Strong, serviceable poured concrete is a surprisingly versatile paving material. One of its most respected qualities is the ability to take to nearly any shape or style -- large or small, formal or casual. And because it is a molded material -- placed into a prepared form of some type and allowed to harden -- concrete can conform to a wide spectrum of landscape and patio designs and suit a number of architectural styles.
Concrete can be made to flow freely around the perimeter of a house, following its contours closely and serving as a continuous surface that might incorporate steps, planters, and walls into the patio plan. Or it can be molded into a series of separate but related patio elements, each cast in individual forms that can be different in size and shape or all the same.
One advantage of working with smaller sections of concrete is that other materials can be integrated rather easily to introduce variety. Poured concrete can also function successfully as an accent, perhaps as stepping stones linking the house to the garden or low benches surrounding a small pond.