There are many of different ways to build a patio and you may not know where to begin.  First, think about what is most important to you: practical use, longevity, modern look, traditional style, etc.  Then once you determine the general shape, size, and placement of your patio, you need to decide with material you want to use.  This is the fun part (at least for landscaping nerds like us).  Here is a list of popular materials that are being used to design beautiful patios and walkways, along with the pros and cons of each type of material.

Pavers

Pros

  • Pavers come in many different colors, sizes, shapes and materials.
  • Natural stone
  • Concrete
  • Clay
  • Plastic composite

Cons

  • Higher initial cost
  • Need to be skillfully placed

Concrete

Pros

  • Concrete is probably the least expensive patio option.
  • Stained concrete is a popular trend for inside and outdoors. The staining and sealing process is time consuming but not terribly expensive.

Cons

  • Concrete also has a tendency to crack with extreme weather and doesn’t always look as charming as cracked brick.
  • Concrete is unforgiving and must be done correctly the first time. It’s best to hire a professional with experience in concrete.
  • Once it is in, there is no changing concrete without a significant investment in demolition.

Brick

Pros

  • If you’re going for the traditional look, brick is a great option! The warmer colors of brick (often in red tones) add character to a landscape and they tend to stand up well to regular ware and tear.

Cons

  • Bricks can crack, and while some would say this adds character, it will be a turn-off to others.

Flagstone

Pros

  • This is a very popular style and creates a much more ‘organic’ look while maintaining a sophisticated appearance.
  • There are many color variations to choose from.

Cons

  • Even when a main color is selected, the high level of variation in flagstone may be a turn off to people who want a more consistent, controllable look.
  • Flagstone is heavy and oddly shaped, which makes it challenging for DYI’ers.

Gravel

Pros

  • With the right design, gravel can compliment landscaping beautifully. For example, some people choose to use pavers for their main patio and use attractive pea gravel for winding pathways through flower beds or perennial borders.
  • Gravel comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. It is relatively easy to install, but should be undergirded with sand, leveled, and tamped down well.

Cons

  • Some people associate gravel with the standard angular, light gray gravel commonly used as a cheaper substitute for pavement.
  • If not maintained, gravel leaves room for weeds to crop up and grass to escape the border of the lawn.
  • Larger gravel can be uncomfortable to walk on with bare feet.