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.
Consider the long term practically and maintenance of patio materials carefully....Most people only think about materials in terms of the cost but that should not be your only consideration. You don't always require the cheapest patio material. On the contrary, you also need to think about what patio materials are going to last for a long time and what kind of maintenance each type of material needs.
Although you will most likely pay more for colored or stamped concrete compared to plain concrete, the amazing transformation will be well worth the investment. A good and creative contractor can render endless array of decorative effects, from rustic earth-toned sidewalks and patios that harmonize with the surrounding landscape or garden to vibrant multicolored concrete floors that double as works of art.
Stamped or Colored Concrete : This material is gaining popularity and very practical. It often can be molded or stamped to look just like other types of patio material such as brick, cut stone, irregular stone, cobblestone, etc. It comes in various textures and colors and is cheap. Stamped or colored concrete is a very practical solution when working on a budget.