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.
Decide on the budget : Installing a patio is expensive but it is worth spending as much as you can afford as the patio is such an important part of the garden. The garden should be viewed as an outdoor room and if you are prepared to spend a little extra on getting it right it will be useable for most of the year. Allow around £120 per square metre as an all-in cost to get a contractor to lay your patio.
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.
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.