Capacity of the patio : The patio needs to be large enough to accommodate the correct size of table with room for chairs to be pulled out and for people to move around easily when others are seated. A guide is to allow 1m width for the table, 500mm width on either side of the table for each chair when not pushed under the table, 300mm between chairs down the side of the table, and 700mm width to pull each chair out and sit down comfortably.
The materials you choose should always blend with the surroundings and other materials used in the garden or landscape, while providing the right surface for the intended use of the patio.
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.
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.