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5 Key Elements for a Gorgeous and Practical Patio

The extension of the indoors to the outdoors is a huge trend in landscape design. Homeowners love to use their patios as outdoor living spaces that augment the fun they have indoors. A well-designed patio that incorporates the right elements can achieve just that. It also deserves mentioning that adding a patio to your property can also appreciate the value of your home.

That being said, the key to a useful and attractive patio is planning ahead. Below are five key elements that go into planning a beautiful but utilitarian patio.

1. Flooring

Naturally, the foundation of your patio is the flooring. You have many options for the flooring material, including natural stone or a concrete slab. However, one of the newer trends in patio design is the interlocking paver.

Interlocking pavers are made of concrete. They resemble brick, cobblestone, or flagstone. The manufacturers fabricate them so they interlock, meaning the edges fit almost like puzzle pieces. This design allows them to lock together so they stay put even though the contractors don’t use mortar. Instead, they spread sand to fill in the gaps.

Besides choosing which material you want the pavers to resemble, you can choose from numerous laying patterns. Each pattern is traditional to the material they’re supposed to replicate. For example, you can choose fan patterns for cobblestone or bond patterns for brick. The contractors lay the pavers in the patterns, so your pavers are indistinguishable from the original material.

2. Custom Fire Pit, Outdoor Fireplace

A custom fire pit or outdoor fireplace provides warmth for congregating or dining on cold nights and adds inviting ambient lighting to your patio. Outdoor fireplaces are also a great place to mount an outdoor TV! (Imagine grilling on your outdoor BBQ island while watching the big game around the outdoor fireplace.)

Fire pits and fireplaces typically consist of a concrete core with a stone or brick veneer and can run on gas or be traditional wood-burning. Both can offer the warmth needed to extend the season or the night, and both have endless entertainment potential!

3. Built-In Seating

You can never have too many places to sit on your patio. If you’re having a fire pit installed, consider having seating built in around the pit. Typically, this seating consists of a semi-circle of bench seating, but stackable wall seating is also a popular option.

Another place you see built-in seating is around the perimeter of the patio. This style of seating can also resemble a semi-circle, or you can use shapes with angles, such as an L or U.

Materials for built-in seating include wood, composite, stone, and concrete. Whatever material you choose, plan to incorporate some weatherproof cushions for comfort.

4. Cooking Space

The main purpose for many patios is to cook and eat outside. Many homeowners opt for a barbeque island. This installation is similar to an indoor kitchen island in that it’s a task-oriented feature separate from the wall.

Naturally, the centerpiece of the barbeque island is the grill. If you plan to do a lot of outdoor cooking, choose the best grill that fits within your budget. When having a barbeque island custom built, don’t forget to include ample countertop space for food prep as well as lots of storage space.

Outdoor kitchens are a further extension of the indoors to your outdoor living space and have become extremely popular. They can incorporate features such as a sink, stovetop burners, mini-fridge, and other options that take outdoor cooking to a whole new level!

5. Lighting

An essential element for both beauty and safety is lighting. As with many other lighting plans, you should design the lighting in layers.

Start with an overhead fixture if your patio is covered. A popular overhead lighting fixture for patios combines a fan with lighting. You might even consider using an outdoor chandelier as an overhead fixture. Conversely, a restrained dome light will get the job done if a chandelier doesn’t jibe with your design.

The other two layers of lighting are task and ambient. You should have task lighting installed anywhere you’re going to be preparing food or drinks. You will also want to illuminate entrances to the patio — especially stairs.

For ambient lighting, you may look into lanterns dotted around the perimeter or consider light strings to create the mood. Accent lighting can also be used to illuminate elements of the patio and landscape that you wish to make stand out. Higher-end lighting options include Bluetooth interfacing and multi-color functionality that can be controlled from a smartphone app, making the possibilities endless.

Make a plan for a patio that provides beauty and usefulness to your home and outdoor living. Let Ecoworkz help you from the planning to installing stages.