To get the most out of your living space, you may try utilizing storage efficiently, strategically choosing furniture and taking advantage of the outdoors. Today's homeowners are increasingly interested in ways to expand their living space past the interior of the home. According to The American Institute of Architects' Home Design Trend Survey in the first quarter of 2008, more than two-thirds of those surveyed saw increasing popularity in outdoor living spaces [source: Baker].
One way to create a great outdoor living space is by adding a patio. Patios are usually level with the ground instead of raised like a deck. From a grill-out location in the summer to a gathering place around a fire pit in late fall, a patio can be a multi-season recreation center. It can also serve to define different areas of your yard, along with enhancing the style of your home and garden.
Patios are as diverse as the homes they go with -- from a large rectangular brick patio to a free-form slate patio. When thinking about the size and type of patio that's right for you, take into account how the patio will be used. Do you want a space for entertaining parties of 12 or an intimate retreat for just the two of you? Along with space, the look of the patio is also important. To have a patio that seamlessly links the home to the garden, you want to think about the overall impression you would like to create. For example, a colonial-style home might mesh well with a brick patio, whereas if you have a contemporary-style home, poured concrete might give you the look you want.
In this article, we'll look at five of the most commonly used patio materials. First up, a natural option.