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.
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.
When you are figuring out your budget for the patio, you must take into account the maintenance costs of each different type of patio material. You may find that you are better off choosing a more expensive but durable patio materials up front rather than choosing a cheaper one that has a higher average maintenance cost. Also, make sure that you include into your budget for any additional walkways or paths that need to be built.
A patio is just one element of a garden design, but it is one of the most expensive parts of any garden build. Because the patio fulfills several different functions it needs be given careful consideration. Here are a few pointers on how to design a patio.