A patio should never be designed in isolation without considering the rest of the garden. A well designed garden where all the elements are in scale with each other and the house will connect the house and garden. A balanced design that includes a patio or multiple patios will give the garden coherence and ensure that it is a pleasant, comfortable space in which to spend time.
The most common surface for a patio are paving slabs. There are many different types of paving slab with a wide range of price tags. Steer clear of concrete slabs - they are often more expensive than natural stone, will fade over time and always end up looking fake. Indian Sandstone has dominated the paving slab market for years as it is cheap, natural, widely available and looks good. Cheaper Indian Sandstone is not always the bargain it appears as it is thinner, or poorer quality and more porous causing leaching of the minerals in the mortar onto the top surface of the stone. There are some inexpensive granite slabs currently available that make a wonderful surface only slightly more expensive than Indian Sandstone. The more expensive options are Travertine, York stone, Basalt, and Marble. Polished concrete makes a wonderful contemporary surface for the patio. Resin bound gravel is not only great for driveways, but makes an excellent contribution to the patio paving when combined with other materials for textural contrast.
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