When designing your patio, you might get distracted by furniture and barbeque pits, but before you even get to that point you have to start from the bottom up. On the top of that list? Your flooring.
There are many different materials on the market today that are perfect for patios and outdoor spaces, and we're looking at four of the most common, durable, and attractive products to transform that boring backyard into the perfect patio.
When it comes to outdoor flooring, it's hard to beat aesthetic appeal and durability of natural stone – no matter your climate, it always looks right. Though relatively expensive and labour-intensive to install, natural stone is an extremely durable and nearly maintenance free flooring option ideal for a wide range of outdoor spaces -patios, pool decks, front porches, walkways, and driveway accents included. Opt for larger flagstones or paving stones, or smaller setts and cobbles, depending on the desired look. Setts are small, chunkier paving stones that usually feature a slightly curved upper surface, and we once used for city roads.
Natural stone is hard wearing and like fine wine, gets better with age. From slate to sandstone to granite, there's a wide selection of stones to choose from, and no two pieces are the same! A natural stone patio brims with character and charm, unique to each individual space.
There's something about brick that suggests sophisticated old world charm, calling to mind the romantic and winding streets of Paris. Clay bricks are ideal for smaller spaces, or for creating interest in a small part of a larger floor surface. Made from natural material, they create a sympathetic surface which blends well with both your house and garden.
Take care in choosing bricks that are exterior grade, as these are designed to withstand weather fluctuation. They tend to be relatively slip- and frost-resistant. Bear in mind that though a brick patio is relatively low maintenance, ground shifting may cause the bricks to lift up in places.
Budget Friendly Tip: Pick up second hand bricks from reclamation and demolition yards.
Pronounced ee-pay, Ipe wood (also known as Brazilian walnut) out of South America is one of the densest hardwoods available, three times harder than cedar. It offers the same fire rating as concrete and steel.
Like redwood, it secrets a natural oil that keeps bugs at bay. It is also resistant to mildew and decay. Though you're guaranteed to get at least 25 years out of an Ipe wood deck, architects have noted that with proper care and maintenance it could easily last a half a century. It's this durability that makes Ipe wood it an attractive candidate for outdoor flooring, which is subject to all manner of environmental damage, not to mention kids, pets, parties and the occasional fallen hot dog.
Ecologically friendly, reconstituted stone is a safe and financially conscious bet for those who want the look and durability of real stone on their patio without the price tag. Reconstituted stone is created from a mixture of concrete and group up natural stone, which is cast into different shapes.
Modern methods make it nearly impossible to tell the difference between top quality reconstituted stone pavers and the “real deal”. You can buy patio kits made from reconstituted stone, making it quick and convenient for you to design and lay your own patio patterns.