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.
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.
In addition, you may also want to choose the material colors that you can match with your favorite patio furniture and combining different materials is also possible as long as they are properly matched. In any case, it is best to seek professional assistance and advise when using any of the patio material discussed above.