One way to improve the setting of your backyard is by adding a patio. Here are factors homeowners should consider before installing a patio.

Are you thinking about adding a patio to your backyard? Patios have been a fixture in American backyards since the 1950s, and they gain in popularity each year. By adding a patio, you’ll give yourself a wonderful gathering place and an attractive feature that can help sell your house down the road — but how do you get started?

Keep reading to learn about 10 factors you should consider before installing a patio!

  1. Understand What You’re Willing to Spend

With the average cost of a new patio at just under $5,000, it’s important to know what you want. When you increase the scale and add on a grilling station, fire pit, and other accessories that you’ll probably want, the price of a patio can surge.

That’s why you need to create a budget. Any sort of home project can take on a life of its own if you let it. Make sure to establish a clear upper limit so your project doesn’t balloon to something too expensive.

Don’t worry — there are ways to save money from the get-go. If your backyard is flat, that means the task of installing a patio will be easier (and less expensive). You can choose an area that is already flat or try leveling the designated patio space yourself.

You also could use salvaged materials from an old patio to keep the costs down. There is a hierarchy of materials that will impact patio installation costs (more on that later), so make sure to get the final costs on materials in writing.

Avoid excessing landscaping, too, if you want to keep your budget lean. Rather than planting ornamental grasses, go with potted plants to establish a border and some visual interest without gauging your bank account. And choose inexpensive patio furniture to get started — you can always upgrade later!

  1. Determine the Size

A key preliminary step is knowing what size you want your patio to be. You may not have a lot of flexibility with this if your lot is small, but if you have more space, spend some time measuring and talk with an expert to get perspective.

Think about what scale matches the scale of your house and yard. A giant patio paired with a modest home could look awkward. And a giant patio that chews up most of your backyard might leave you with feelings of regret once it’s installed.

The planning stages might seem tedious — after all, you just want to sit on your patio already! — but it’s worth taking your time so that you are satisfied.

  1. What Shape Should It Be?

Know what shape you want, too. Look to your home and backyard for inspiration. A very rectangular patio with clean lines would complement a modern house, for instance. But if you want to create a cozy backyard getaway, you might try something more organic.

Popular shapes include the standard rectangle, semi-circle, rectangle with rounded edges, and organic patio. Some homeowners like to have several smaller patios that connect through stepping-stone paths.

  1. Know Where You’re Installing a Patio

Will your patio be an extension of your home, or will it exist in a separate space? This is a critical question to consider as you plan and consider different patio designs.

It’s always wise to see where the sun would hit your patio throughout the day. When you’re sitting on the patio at night, this is a non-issue. But if you’re hosting a happy hour under the hot July sun, you’ll want some shade.

You can try to plan so that your patio has a tree providing shade, or you can look into purchasing umbrellas or an enclosure to ensure that you avoid too much sun.

  1. What Is the Purpose of the Space?

Are you planning to hold occasional gatherings with just a few friends during the summer? Will you sit there alone for coffee in the morning and cocktails in the evening? Or will your patio be the gathering point for massive parties?

Knowing the purpose of your patio will help you determine so many other factors. You want to scale the patio for its purpose and understand what sorts of embellishments will complete the space.

If you want to convey that your patio is a private space, you may wish to build some walls, for instance. Half-wall partitions can help to create a sense of refinement and protection. But if you’re hoping your patio will be the gateway to your backyard, you should keep it free of barriers.

  1. Investigate Contractors

Investing money into any home project can seem daunting, so make sure that you have the right team doing the job. Start by asking neighbors or friends who have recently completed patio or porch projects for contractor recommendations. They may be able to steer you toward the best one.

Be sure to choose a contractor who is licensed and has a strong track record. Ask about their experience installing patios, and get an estimate on the project.

Another consideration is timing. You know that everyone is going to be craving a new patio for the summer, so contractors could be booked in the spring. If you plan and arrange to have your patio built in the off-season, make sure to find a good patio builder, and you could save money.

  1. Determine the Best Materials

Concrete is among the most popular type of material for a patio, but by no means is it your only option. You also can look into brick, cut stone, wood, and even mixed materials. And, as mentioned earlier, you can reuse old patio materials to save money. Consult with your local concrete flooring companies to know the best material to mix with concrete.

Concrete and pea gravel are on the cheaper end of the spectrum, though concrete will need to be replaced after a few decades.

One option to consider is a stamped concrete patio. What is stamped concrete patio?

It’s a patio that gives you a lot of creative flexibility! The concrete can be stamped or imprinted to mimic the look and style of other materials while it is still wet. If you’re wanting your patio to look like wood or slate, this type of patio may be the right choice for you.

For a more upscale look with greater durability, go with stone or brick. Each of these materials should last over 100 years, meaning that your initial investment might be all you make — as long as you maintain things.

Choosing a combination of crushed stone and some pavers will add a textural mix to your backyard space. Especially if your yard is flat and low on vegetation, choosing a variety of materials is an easy way to add visual interest.

With the exception of pea gravel, which you can install with limited tools, you’ll want to hire a professional for installation. Since you want your patio to stand up to parties, dinners, and bad weather, it’s important to have experts with knowledge of materials and terrain doing the work.

  1. Know Where to Put Lighting

Once you have a patio, you’ll want to be able to use it at all times of the day. This means you need to determine where to place lighting — and what kind of lighting to use.

Hang some rope lights to build a magical outdoor space. Or place luminaries around the edge of the patio for a festive nighttime experience. Don’t overlook this important part of the space!

  1. Consider the Landscaping Around It

Landscaping will make a huge difference in how your patio looks. You can keep things clean and minimalist, which you might want to do if your patio overlooks a beautiful yard or body of water. In some cases, a patio is the access point to a better view.

But if your patio is going to be your primary outdoor sanctuary, budget for some landscaping. Add some bushes and a variety of native grasses around the perimeter. Plant some trees or introduce some vines to integrate your space into its surroundings.

Patios look great next to gardens, too. Imagine what it would be like to reach over from your bench to find some fresh mint for your tea!

  1. What Other Add-Ons Will You Need?

Make sure to allow money in your budget for other accessories. You’ll want to invest in durable furniture that makes your patio homey and complete. Go for bold pops of color or keep it neutral for a calmer vibe.

On top of that, you could look into adding a fire pit or small fountain for ambiance. The crackling sound of fire is perfect for a Friday night with family, while a fountain is a perfect soundtrack for an afternoon with a book.

Take into consideration other outdoor needs, like a grilling station or bar. Put in the time on the front end brainstorming what you need — or plan for the possibility of adding these fun features down the road!

You’ve Got This!

Installing a patio requires a lot of planning, but it’s worth it in the end. You’ll create an outdoor space where you can entertain or curl up and relax after a long day at work. Talk over options with your contractor and get ready to add a stunning outdoor living space to your property.

When you’re ready to find fresh ideas to spruce up your living space, check back with us for more great articles!