outdoor space with concrete patio
Photo: Thomas J. Story
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Outdoor Options

Creating a new living area outdoors is a whole lot easier than adding one indoors. Sure, you've got to furnish both. But in the backyard, there's no fussing with walls, ceilings, doors, or windows. All you really need is a floor.

That's why one of the first steps in planning a new patio is deciding which material to put underfoot, typically brick, concrete, stone, or gravel. The surface you choose plays a huge role in establishing not only the style of your patio but also its cost, whether you can build it yourself, and how you'll care for it over the long term.

Follow along to learn which patio material is right for you, get guidance on coming up with a design, and find installation tips for cost-conscious DIYers.

Curving Concrete
Stamped and tinted to resemble slate, this poured concrete patio follows the contours of planting beds. Creating such curves with real stone requires complicated cuts.

Similar to shown: Stamped slate texture on colored concrete, $8 to $12 per square foot installed; concretenetwork.com for a pro near you.
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