grow, marvel, eat, laugh, persevere

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Help Me Pick A Patio?

Spring will be here before we know it and as it gets closer I'm still undecided about the size and substance of my future patio. Garden bloggers - I need your help!

Edited to show links for the current crappy patio and the space I have to work with for the new one. Thanks for the suggestion, Layanne!

What size is your patio? Are you happy with it? What is the appropriate size for a patio? My current crappy broken patio is 16 feet wide and 10 feet deep and it's entirely too small. Is there a perfect size for a patio? I'd like enough space for my barbeque grill, a couple of patio tables, a fire pit or fire place and some planters.

This is the tuff part for me. Each of my options have their advantages and diadvantages so I'm hoping you'll tell me your experience with patios and help me make my decision.

Concrete is the cheapest of my options. I actually like the look of the stamped concrete and the concrete stains can really provide an interesting look. It also seems pretty low maintainence. The bad part about concrete, well, it's concrete. It's not exactly environmentally friendly and at the end of the day you can only do so much to spice up concrete.

Brick pavers are way nicer looking than concrete. These are the patios that catch my eye. But in addition to costing more, there's the sweeping and sweeping and sweeping that is needed to prevent stuff from growing in the cracks. Remember, I'm very lazy. Also not environmentally friendly.

Composite Decking
I love the green-o-meter (this is my new favorite word) rating of the composite wood decking. I know it's not nearly as pretty as cedar or red wood but they last forever. FOREVER, people! I'm not open to the idea of real wood decking because I refuse to do the maintainence. Yes, my mind is made up. The composite decking is probably my favorite choice but it's expensive and my back door is at ground level which doesnt make for a very interesting "wood deck".

So those are my choices. What's your choice and why? I need help here!


  1. I love the pavers....and whats wrong with things growing in the cracks??? :)mmmmmmmmmm creeping thyme........

  2. If you have the option of pavers, go!

    there are all kinds of low growing and fragrant "steppables" to seed in the cracks.

    (plants that do well when used as part of a path)

    plus...if you ever want to move, add on to, or remove the patio, pavers can be taken up and reused.

  3. Gina, I have the brick pavers for my patio and I do get little plants growing up through the cracks, but I don't mind them. My brother has a composite deck and it is a lot of $$ but virtually no maintenance. My one piece of advice is make it big. I thought mine was big, but I wish it were bigger. Good luck!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. We have a patio made of pavers. My husband would go to the lumber yard near us often and get pallets of left over pavers and discontinued pavers, etc. Once he had enough, he made the patio complete with a fire pit. The wall around the patio was made with beach stones he hauled from the beach. You can see the photos on my web site. It is a good size patio and plenty of room for our summer night bonfires.
    I absolutely love it and it is the best thing we ever did. There are also a lot less pesky bugs. I hope the url shows up complete.

  6. Gina: Love the thought of helping you with your patio! Let's see some pictures of the proposed spot for the patio and how much room you have to work with. You can lay it out on graph paper with scaled items such as your grill and table and chairs and that will show you how much room you actually have to move around. I say go bigger than you think 'cause we're all coming over for drinks!

  7. nickie - i love things growing in cracks of OTHER PEOPLE'S GARDENS but I just know mine would end up with purslane or something that would make me wanna kill somebody.

    nancy - i hadnt thought of taking pavers with if I moved. thanks for the suggestions.

    carol - thanks for the suggestion about size. what size is your patio?

    beachgrl - can i borrow your husband??? i saw your pictures your patio is awesome! thanks for stopping by.

    layanne - i've edited the post to show the links from previous posts where you can see pictures of the current patio and space. I think the current patio is about 16 feet wide by 10 feet deep and as you can see I have tons of space to work with. In fact, money is the limiting factor here, not space. in the picture that shows the backyard you'll see the kitchen garden. That is now gone and will be relocated to the new raised beds which will NOT be in the way of the new patio.

  8. Pavers!!! We just built our patio last summer, and it turned out great. There is a product that is now available that you put down when your patio is done. It is called polymeric sand, I believe, and it sifts down between the bricks, and then you wet it, and it sets like concrete. No more weeds!! I have added a link to a picture of my patio as it was being constructed. Good luck!

  9. I wish I could help you but I need a patio too! Good luck busy bee!!

  10. Hi Gina, we have lots of experience with crappy patios here. Everything was crappy and some of it still is.

    If you go to my blog at and click on the label Hardscape you'll see what we did with the crappy patio in front of our house. We love the new pavers and so far nothing has grown in the cracks.

    As for our crappy patio in the back, my dream would be a composite deck. I think a deck feels "warm" while stone and concrete feels "cold". Your temperature zone is similar to ours, I really need the warm more than I need the cold.

    I see that you don't have much height difference between your door and your ground level. We had the same thing at our old house and we ended up loving the ground level deck my husband built there. Sigh...someday we will have one here too.