Real Stone : Stone has the most natural outlook, most durable but also the most expensive type of patio materials. It require good skills to install because each stone greatly varies in shape and size. Additionally, mortar compound is used to adjoin these stones and settle as they dry. It is designed to wear well in high-traffic, need little maintenance and could last for decades.
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.
Cheaper Indian Sandstone is not always the bargain it appears as it is thinner, or poorer quality and more porous causing leaching of the minerals in the mortar onto the top surface of the stone. There are some inexpensive granite slabs currently available that make a wonderful surface only slightly more expensive than Indian Sandstone. The more expensive options are Travertine, York stone, Basalt, and Marble.
Polished concrete makes a wonderful contemporary surface for the patio. Resin bound gravel is not only great for driveways, but makes an excellent contribution to the patio paving when combined with other materials for textural contrast. Get the best quality stone you can afford then the patio will last longer and stay looking good for many years. A patio should never be designed in isolation without considering the rest of the garden. A well designed garden where all the elements are in scale with each other and the house will connect the house and garden. A balanced design that includes a patio or multiple patios will give the garden coherence and ensure that it is a pleasant, comfortable space in which to spend time.