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How to Choose the Best Flooring for Your Patio

Smarten up your patio and increase the sense of space with flooring that works beautifully with your home and garden

Houzz Ireland Contributor Patricia Tyrrell is an award winning landscape and garden… More

Choosing patio flooring can be daunting, from finding a material that works with your garden and chimes with your interior style, to designing a pleasing layout. Before you start, it’s helpful to consider the style of your property. The most harmonious exterior spaces tend to work best when the design of the patio reflects the style, materials and colours of the local buildings and echoes the materials and character of the surrounding landscape. Bear in mind, however, that your choice of patio flooring should be kept simple, as it’s the foundation for other design elements. Browse these ideas to get you started.

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Make connections
Simple patterns incorporating materials used elsewhere in the garden can create a unified and harmonious design, and can also make the patio area feel larger.

Here, the mellow brick of the wall has been continued into the paving, while pots and garden furniture have been carefully chosen to pick up the colour of the brick.

If your garden is quite small, a circular patio can help to create the illusion of space and will feel larger than a square or rectangular design.

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Play with size and texture
Natural stone is available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Combining different sizes of paving in the same or similar shades provides contrast and texture. It can help to define the functions of various areas of a paved space, too. Here, larger slabs have been used for the patio, while a sprinkling of gravel defines the outdoor dining area.

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Warm it up with brick
Brick works well in smaller-scale gardens and can be laid in different patterns to lend interest and variety. The colour and lines of the traditional brick flooring harmonise well with the contemporary decking area and give it solidity. The careful composition of colours has been considered right down to the fire pit, which picks up on the darker tones of the brick.

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Let nature in
Want a patio and a garden but don’t have enough room for both? A simple solution is to encourage the plants in your patio area to overgrow. Additionally, by allowing space for plants to creep between the crevices, you can create a beautiful space that’s surrounded by nature.

Just ensure when laying the paving slabs that the stone is evenly placed to accommodate some patio furniture.

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Blur lines
Polished concrete has become a popular material for kitchen floors, worktops and even wall cladding. Help to blur the lines between inside and out by continuing the concrete flooring onto your patio area. The sense of space will visually be greatly increased and, on warm days, indoors and outdoors will become one extended room.

This idea isn’t just confined to polished concrete – any material that’s suitable for indoors and out can be used to similar effect.

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Embrace the beauty of concrete
Concrete is a beautiful and tactile surface that looks perfect in contemporary settings. A malleable material, it can be used for seating, walls and paving to create striking, durable and minimalist spaces.

Here, simple strips filled with gravel have been inserted into the concrete expanse, not only dissecting the space, but adding interest and aiding drainage.

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Change direction
In this paved area, strips of limestone have been laid, in panels, running in alternate directions. This helps to break up the monotony of large areas of paving.

Strong colours in the building have been matched in the surrounding materials and in the patio flooring. The variation in direction coupled with the strong, pale lines between the panels helps to reduce the linear nature of this garden and link other elements, such as the windows, walls and patio door frame.

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Embrace local materials
If you live in a natural and rugged setting, why not match it with some rough-hewn, local paving and create an area borrowed from nature.

Look around and consider the natural vernacular. This could be a particular kind of stone, a local brick or even a type of timber. Choosing an indigenous material will look beautiful and will be more sustainable, too.

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Choose man-made and minimalist
Pre-cast materials are versatile, durable and easy to work with. They look particularly good with the clean lines of modern homes and are available in a vast array of sizes, shapes, colours and textures.

The combination of grasses, flowers and herbs adds colour and scent to this low-maintenance and minimalist space.

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Consider the detail
Once you’ve decided on materials, it’s important to consider other aspects of your patio design. For instance, think about the colour of the pointing between the slabs or bricks and the width of the joints.

Also try to match new flooring with existing features. Here, the paving slabs chime with the original stone steps to create a seamless connection with the rest of the garden. Detail is key!

Which type and style of flooring have you chosen for your patio? Are you happy with it? Share your thoughts and photos in the Comments below.

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