Residential Patios & Porches

A patio or a porch is a great way to expand your home. By adding a patio, you literally expand the living space of your house by the square footage of the patio itself. On the other hand, patios require a commitment so consider these points before you jump into building one.


Choosing a Patio/Porch Location

Most folks like to sit in the sun, but at midday or even into late afternoon, the sun can be hot and uncomfortable. Locating the patio where it will get some shade is an attractive option. Also, you probably want to have privacy when using your patio, so putting it right beside your neighbor's family room is not likely a good idea.

Proximity to the house, kitchen, and washrooms are also practical considerations. For example, having the patio at the back end of your yard means you'll have to walk the length of your yard to get a drink.

Determining the Size of Your Patio/Porch

You'll want to make sure your patio is big enough to hold your furniture easily, while allowing you to walk around comfortably. One idea is to use your living room dimensions as a guide. If your living room can comfortably hold your furniture and guests, a patio of similar proportons should work as well.

Patio and Porch Building Materials

When it comes to building materials, you have a number of options: concrete, brick, stones, or gravel. A good idea is to use materials that will complement your house. If your house is made of brick, for instance, using a brick of contrasting color can be quite attractive.

  • Concrete is available in a variety of colors and patterns, both as pavers or poured. Pavers can be made to look like bricks and you can even purchase patterns made to resemble more expensive types of stone. Moreover, concrete pigments can make concrete blend in with almost any color scheme.
  • Patios require special patio bricks that differ from ordinary construction brick. Patio bricks are solidly designed to withstand foot traffic. If you live in a northern climate, you will need to obtain bricks that are designed to withstand the cold weather as well. Bricks provide a number of attractive options for a patio, such as matching the existing brick on your house, or laying bricks with spaces that allow grass to grow in between and give the appearance of an old courtyard.
  • Stones, bluestone or flagstone, provide many choices, including different colors and textures. On the other hand, because stone can be expensive and is slippery when wet, people often decide to use it as an accent in areas where it won't get much traffic.
  • Gravel can make an attractive path or edging around a patio, but it's not a very good idea for a total patio, as furniture will sink into it.

Which Patio/Porch Shape

Patios lend themselves to a wide range of designs. If you can imagine it, you can likely build it. Using bricks and stones, you can create curves that follow the natural lines of nature rather than artificial straight lines. For example, a curved patio can wrap around an entrance way, giving people a firm area to step onto when they come out the door and a pathway leading to a large sitting area around the corner of a house. The possible shapes of your patio are limited only by your imagination.