Paver Patio Design Tips – Make the Most of Your Space

Free-form paver patio designs are becoming more and more popular to break up the right angles of today’s suburban building sites.

Free-form paver patio designs are becoming more and more popular to break up the right angles of today’s suburban building sites.

Paver patio designs that don’t make maximum use of available space are the biggest complaint professional designs deal with when coming up with a workable hardscape plan. Backyards in the Madison WI area come in every shape and size imaginable. A paver patio can enhance every space. Or, it can be a disappointment when done poorly. Advanced, common sense planning is the key difference.

What size fits your need? What size fits your property? Like the nursery rhyme, too big can be as bad as too small. You’re looking for “just right.” Begin with a quick list of what you want to do on your new patio:

  • Relax with friends – you’ll need room for furniture

  • Cook and eat outdoors – space for a grill, table and chairs

  • Late night fires – local regulation dictate how close a fire pit can be to building

  • Just kick-back and enjoy peace and quiet – structures for shade?

A professional paver patio design will often center upon one of these elements and the creation will be built around the most valued use for the space. In most cases, there are rules of thumb to determine the minimum space each of these specialties requires.

TIP FROM A PRO – Don’t forget “walking around room” when you develop a hardscape plan. Furniture, grills and appliances take space but you need room to move about and relax, too. Add an extra 2-3 feet of patio around your furnishings. Better to be too big at first (you can add amenities) than too small and cramped.

Bring the sounds and sight of running water into your landscape with a unique design that fits anywhere.

Bring the sounds and sight of running water into your landscape with a unique design that fits anywhere.

Paver Patio Designs Using Built-in Elements

When creating living spaces with concrete or brick pavers, you have the option to build permanent structures to provide for several of your daily needs. An overhead shade feature can replace a patio umbrella, for example. Three of the most popular build-ins are:

Permanent seating – especially useful when you have limited space for furnishings, build-in seating can double as a safety structure around the perimeter of the patio. Permanent seating is ideal for Madison’s climate because it’s available on a nice winter day when furniture has been stored. Additional costs are weighed against years of use and convenience.

  1. Outdoor kitchen/grilling area – creating space for an outdoor kitchen and a built-in grill requires attention to detail – appropriate location with clear path to indoor kitchen, safely away from main gathering areas. Built-in cooking areas can take away from the overall space available because of the basic square footage required – a combination of portable grill and permanent prep and serving area is a good compromise.

  2. Popular fire features – the attraction of flames is undeniable and a fire pit or fire feature can be a wonderful focal point of outdoor living space. It adds to the days each year your hardscape plan is viable. There are gas and wood-burning options to consider.

TIP FROM A PRO – Dane County has severe restrictions on how close a fire feature can be to an existing building. Be sure to check on state and local building codes and restrictions before signing off on your paver patio design. And, consider the prevailing winds before installing a fire pit – wood smoke has a special aroma that isn’t always appreciated when blown into a neighbor’s open windows.

Put Your Hardscape Plan On Paper

The days of the square concrete patio are numbered. While squares and rectangles will always be popular choices for paver patio designs, there are more creative options. The shape of your new patio will be determined by several elements:

  • The overall shape and size of the property

  • How you plan to use the space most often

  • The architecture of your home

  • Other elements in your backyard – pool, garden structures, etc.

  • Your personal lifestyle options

Review the basics…

              Square Paver Patio Designs – still the most common and the easiest to install. The least creative, squares are practical and cost-effective. Right angle corners fit a formal and contemporary decorating style and are excellent for large groups of furniture and people.

              Round Patios – When you have a special focal point, a round design can bring attention to it quickly. It may be a table and chairs, a fountain, fire pit or another special piece. Variations of round patios are also offering more creative opportunities – half-circle designs can expand existing square structures to soften a hardscape plan. Rounded patios blend nicely into natural landscape plans.

              Free-form Patios – characterized by broad, free-flowing curves or sharp angles, free-form designs offer a perfect canvas for creativity. They are one-of-a-kind. It takes both a creative mind and attention to details to make these artistic elements work in restricted spaces and conventional backyards.

Pick the Right Pavers

There are a host of paver options available for unique and versatile patio designs. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages depending upon location and intended use. As your paver patio design comes together, consider which of these pavers best suits your overall hardscape plan – take into consideration walkways, retaining walls and paths in addition to the basic patio surface.

Concrete Pavers – Rapidly becoming the most popular material for paver patio design. Advantages include:

  • A variety of patterns, shapes and sizes with more becoming available all the time

  • Sizes and shapes to accommodate curves and angles

  • An expanding palette of color options

  • Permeable so water won’t pond on the surface

  • Durable – with basic maintenance they will last decades

  • Low-maintenance

Disadvantages include:

  • Proper installation requires excavation of the site

  • If site isn’t prepared properly pavers can settle and become uneven

  • May require sealing periodically

Brick Pavers – for a classic looks. Advantages include:

  • Rustic, historic appeal – ideal for early American, classic architecture

  • Rich colors – many colors available, especially when using reclaimed bricks

  • Durable surface

Among the disadvantages of using brick are:

  • Can be slippery when wet from rain or snow

  • Can shift with seasonal temperature changes – especially when laid over a sand base

  • Heaving in winter can cause cracking, chipping

Poured Concrete – once the standard. A versatile choice. Advantages include:

  • Almost limitless shapes, sizes and colors

  • Can be stamped and textured

  • Most are slip-resistant

  • Durable under extreme weather conditions

  • Little maintenance required

Disadvantages include:

  • Can crack and chip

  • Surface can be damaged by chemical cleaners and deicers

  • Not permeable so water can build up on the surface

  • Poured in place, it must cure before it can be used

Call Upon Professionals for Creative Spaces

Call Proscapes LLC today and learn how a creative landscape design comes together specifically for your space and lifestyle. Contact us at (608) 244-6464 or email us for a professional’s approach to hardscape plans and paver patio designs customized for your Madison WI home.