Patio Materials and Surfaces
The array of choices available for patio materials can be a bit overwhelming. We'll try to help simplify the decision-making process so you can focus on designing the patio of your dreams.
Your first consideration in choosing patio materials is what you'll be using the patio for most. If you're like most folks, the answer is "general outdoor entertaining." This usually includes dining, which means you'll want a solid, flat surface and should consider patio materials like brick, cast pavers, or flat stone like slate. Uneven surfaces like fieldstone or gravel aren't recommended (unless you want to make eating and sitting comfortably more challenging).
The surface of the patio is mostly related to intended use and aesthetics—but you'll also need to determine how the foundation for the patio will be constructed. This will determine both the slope of the patio and how level it is. To ensure these elements are correctly configured, you'll need to excavate a level area, then install a gravel base topped with sand. Once this base is sloped and smooth, the surface, whether poured as concrete or installed as stones or pavers, can be installed on top.
See also: Deck and Patio Design Ideas