Your backyard patio design is dependent on the amount of space that you have available. Although you may have grand plans and ideas for an incredible outdoor living space, you should work within the space that is available. In some cases, you can increase your possibilities by expanding an existing slab or deck. If not, you may find that you are able to do just about everything that you want to with what you have. If you have no real space constraints, then the only thing limiting the size of your patio is its actual location.
3. Where should you install the patio?
If your yard is large enough, then you may have a number of different options when it comes to choosing a location for your patio. If this is the case, take some time to walk around and survey the different areas around your property. A few things that you will want to take into consideration are the proximity to your home, exposure to sun and shade and available views. Although you may have great views toward the back of your yard, do you really want to walk all the way out there?
When it comes to sun and shade, think about the times of day that you will be using it the most, and where the sun will be during that time. For example, if it’s going to be a place to relax, consider whether you want a sunny or shady spot. Is it going to be a place that complements a water fall, pool, or hot tub?
If the purpose is to entertain, locate it close to your kitchen and/or outdoor grill. Think about convenience and access. You don’t want it to be difficult to get to the patio because you won’t use it as much.
- Once you decide on the location, don’t start the installation right away. Test it out first! Outline the perimeter and watch it at different times of the day for about a week or so. This exercise will give you valuable information e.g., how the sun hits the location.
- Don’t forget about utility lines. Make sure you know exactly where they are located in your yard. By law, your contractor must call Dig Safe before beginning any excavation or digging project anywhere in the US. This will ensure all lines are known and avoided throughout the construction. It wouldn’t be good if you installed a patio over utility lines and had to dig it up to get to the lines!
4. What Materials Will You Use?
There are a variety of materials you can use to build your patio. It’s important to do your research and pick the material that works best for you and your situation. You should also talk with your contractor before making any final decisions about materials. Ideally, your patio should mimic the look and feel of your home. Consider materials that work well with your landscape and home. Potential materials are below:
- Concrete is a very popular option, largely because it is one of the least expensive ways to quickly build a patio.
- Stamped concrete is concrete that uses textures and patterns to imitate wood, slate, tile, and more.
- Brick is a traditional option. It’s installed two ways: 1) by putting the brick on top of a thick gravel and sand layer without anything to secure the bricks together except compacted sand in between the individual brick or 2) by installing bricks on a concrete slab and bonding them together with grout or mortar, which makes it solid.
- Pavers come in a variety of different shapes and colors and provide one of the most versatile options for your patio project.
- Flagstone is popular because of the natural, earthy look that it provides.
- Natural Stone is the tried and true option because it’s been around forever.
Further reading: Pros and Cons of Popular Deck and Patio Materials
5. How Will You Light Your Patio?
A functional patio requires lights. Where you locate the patio will dictate lighting options. If it’s away from the house, try using lanterns or install posts. If it’s closer to the house, you can mount fixtures onto the side of the house and they’ll illuminate your patio.
Backyard Patio Design – Planning Your Outdoor Oasis
Regardless of where you build your backyard patio, there are an endless number of things that you can do to make it an inviting and highly functional space. By adding simple accents, such as lighting, brick, stone and decorative furniture, you can create almost any look and feel that you want. To get some ideas, there is endless inspiration online. You can also browse through showrooms and home improvement stores to get an idea of what is readily available in your area.
Hiring an expert to do the job is good idea to ensure it’s done right. Then you’ll want to discuss the timeline for the prep work and installation. It may be dusty and noisy so keep that in mind if you’re entertaining. Also, if you have pets or children, they’ll need to stay away from the work site.