21 Awesome Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

This article will discuss some of the best landscaping ideas for front yards that you can implement. Of course, you don’t have to do them all, or any of them for that matter. They’re here to get your mind moving, to give you an idea of the scope of possibility and to serve as a catalyst to your own creativity. Even if you are getting someone to design your landscape for you, you will want to have ideas of your own, just so at the very least you will know what you like.

Front Yard Landscape Design Ideas and Generation

  1. One of the best things you can do to get your creativity flowing is to see what others have done with their front yards. A quick drive around your neighborhood or other parts of your town can accomplish this; you can even snap some photos to bring home (as long as you aren’t obnoxious about it). The benefit here is that you can see what people with similar home designs and property sizes have done with their yards; plus, if you really like how someone did something, you can ask them for advice or for the number of their landscaper. You can also see what supplies may be readily available in your area. However, don’t get ‘stuck’ into what your neighbors and fellows townspeople have done – you may want to try something totally unique, and fitting in with what everyone else has done and limiting yourself to that worldview won’t help you.
  2. Thus, a great way to get past this is to find some front yard landscape photos or pictures in magazines, books, on TV shows, and on the Internet. Having this supply of ‘foreign’ ideas can really help stimulate your noggin; the only drawback here is that the homes you’ll be seeing in the images will have a totally different design and specifications than your home. (You can also use this technique to get backyard landscaping ideas, though that is a different topic altogether!)
  3. The main objectives with front yard design flow around a few things: curb appeal, creating an inviting nature, and allowing for people to come and go as necessary. For instance, you’ll want to have the general ‘skeleton’ of the yard, in the form of your driveway, walkway, stoop, etc., formed or at least planned before you can figure out your landscape design. (More on the hardscape in a bit.)
  4. Note that if you have a limited budget, you can do a cheap front yard landscape design without sacrificing the beauty or uniqueness of your project. This is because you really won’t be spending much time in the front yard, and most people who will be looking at the front yard will not be spending time gawking at it. Thus, you want something that’s simple, effective, easy to put together and maintain, and easy to navigate. Beauty and value are of course important, but as long as you have the first members of this list, you’ll be satisfied with your project. The topic of front yards is relatively easy, then, when compared to backyards – since we spend a bunch of time there, such as in and around a pool, we’ll want to make sure that we’ve created something truly beautiful and functional. However, that investment of time and energy and money can wait until another day and another article.
  5. As part of your design, you may want to come up with some kind of “theme” as a general guiding system to help you design your project. Your design and theme will depend largely on the climate and general appearance of your space, but you’ll still have some freedom to explore different ideas if that’s your game. For instance, tropical themes may work well in lush environments, while desert themes may work better in drier and more arid locales.
  6. Don’t be afraid that you’ll have limited freedom if you have a small front yard. In fact, you may have more freedom, because you won’t have to maintain a huge amount of green life and can focus on really getting the major details right instead of worrying if all the major components are in place.
  7. Work with what you’ve got. If you have an interesting or unique feature of the surrounding terrain, or even a body of water to play with, you can either a) downplay and try to hide the feature or b) bring it out and make it a focal point.
  8. A good general point: make sure your yard and garden has some kind of focal point. This is perhaps the most important front yard landscape idea – you want to draw your eye somewhere, and you wan tot draw it to where you want it to go. The alternatives – the eye finds nothing to look at, or it focuses on something ugly – are to be avoided at all costs!

