When it comes to your landscape, the term hardscaping refers to anything inorganic that is used within the design. This could include pathways, benches, patios, statues, and retaining walls, for example. A patio is often the most used and most eye-catching area in the landscape, especially if you entertain a lot. The following are a few options that you have for hardscaping this area.

Cement Versus Pavers

Your first decision is what material to use for the patio paving. For most people, the options boil down to either pavers or poured concrete.

Concrete is durable and quick to install. You can have it tinted to a color other than gray, and it can be stamped so it resembles bricks or paving stones. The main drawback is if a crack does form, any patches tend to be noticeable.

Pavers come in a nearly infinite array of designs and colors. You can go for a slate flagstone look, cottage style cobbles, or even brickwork. Pavers are usually dry fit with a special type of sand between them, which does have to be replaced and resealed periodically. A major benefit, though, is if you get a crack, you can simply replace the offending paver.

Planters and Walls

Permanent low walls with integrated planters can help make the patio bridge the design of your home into the natural look of the rest of your landscaping.

The low walls, especially if they are designed with wide tops, can double as seating or an area to arrange outdoor decor. Generally, you want to make these walls out of the same material as either the patio or the house. For example, a cobblestone patio can look nice with dry-fit cobble walls. If you have a concrete patio and brick house, a brick wall may be more attractive.

As for planters, these can be integrated into the walls or you may want to place them spaced around the patio. One interesting idea is to construct a stone planter around each of the supports for the patio cover. Vines can be planted inside each planter and trained to grow up the support.

Built-In Cooking Options

Finally, consider some options to make your patio an entertaining hub, such as a built-in grill or fire pit.

Built-in grills, typically made of brick, can feature little more than a cooktop or you can make them more involved. Integrate a stove or pizza oven, complete with chimney, as well as a worktop for preparing the food when you cook outdoors.

Fire pits built into the patio, complete with a seating surround, can turn your patio into a three-season or even four-season entertaining hub. Fire pits are best integrated into patios with no overhead cover.

Contact a hardscape contractor in your area to learn more.