A well designed patio is an extension of your home and is ideal for entertaining or just relaxing with your family.
Like any other space that you live in, determine first what your requirements are.
If you do like to regularly entertain then consider creating an outdoor kitchen area that can be protected from any bad weather.
A built in fridge and barbecue grill are likely to be as utilized as your indoor kitchen so justifying the cost need not be a big problem.
Once you know what activities you want to use your new patio for, size will become obvious, although actual available outdoor space will bring its own confines. Never skimp as it will be a big disappointment later if you have insufficient room to maneuver.
Choice of surface will depend on practicalities and your budget; concrete paving slabs are reasonable and come in different styles and shapes.
Gravel and pebbles are an option although not very comfortable and stones tend to be dragged inside which can be messy. Brickwork is better for smaller areas or alternatively look good edged around slabs or gravel.
Real stone tiles are expensive but a good investment, as they will last for very many years. Clay tiling is also an interesting choice and you can even choose a combination of several materials although too many will be a bit too busy on the eye.
Once all the hard landscaping is competed it will take a careful choice of plants to soften the look and it is usually better to get species that are quite low maintenance, unless you are an avid gardener with the time to care for them all.
Raised beds around a patio can make good seating areas and also be planted with herbs that can be used on the broiler.
If a lot of your entertaining will continue into the night time, lighting can really make a patio work for you, every hour of the day. Decide on your lighting requirements before any slabs are laid because all the cables etc will be better hidden underneath.
Outdoor patio lighting has become very sophisticated these days, so take a good look at what is available and work out what is best for your needs.
A small water feature could be nice and have enough patio shades to provide shelter from the heat of the sun. Seating and furniture also come in a variety of looks and there will be something for everyone’s individual tastes.
It might be worth having a neutral base with cushions and throws that cane be changed occasionally for a new look, when you feel like a change.