What you need to know before building a patio

If you’re considering building a patio in your backyard, there are plenty of factors to think about from finding the right location to maintenance requirements. In this guide, we’ll share with you the top things you need to decide upon before you create this outdoor space.

The best location

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Landart’s timber patio partly covered by a pergola out in the garden

If you’re limited on outdoor space, there’s probably not much to think about when it comes to location. But if you have room to move, establishing the best location for your outdoor patio is important. This is where a landscape designer can be invaluable. If you are playing around with your options before speaking with a professional or thinking of taking on the project yourself, here are a few things to consider:

  1. How do you plan to use the patio?

Is it for dining or a place to lounge? If you’re wanting to entertain, for convenience you’ll want to have the patio located closer to your house and/or outdoor cooking facilities.

If you want a place to lounge, making your patio a destination by locating it within the garden could be a great solution. Consider the type of amenities and furniture you want to add to your outdoor space: fire pit, bbq, lounge, day beds etc.

  1. What is your aspect?

If you’re fortunate enough to have a view, you’ll want to maximise this by locating the patio in an area that takes full advantage of the aspect. In the case where you don’t have a view, consider how you can improve the outlook with soft landscape or a built element such as a stone feature wall.

  1. Is the site level?

If you’re on a tight budget, ensuring the area where you locate the outdoor patio is level will help reduce the overall costs of the build. Also having sufficient access will minimise the additional outlay.

The material

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La Roche Limestone natural stone paved outdoor entertaining area

When building a patio, materials should are an essential consideration.

In smaller outdoor spaces, taking cues from the architecture can help create a more cohesive space. For those with larger backyards, you have more flexibility to play with your choice of materials. However, it’s worth picking up on some of the details to help create that visual connection such as the colour palette.

There are a few common materials you’ll find in outdoor patios. Natural stone is a popular choice for its durability and extensive range of types, sizes colours and textures. You’ll find timber is commonly used thanks to its natural aesthetic, as well as brick, concrete and gravel.

Obviously, our preference for outdoor patios is natural stone pavers. As a hard surface, natural stone ensures longevity, works with a variety of design styles, requires little maintenance and can be walked on with high heels (very important for those who like to entertain).

The key considerations when deciding on the right material to use when builidng a patio include:

  • The style of your home’s architecture and interiors
  • The durability of the material
  • The cost of the product and labour
  • If ongoing maintenance is required
  • How much foot traffic you expect
  • Whether you want a hard surface for children to play

The size

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Timber patio with cooking facilities designed by Hare + Klein in collaboration with Harrison’s Landscaping

The size of your outdoor patio comes down to how big your area is and how you plan to use the space. If you like to dine outside or entertain a large crowd, your patio will need to be big enough for a large dining table as well as room to move around it.

Also, consider how much of the garden’s footprint you want to take up with hard surfacing. Do you want to extend the patio from boundary to boundary or to have it surrounded by soft landscape?

Professional or DIY

Are you thinking about building a patio yourself? Deciding on whether you engage a professional to undertake the work or do it yourself comes down to a few things: budget, time, your skills and the complexity of the project.

While many may brave taking on a simple outdoor patio build, it’s particularly worth considering engaging a professional if there is a lot of topography. If you need to make level changes or are building a raised patio, you’ll need to consider structural integrity, drainage and building regulations.

Permit requirements and building codes

Building permits and codes required to create an outdoor patio will typically depend on where you live, the size and cost, and the materiality of your patio.

You will most likely require a permit if you are building a sizeable deck or if you’re planning on enclosing the patio with a roofed pergola. If you live in a heritage area or if you’re creating a freestanding patio, you may need a building permit.

Best to inquire with your local council as to what building permits and codes need to be met before you start building a patio.

Feature image: Quaint patio area with Darwin outdoor furniture.