Beginner’s Guide to Patios and Decks

June 16, 2023

Patios and Decks: As we plunge into summertime, many people are beginning to consider adding a little flair and function to their backyard in the form of a patio or deck. Patios and decks can be made a lot of different ways, using a lot of different materials. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a quick guide.


Patios and Decks: An Overview

Your patio or deck is the social centre of your landscape. It shouldn’t just function as a usable space, though – it’s important that it also fits in with the rest of your garden – physically, aesthetically, and geometrically. With that in mind, here are a few things to consider before getting started.


  • Do I have room?

It seems obvious, but it’s an often-overlooked question. Putting a patio or deck large enough for a barbecue, firepit, and seating area might cost you your entire small yard. Or perhaps there are trees, plants, or existing structures that will be in the way. Either way, carefully consider whether the cost is worth the gain.


  • How big do I want my patio to be? And what will it be used for?

A patio or deck almost always needs to be just a little bigger than you think. Carefully consider what you’re planning to use it for. If you’re just looking for a quiet outdoor breakfast nook, a small deck will suit you just fine. If you’re looking to transform your yard into a summertime oasis, complete with firepit, seating, bar, and hot tub, you’ll need something pretty big.


  • Where will it be built?

It’s instinct for most people to want to build their patio right next to their back door, but consider if that’s necessarily the best place within your landscape. At times, it might suit your needs better to build a patio or deck near the back corner of the yard next to your favourite garden or water feature; an isolated, quiet escape from the rigorous strictures of home life.


  • Will it be raised or in the ground?

This will depend on the existing features of your house and yard. If you’re planning to build right against the house, you’ll likely want your patio to match the height of the door. If you’re looking for something simple and functional, in-ground might be better. Remember, though, that digging deep into the ground may incur additional costs, but so will building it higher.


  • What materials should I use?

This is where it gets fun. Keep reading…


Common Types of Patios and Decks

  • Wood

A classic. Though lumber prices have risen in recent years, wooden decks — especially well-built, proportional, natural ones — will never go out of style. Just make sure they’re built out of treated lumber, cedar, or are properly stained and sealed, otherwise the wood will rot.


  •  Vinyl/Composite

An alternative to wood, composite or vinyl decking looks excellent and suits any landscape. It can also be purchased in a variety of colours and textures. Though it still needs a wooden frame, vinyl decking is more durable and long-lasting than wood and doesn’t require any sealing or staining.


  • Pavers

Concrete pavers are durable and versatile. With the addition of walling, they can be built at any height, meaning they can function as a deck or an in-ground patio. Trying out different colours and patterns can add nice flair to an otherwise formal medium.


  • Slabs

Like pavers, concrete slabs are known for their versatility. Aside from their usefulness in pathways, they’re also excellent options for in-ground patios and decks.


  • Flagstone

Flagstone is a very natural stone option that works well in any landscape. It’s multi-functional and allows the incorporation of other natural features, like low-growing plants, soil, and/or aggregates.


  • Accesssories

Here are some things you can add to your patio/deck to take it to the next level this summer!

  • Potted plants
  • Lighting
  • Pergolas
  • Gazebos
  • Arbors
  • Bar areas
  • Patio furniture
  • Fire pits
  • Water features


Rethinking your definition of “patio”

It’s a new age of unique and sustainable landscape design. As a result, many people are rethinking the formalities of traditional design, embracing more postmodern layouts and ideas.

To that end: remember that there’s no reason at all that your patio or deck must hew closely to standard conceptions of geography and layout. Your whole yard can function as a patio of sorts, complete with plants, boulders, concrete, wood, and other focal points scattered throughout!

Your patio doesn’t need to be a circle, square, or rectangle. Professional designers find ways to seamlessly combine natural features with hardscapes.


Need Help?

Our accredited landscape services division would be happy to help design and install a patio or deck for you!

Get in touch for a consultation.

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