Building the perfect patio for your home

New home buyers are looking outdoors when house hunting, so having a great deck or patio is important when trying to sell. They’re also great if you’re staying put.

When designing your outdoor living space, don’t be afraid to dream big – landscaping, furniture, shade areas… everything. Just make sure all of it is properly supported.

“When it comes to patios the most important part is the subgrade – the part you don’t even see,” said Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks. “You want to make sure your foundation is well compacted and grades away from your house so you don’t end up with water pooling on your new patio. This is what will make your investment last a long time.”

With a solid foundation in place, you can get creative with look and style. A good designer will use materials that complement your home and neighborhood.

“Many people are spending more time outside enjoying family and friends, and a patio can be a great investment,” added Hicks, “but, what many people don’t realize is that it can also be done on a budget. Consider options like concrete or crushed stone or even brick can be a very economical choice.”

“My strong guidance would be when you enter into this thought process, be open to various materials. If you are speaking with a talented designer, then you will likely get a couple of guiding tips on what surface may work best at your place,” landscape architect Randy Sorrell said.

Providing shade on your patio is also important. Pergolas and large trees are great design elements, but less expensive options are available.

“If you really need substantial shade, the cantilever umbrella is unbelievable! These things are 11, 12, 13 feet in diameter, and it just creates an entire outdoor room of shade. I love ’em,” added Sorrell.

If you plan to be in your home a long time but can’t afford all the amenities you want at once, Angie recommends spreading out the project – and the cost – over time in two or three phases. The key is finding a quality landscape architect you trust who will be around for the duration.