Patio Ideas

©Bomanite Corporation The subdued earth colors and stone tile appearance of the imprinted surface blend smoothly with the brick and wood materials of the traditionally styled house.

Given the right amenities, a good patio can become a travel-free substitute for a weekend getaway -- the swimming pool supplanting a crowded beach, or the built-in barbecue taking over the picnic in the park.

In this article, you'll find several creative ways to transform your back yard into an attractive addition to the home. Using the photos as a guide, you'll be able to design the patio that's perfect for you, no matter what type of home you live in.

Typically, the size and shape of the site will have a greater effect on the patio's end result than anything else. It can provide opportunities for creative solutions to challenging conditions. An outdoor area has to respond to the lay of the land, but it should also balance the amount of sun and shade. Structures such as trees and shrubbery, trellises, or privacy walls can increase outdoor comfort by moderating the sun, shielding the area from prevailing winds, and screening out unwanted sights and sounds.

A successful patio remains in scale with the house and the surrounding landscape. A small outdoor area usually looks better with a simple, uncluttered design. By contrast, a big yard may call for a large outdoor area to keep things in proportion, but the overall space can be divided or sectioned with a change in levels, contrasting materials, or garden accents.

The following article covers a large variety of patio materials and looks at some of the ways they can be used. It also describes some of the amenities and finishing touches that can make patios more functional, enjoyable outdoor spaces. Whether you're planning an all-new addition to the yard or looking to spruce up the space you've got, you're sure to find something to love in the pages ahead.

For more decorating ideas outside the home, see: