So you've decided to build a patio, but you aren't sure how to design it to meet your needs. Building a patio can add a great deal of functionality if you do it right, but there are several factors you need to keep in mind during the design phase. Often times, people know they want to build a patio, but don't do the necessary research and as a result end up rushing a job that turns out poorly. Assure that this doesn't happen to you by taking the steps outlined below and doing it right the first time.
The first thing you need to consider when designing a patio for your home is the material you are going to use. You can use concrete to fit nearly any shape or design, but is the surface and color of concrete really what you are going after? If not, consider using stone pavers or quarry stone such as flagstone. They are more durable and can add an additional dimension of quality that concrete cannot offer.
The next phase of planning involves choosing a design that will create the look you need, while allowing for the features you need as well. If you are building a patio around something like a pool, then obviously you will have to mold the shape around it, but you also have to consider the outer shape as well. Although it is more difficult to create, a flowing pattern that seems to seamlessly transition into the yard looks much better than solid lines that visually break up the area. If you need to break the area up into segments, then that strategy would be perfect for you, but if not consider alternative shapes and patterns.
Lastly, you need to decide whether or not you will use any cover or other decorative accents within the patio structure itself. There are a variety of options to consider, but you might have to deal with trees above, in which case if you wanted to add a fountain you might want to place it elsewhere. You can also add a variety of other water structures and lighting accents that can really complete the look. Decide what you are trying to accomplish with your patio and keep that in mind every step of the way. Don't forget about grills, storage, and furniture either.
Planning a patio can be difficult if you aren't armed with the necessary information you need to create a functional and useful design. Don't be afraid to take the time you need to consider each and every aspect of the design. This also brings up the topic of budget, which is where many people make mistakes. Far too often people fail to account for miscellaneous items in their budget and end up way over budget. Make sure this doesn't happen to you buy taking your time and doing it right. Account for angles, corners, furniture, and decorative accents if you want to make sure you give the patio a complete and finished look.