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.
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.
All the above mentioned are excellent patio materials to be use for your patio. In addition, you can even use a combination of different types of patio materials to make your patio comfortable. Also, you have to consider the drainage properties of each material. For instance, individual stones, bricks, or pavers will let water through more than a whole slab of concrete.
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.