Creating Your Green Space

  1. The first major decision you’ll have to make is how much ‘green space,’ or lawn, you’ll want to keep and maintain. Note that the more you have of the lawn, the more you’ll have to maintain. You may also consider working in designs for automatic irrigation systems or sprinklers so that you can at least keep that part of the maintenance pretty easy for you. If you need new grass, you can either use grass seed or lay down sod. The type of grass is up to you as well, though you may be limited in your choices due to local ordinances and the like.
  2. Next, sketch out the areas where you’d like to add some special landscaping touches – your flowerbeds, planters with beautiful flowers, areas for new shrubs and trees, and places to put other interesting objects (such as bird baths, water fountains, statues, and more). Don’t forget to add curves wherever possible, especially if your walkways allow you to do this. Curves are generally pleasing to the eye and a bit more ‘artistic’ than ordered straight lines. I don’t want to denigrate the straight line though, as it has a certain beauty to it all its own.
  3. Note that picking certain kinds of flowers and plants to fill in your beds and planters may require certain obligations of maintenance and upkeep. For instance, some plants may need frequent watering, while others won’t need much attention at all. Thus, make sure you find out all the properties of your flora before you go ahead and install them – you can save yourself a lot of hassle!
  4. Consider having ‘mobile’ landscaping in your front yard. This means using pots and planters and other containers that you can move, mix, and match at will. This will allow you to be flexible and adaptable with your landscaping as your mood and taste changes.
  5. There are two major kinds of plants that you can use: annuals and perennials. Annuals will only last you for one year, but they will give you an amazing burst of color and beauty for your yard during that season. Having to replace them year after year is both good and bad. The bad side of it is that you’ll have to remake your front yard landscape every year, but this can also be seen as a good thing, because then you’ll be able to ‘remake’ your landscape every year. This can allow you to experiment and play around with different landscape features.
  6. Perennials will last you for many years – each year they will bloom anew. These will be more expensive than annuals, but they will be the ‘centerpieces’ or focal points of your yard for years to come. Thus, it pays to choose carefully and make your big investments here. Once they’re planted, you’re stuck with them unless you want to go through the hassle of removing them. Thus, your best bet is probably to get a good mix between these two kinds of plants.
  7. Don’t forget to consider the kinds of topsoil and mulch you can use for your yard. You could also use landscaping rocks as well. Each will have their own benefits and drawbacks, so make sure you do your research before you commit to one or the other.

Some Warnings and Other Notes

  1. Note that some landscape installations will require more maintenance than others. Large lawns, for instance, have to be watered, fertilized, and mowed and trimmed regularly in order to keep it look healthy and beautiful. Huge flowerbeds, on the other hand, will require their own maintenance, such as periodic weeding and trimming to keep things looking nice. Thus, don’t just think about the short term benefits of whatever material you’re using – think also about the long term costs, i.e. how much time and energy you’ll have to sink into upkeep. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to put in effort into maintaining your front yard, that will significantly affect your landscape choices.
  2. Don’t go overboard. You don’t want your home to be absolutely overwhelmed by your landscaping. Sometimes less is more – having the perfectly selected or designed element can be much better than have dozens of different things in a complex arrangement.

Other Options and Accessories for Front Yard Landscaping

  1. Even though we are talking about front yard landscaping ideas here, we don’t want to forget the other important aspect of your design that goes hand in hand with the landscape – your front yard hardscape design! Your driveway, walkways, patios, stoops, retaining walls, and other stone accessories to your yard are perhaps just as important as the landscaping itself, since this hardscape gives shape and structure to your yard and interacts with the organic components in interesting ways. Thus, consider using concrete pavers or other hardscape materials as part of your total project – walkways are a particularly good use for this material, as are garden pavers and landscape pavers interspersed through your organics.
  2. Another thing to think about is using stepping stones as a pathway through various parts of your yard – more information on different kinds of stepping stone can be found in articles here: Large Stepping Stones, Round Stepping Stones, and Slate Stepping Stones.
  3. If you’ve spent this much time and money and energy on making your beautiful front yard, why not increase its curb appeal by adding outdoor lighting? This will make it so that everyone will be able to see your beautiful landscaping even at the darkest of night. There’s a lot I can say about this topic, so check out the articles on outdoor lighting and garden lighting for more information on this vast topic.
  4. Don’t forget the possibility of installing outdoor rooms in your front yard area. Whether an enclosed patio or a gazebo or whatever, this may be the ticket to a nice place to relax during a beautiful day or evening. However, this will work best only with large yards, as small yards may get cramped. Still, you could even install some kind of hardscape seating in yards of any size, so you can at least have a place to sit if you don’t have a deck or porch of some kind.
Some other articles you might enjoy related to this topic include articles on garden paving

8 Wonderful Patio Ideas

Installing a new outdoor patio is one of the best investments you can make into both the financial state of your home and the satsifaction you can gain out of it. Obviously, a new patio is an important investment, one that cannot be overlooked. I want to help you avoid regret when you finally get that patio installed a realize that you don’t like what you got, whether that’s 10 minutes or 10 years down the line. Thus, here are eight outdoor patio ideas that will hopefully inspire you and educate you about what is truly possible when it comes to an outdoor patio. I cover nearly every facet of your choices, the patio’s design, installation, and extra features that can make your patio even more beautiful.

