A Brief History
In 2019, if there is any addition to your house that will increase its value, aesthetic, and overall enjoyment, it is a brand new patio. If you have got a nice yard, the amount of joy and time one can derive from just having a place to hang out is immense. Patios are one of those details that one only thinks about years down the line, but if you have got the technical know-how and the means to do it, you can even build one yourself. Few things are more satisfying than knowing you build that thing with your own two hands, but before you start laying down the foundations and buying up lumber, there are still a few things to keep in mind.
Here are the 5 things you absolutely need to know before building your own patio.
How much time will you be spending?
The first thing you need to know before you even build a patio is: how much time will you be spending out there? Realistically, building a patio is a big investment in time and money. You may be retired or a weekend warrior. It does not matter. Will you be wanting to use it during the winter months? If so, it is a good idea to get a patio heater to make sure everyone is warm. Do you have a rainy or a monsoon season that would warrant a temporary or permanent enclosure of your patio?
Where will you put it?
The next thing you need to know before anything is where you’re going to put your patio. If you have got a smaller lot, you know exactly where it’s going to be. But the larger your lot is, the more options you have. Get a layout of your yard or lot and draw up the plans relative to the space allotted.
If you’re going to be digging things up and installing large pieces, your local government will probably want to know about it. Yes, it is your property, and yes, you can do what you want with it, but it is best to be safe regarding these matters. Permits are a thing, and if they’re violated, someone can legally get you to take things down. That’s no fun for anybody.
Take into account the kind of weather you will be getting. You may be browsing designs online from a town or city that experiences the exact opposite of what you have. Most people are going to go for wood. Wood is beautiful, but it wears easily. Spend some time figuring out what you are going to make it out of and how you’re going to ensure that your investment in time and effort isn’t wiped away or blistered by the elements.
Understand that your patio does have a shelf life. This means that no matter how much you maintain it—which you still should, there will be some imperfections over the years. In the contracting world, there’s an old adage: there’s concrete that’s cracked and concrete that will crack.
These are just a few things to consider before you build. Hopefully it made you think a bit before putting in the investment. But regardless, the patio is an amazing piece and a beautiful addition to your home. And if done right, it will last for years and years to come.
Question for students (and subscribers): Does your house have a patio? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Beckstrom, Robert and The Editors of the National Gardening Association. Decks and Patios For Dummies. For Dummies, 1998.