Patios – Surfaces


I have found the design and installation of patios to be one of the more challenging and rewarding aspects of landscaping. Designed to provide privacy, intimacy and beauty, there are few more delightful presences in a landscape than a well-conceived patio. Few items in any landscape carry such personal impact and complexity. When one considers the amount of time homeowners might find themselves spending outdoors – and, let’s be clear – many of these folks have literally never faced that choice before, it becomes  a “dream landscape”  for their very home and life and therefore more than a bit special.  😉  Many of these folks are newly-retired or will be, many are younger folks than that, but who have dreamed of a garden and wondrous patio and back yard. But the majority I have worked with – with some billionaire exceptions – are “just folks” who have achieved much.

I always depend on some feedback in design, is what I am saying. Asking clients what they really want is the shortest line to satisfaction. Interpretation is huge, also, so I always try and mine the wealth of ideas of the person paying the bill.  In the end, once a design is close to completed, there is another factor as well………. I literally plan, sometimes, for them to discover something they had no dream might happen. There are these very  cool projects where client gratitude can literally be off the charts. Truly, even those installing these landscapes often look at them when they’re done and go: “Wow!”

The elements to consider at the beginnings are vast. Structure, shape, color, texture – all come under intense scrutiny and all are way too available. People, including myself, often get confused simply owing to the increasingly wide variety of suface choices.


(click images to enlarge)


Wildly different surfaces can constitute a floor of a patio and these bring a strange and now-exotic range of choices. One can now choose from plain poured-in-place cement, to a more extravagantly-colored finish like the mottled and primitive-looking color of the patio above.  A furthur example of a great Stamped Concrete surface, colored and textured by professionals:


Or one can have fresh cement  sprinkled with “seeding” and exposed rock color in a cool monolithic sort of presence called “exposed aggregate”, as in the picture below.


One can opt for brick pavers, sandstone and other fabulously gorgeous stones acting as the floor – complete with riotous and hidden secrets from everyone’s private back yards, such as your very own personal swamp!

bogHere is some stone, cut and fit like a puzzle yet nice and flat and congruent with the overall theme.

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Or the secret supply of “Infinity”, with this bizarre pool designed to simply disappear and the court yard around it:

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From extravagant to purely functional, so many different things are possible. Circles inside of squares!


Placid, rough-hewn “tumbled pavers” supply an antiqued look to a freshly-paved patio.

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Fed from a walkway encircling this grand home, this patio is sufficiently enclosed to feel nice and private yet wide open to a mountain view at the same time, to the West. In a sense, it is possible to “have it all”, from relatively small rocks spewing the trickling sound of water to vast magnificence during the day.

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It has a rather “Big Brother” set of boulders at the other end of the patio.

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And a look from above, the patio situated to the lower right in this picture, behind the wall –

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All patios can be instructive as we take items from each which we find appealing to ourselves. These hold much intellectual and intuitive curiosity as we begin selecting our own particular wish lists. This is all good –

6 thoughts on “Patios – Surfaces

  1. Steve, This is a great website. It has been a long time since we have seen you but it seems like you are doing well. Please stop in or drop an email sometime.

  2. Hey, Dmitri!! Great to see you, Still at it with DesignOutdoor eh? Say hi to everyone for me.

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