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Patio Material Options

Think a back patio means living with a drab concrete slab in your yard? Think again. The assumption that this deck alternative means setting your pretty outdoor furniture on something sad and boring doesn’t have a lick of truth behind it. Today’s patios are created from a wide variety of materials that range from perfectly functional to pretty fabulous.


Looking for an inexpensive patio material that comes in a variety of colors? Then look no further than brick. This go-to has a bit of a bad rap — some homeowners consider it somewhat of a snoozefest compared to other materials. But when installed with a little creativity, it can actually create quite a stunning backyard retreat. Think outside of the box and mix-and-match colors while creating an interesting pattern, like this spectacular circular design.


Homeowners who dig a rustic bent when it comes to their backyard need to look no further than flagstone. This oversized, oddly shaped option can instantly make an outdoor area look like a classic English garden. There are several different kinds of flagstone including bluestone, limestone and granite. On average, they’ll run you between $15-$18 per square foot.

Installing the stone directly into the ground is cheaper but will require frequent weeding and doesn’t provide the smoothest surface for patio furniture.

Sonoma Residence contemporary exterior
Contemporary exterior design by San Francisco architect 450 Architects, Inc.

An alternative is to set the flagstone in concrete. The result is a smoother, more level surface but the installation process can cost you twice as much, if not more.

Multiple Family Suites traditional patio
Traditional patio design by Baltimore architect Penza Bailey Architects

Terra Cotta

This reddish colored ceramic tile, though decorative, looks best behind houses with a southwestern, Spanish Mission-style or Mexican vibe. It’s installed over concrete and can be laid in a wide variety of wow-worthy patterns. The biggest downside to terra cotta is that it’s porous and therefore has a penchant for cracking. Protect the space by sealing it once a year. That said, cleaning this kind of patio is a breeze and requires nothing more than a mop, some water and a non-acidic cleaning product.

Ashton Park mediterranean patio
Mediterranean patio design by sacramento general contractor CLK Construction



Get the look of a deck without building off of the ground when you install a wooden patio. This is an especially apt choice for homes whose exteriors don’t mesh with stone or brick. You can invest in a simple, clean patio design:

East Village Roof Garden modern landscape
Modern landscape design by new york architect pulltab design

Or opt for something more whimsical.

Menlo Park, CA modern landscape
Modern landscape design by san francisco landscape architect Keith Willig Landscape Services, Inc.


Though you may question the idea, a concrete patio isn’t what it used to be. This industry standard has upped its game in the last few years, with offerings that accentuate design and even color. Look for contractors that offer interesting cuts and decorative coloring methods. Incorporate contrasting borders or ceramic tile accents.

The biggest bonus to this often overlooked material? It’s cheaper than any of the other options, running as little as $6 per square foot in some cases.

Ana Williamson Architect traditional patio
Traditional patio design by San Francisco architect

Whatever material you pick, make sure it blends with your home’s exterior and plays to the natural surroundings. Choose wisely and you’ll leave friends and family with major patio-envy.

Ready to get started on your patio? Contact a deck and patio contractor.

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