It may be true that the Spanish-American or Spanish architecture may have popularized the patio, but the ‘patio’ is actually a Latin term. It comes from the word patere, which roughly translates to “to lie open.” Now when it comes to patio surface materials, your traditional option is wood or concrete.
However, there’s no rule that you should only use those two materials when it comes to making your patio. In this article, you will learn some of the best patio or driveway surface material alternatives to make your patio stand out. Once your patio is complete why not make it really stand out by putting a focus on your firepit area. We have a great article on how to build an outdoor fire pit if you want to check that out afterwards.
5 Patio Surface Alternatives
When thinking about patio materials, gravel is perhaps not the first thing that would be on people’s minds. Perhaps most people assume that a patio has to be a solid surface and uniform. However, it’s your patio, so you are free to use gravel if you choose to do so. In fact, you’ll likely end up with a nice patio that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Gravel is generally an inexpensive material and easily accessible. Furthermore, installing gravel is a lot easier compared to other materials, and some regular people have done it without the help of contractors.
The fantastic thing about having a gravel patio is that your drainage is excellent. There’s no need to worry about pooling water in your patio after a rainfall. You also don’t have to worry too much about weeds growing in your patio because gravel is excellent at preventing weeds from proliferating in your area. We also have covered how to make DIY organic pesticides if you want to set out plants on your patio and keep the bugs away.
If you want your patio to be a real eye-catcher, then using clay bricks as your primary surface material may be the answer. Clay bricks feature a classic look, which often leads to a gorgeous-looking patio area. Having clay bricks may be a bit on the costlier side. However, if the look, feel, and appeal are your primary deciding factor, it’s hard to make a mistake with clay bricks.
As mentioned above, clay bricks are a bit more expensive, but you can lower the cost a bit by using reclaimed bricks. Furthermore, re-using the bricks is also an environmentally-friendly option.
You also have plenty of options when it comes to the installation method. You can use a mortar to keep the clay bricks in place. However, this is not really necessary. You can also place the bricks on top of a sand bed. You also have plenty of design options if you want something out of the ordinary. You can have the bricks shaped into different geometric shapes or patterns.
Another aesthetically pleasing patio surface material is the flagstone. And, just like the clay bricks, this material is a bit on the costlier side of the spectrum. You have a lot of flexibility with the flagstone as the market offers plenty of varieties when it comes to quality, color, style, and hardiness. In other words, you’ll have no problem finding the right one that will fit that perfect patio you have in your mind.
One thing to keep in mind is that working with flagstone is difficult. It’s one of those materials that you need to hire contractors who list that service like Terraform Driveways who seem to cover all types of driveways. Not only do the professionals have the expertise to install it properly, but they also have the necessary equipment to ensure that the job finishes in a timely manner. Flagstone is challenging to work with because it’s very heavy. Hence, you really need the help of professionals.
You also need to do a bit of research when it comes to the specific kind of flagstone. Certain types of flagstone work better for cold weather, while some are at home in a hot environment. Don’t be afraid to seek out advice. The last thing you want is to make a mistake and end up with a flagstone that is not suitable or recommended for your situation.
Using tiles for your patio is another excellent alternative option. Tiles feel pleasant to walk on. Also, they are easy to clean. Keep in mind that tiles are usually just a patio surface material, and it’s placed on top of a different material that will act as a base.
Many homeowners choose to use concrete slabs as the base. It’s an excellent option as it’s readily available and relatively inexpensive. Installing the tiles on top of a concrete slab is also easy to work with.
Tiles are also very versatile. You have plenty of options when it comes to visual elements like color and patterns. In fact, some newer tiles will even feature different textures.
The aesthetic traits of tiles are also excellent. If you want to create an aura of a tidy-looking patio, then tiles are a great option. On top of that, tiles are affordable. In other words, you can have something that looks great, affordable, and a lot easier to install compared to other materials like flagstone.
Cut stone is also known as stone tile. As the name suggests, cut stones are made from stone that is then cut into a tile shape. Because of how it’s shaped, it can then be used as a patio surface material more easily.
Perhaps the best thing about cut stones is that you can choose from different types. You have the option of selecting something luxurious such as marble. Or, if you want something more practical, there’s also sandstone. These look great when you have rustic outdoor furniture made from pallets.
A cut stone can be an affordable option or an expensive one. Generally, it depends on the type of stone you want to use. Like the example above, marble is usually costly as it needs to be handled and installed correctly. If you are working with a tight budget, then sandstone cut stone will easily fit the bill, and it comes with its distinct aesthetic charm.
Wrapping It All Up
If you don’t want to go with the traditional route for your patio surface material, then you have the option of using gravel, clay bricks, flagstone, tile, or cut stone. Bear in mind that you are not limited to these alternative options. In fact, your options are so plentiful that it’s difficult to fit them all in a single article. For now, the topics mentioned above should help point you in the right direction.