Maybe you gaze out your back windows at your lonely patio, wishing it looked better. The backyard patio really functions as an extension of the home. This outdoor living space can be designed just like a room inside the house to offer amenities and entertainment space for the family. Backyard patios come in all shapes and sizes. The key to backyard patio design lies in blending this hardscape feature with the exterior of the home.

Backyard patio

Using the Space

Tea on back patio

Backyard patios can be large or small depending on your needs. Larger patios offer plenty of living space, but need to be designed carefully so the expanse doesn't overpower the home or other landscape elements. Tiny patios also serve their purpose to create an intimate gathering space to have tea or a romantic dinner for two. Patios also can include areas for a large barbecue, as well as a complete outdoor kitchen. Remember that any permanent addition to your landscape should be proportionate to your home.

Design and Materials

Potted tree and stone patio

Patios can take literally any shape or form to suit existing landscapes or form the template to install new gardens. Free-form patios offer nooks for seating arrangements, tables or a barbecue. More traditional geometric patios offer a simple design that can be dressed up with furniture, potted plants and garden edging. Backyard patio design should ultimately reflect your planned use for the space and should fit into your overall landscape plan.

Patio building materials come in a variety of stone, brick and cement options. Brick offers the option of various patterns with the placement and a long-lasting beauty for your landscape. Manufacturers offer paving stones in many neutral colors to complement any color home exterior. Many paving stones are textured to create a more natural look to your patio. Concrete offers the most affordable option, while real stone patios cost the most money for materials and installation.


Umbrella on back patio

Sticking a patio in your backyard creates a delightful outdoor living space. However, you need to consider whether this space is actually usable. Excessive sun beating down on a stone or cement patio will cook everyone to a crisp. Don't allow guests or family to be chased back into the air-conditioned house. Install a pergola or trellis over the patio area for shade. Other shade options include table or market umbrellas, house awnings or the natural shade of a tree.