Patio Ideas

Stairs Rise to the Occasion

©Portland Cement Association The rough-cut concrete blocks edging these patio steps provide a texturally interesting contrast to the uniform, bricklike shape of the pavers on the floor.

Stairs are essential ingredients in many patio ideas, but they can also rise to the occasion as decorative features that tie various elements together. Stairs can be fashioned out of the same paving material as the patio floor but take on added interest with a different texture or pattern, such as a poured concrete surface changing to rougher concrete block or brick laid in a herringbone pattern changing to a straight run. Stairs often look their best when their design combines the primary patio material with a contrasting one, such as exposed aggregate teamed with wood or brick accents or large formal flagstones softened with a random arrangement of small smooth-surface rocks.

Changing the width and depth of stairs can create interesting effects, too. Vertical risers should remain a uniform height for safety when climbing or descending, but the proportions of horizontal treads -- the walking surface -- can be varied with great flexibility. Stairs might broaden as they lead from the patio adjoining the house down to another area of the yard. Or a short flight of standard-depth stairs might open to a series of platformlike levels for a terraced appearance.

For more decorating ideas outside the home, see:

For more decorating ideas outside the home, see: