Patios, from the Spanish word for the courtyard of a house or building, offer a fair amount of freedom to homeowners thanks to their versatility. They can add character, value, and a unique twist to a home.

Not only can they be designed to take on virtually any shape, but they can be constructed using a variety of different materials, such as concrete, pavers, stone, tile, brick, pebbles, rock, or pea gravel, all of which offer their own unique benefits. Here’s what you should know about some of the most popular materials so that you can choose the perfect one for your patio design.

  1. Concrete: Concrete is made from a mixture of cement, sand, and gravel. The liquid-like consistency allows it to be formed into any shape before it hardens. The durability of concrete makes it a very economical choice that requires little maintenance.
  2. Stone: Stone is great for creating a natural look for your patio. Because stone patios are built by collaging smaller pieces, they can also be molded to fit almost any shape. As for what type of stone is used for the construction, it is recommended that you use local stone to make it more environmentally friendly, and to better blend in with the surrounding area. The different options can include flagstone, slate, blue stone, and limestone.
  3. Brick: Brick patios can create a very old world look considering they have been one of the main materials used in home construction for hundreds of years. The bricks used in patio construction are actually less porous than standard bricks so as to avoid cracks due to freezing water and other natural degradation. Rather than the typical red bricks your likely used to seeing, patio bricks can actually come in a variety of colors, such as tan, black, and a number of other shades.
  4. Pavers: In recent years, patio pavers have become a popular option. These pieces can be constructed into a variety of shapes, colors, and paver patterns. They can be made to mimic other materials like natural stone or brick pavers as well. Pavers are modular segments of the same thickness, designed to make placement quick and easy, and to save money.
  5. Tile: Similar to concrete and brick pavers, tiles can be constructed in a variety of shapes that fit seamlessly together. They are available in ceramic, porcelain, or travertine tiles. The patterns created by tiles make for a very distinct patio style.

    Any one of these materials can make for a great outdoor addition. And because patios are built on an eight to 12-inch base, they will last for many years to come. Whether you’re looking at tiles, concrete, or brick pavers, at least one material will be able to suit your needs.