©Portland Cement Association This patio combines concrete block with standard brick in a lively pattern. Although the colors set up contrasts, the materials have similar surface textures.

Mix and Match Materials

While contrasting materials are often employed to solve problems or create dramatic effects, they can also be mixed and matched just to add a little visual interest to an informal outdoor area. The combinations depend on your patio ideas and can be as straightforward as brick and concrete block laid in sand or wood strips neatly edging a gravel walkway.

Materials might contrast in texture but wear colors bearing a close resemblance to each other; or they might differ in color but carry a similar size, shape, and surface. The emphasis might be on blending materials into a pattern. Simple patterns such as a grid or checkerboard lend themselves to casual patio styles and can be easily accomplished with any square or rectangular paving material.

Whether mixing materials for informal looks or to create a more striking patio, it's wise to gather a small assortment of the pavings in advance and lay out a sample section of the area to be certain that they blend together in functional and visually pleasing ways.

For more decorating ideas outside the home, see: