Intended use of the patio : Decide how you want to use the patio. Is the patio mainly for alfresco dining or sunbathing or relaxing with a book or all three? The intended use will dictate the size and location of the patio. A patio mainly for dining is best placed where there is some shade so that diners can keep cool on warmer days and seek the sun when the weather is cooler. A patio intended mainly for sunbathing needs to be in a spot where it's sunny all day. If you want young children to safely use the patio, it needs to be somewhere you can see them from the house.
Including built-in seating : Patio designs incorporating built-in seating with pergolas and outdoor fireplaces look very chic and transform the patio into an outdoor room. It is also a great way to make use of all available space in a very small garden. This solution is convenient if you don't want to shuffle around with garden furniture. However, the position of the seating is fixed and restricts how you can use the patio. The space is less flexible as seating cannot be varied to turn a dining area into a lounging area.
Plain Concrete : Plain concrete sometimes also known as cement is probably the easiest material in terms of upkeep and maintenance. Plain concrete is the most affordable material available. You can begin with plain concrete for your patio and when you are ready for a change, you can basically lay new patio materials over the existing the concrete flooring. Hence, you can treat it merely as a foundation layer for other patio materials discussed within this page. Furthermore, plain concrete can be a strong foundation and certainly prevent surface cracking.
When you are choosing the material to use as a foundation for the patio, think about the long-term practicality of the material before you make a final decision. Here are some common patio materials you can choose from.