Location of Your Patio

Obviously, the first decision you need to make is where to install the new patio. The standard location is in your backyard, perhaps just outside the back entrance of your home, but don’t limit yourself to this location. While it’s a classic for sure, there may be other interesting places to install your patio. For instance, think about combining your patio with a pool deck, especially if you have an in-ground pool, as you’ll enjoy a well-integrated backyard. (There could be a whole article on pool patio ideas as well!)

While you are planning out your back patio, don’t forget that you can add other features to the installation, such as a new stoop or garden area – indeed, there are many patio ideas for small gardens that can combine the beauty of your organic garden life with the man-made beauty of your new patios.

One final note – don’t just limit yourself to the back patio! Many people have begun adding patios to their front yard. Obviously, this will depend on the dimensions of your property, but front patio ideas are at least something to consider during this phase.

Choosing Patio Materials

Another decision you need to make about your patio paving is picking the right patio material. There are tons of materials you can choose from, and many different designs and patterns (more on that in a sec), so the major factors for you will probably fall more along the lines of budget than anything else. At the lower end of the price spectrum is gravel, asphalt, and concrete – they are strong and durable, but don’t offer much in the way of design choices. You can spruce up this traditional slab look with stamped and colored concrete patio options.

The next level are concrete paving slabs, large square or rectangular cuts of precast concrete. The next paving level up are pavers – concrete pavers, grass pavers, and brick pavers. Each type of patio pavers has its own qualities – I go over bricks and paving stones in other areas of this site, linked here. Finally, there are the natural stone options, such as flagstone, both in paver and slab form. These are by far the most expensive options.

Other factors that you have to consider are your project plans, the climate (cold areas may crack patio slabs), and possibilities for expansion (i.e. are you considering adding on to your project at another time).

Patio Design Ideas

Next comes the hard part – actually determining the design of your patio. A lot of your design will be determined by the material you select – for instance, pavers may be easier to form into curves and allow you to play around more with colors and patterns, moreso than traditional options like concrete. You’ll need to determine the dimensions of the patio, the pattern (if applicable), color scheme, add-ons (like walkways and steps), and more. Create a picture if you can, or get a contractor or designer to do it for you.

Don’t forget about possibly adding a system of walkways around your new patio as well! The best part of using materials like concrete pavers is that you can use the material for all your backyard projects, even if you decide to add on to the installation years down the line. Still, it makes the most economic and efficiency sense to do as much work as possible at the same time.

One way to get ideas is to be inspired by what other people have done. Look around to your friends’ and family’s patios and see what you like and dislike about their projets. You can also seek out photos to get more patio ideas. Your material manufacturer or contractor may be able to supply you with these pictures as well. (I will be adding some images soon to this page, so check back.)

Hiring a Patio Contractor

This is an important step – all your well-laid plans could go to waste by missing this step. I’ve written extensively on how to hire paver contractors here – much of what I wrote applies to hiring any contractor.

Do It Yourself Patio Ideas

One way to save money is to do it yourself – forgo hiring a contractor and install that patio with your own efforts. This will save you much money that you would have had to pay in labor costs, but you will of course pay with your own time and labor.

If you are considering this option, make sure to think about DIY patio ideas, ones that will fit with your skill level and budget. For instance, certain materials are harder to handle than others, and require more skill and experience. You may also have a difficult area to install your project in (for instance, issues with grades or soil settling/composition) that necessitate the help of an expert. Still, you may be able to do a lot of the work yourself, especially if you’re using easy to install materials like pavers and slabs.

One quick trick here is to try installing a small patio somewhere else in your yard as a ‘practice run.’ It can be a simple design where you can test out different materials, ideas, and so on. Then, when you feel more comfortable, upgrade to a larger application.

Landscaping and Your Patio

Improving the look and feel of your backyard is not just about the hardscape! Consider how adding landscaping can enhance your newly installed patio. Doing so is an easy and cheap way of increasing the beauty of your project, especially when you can’t afford high-priced materials like sandstone paving. For instance, integrating a garden with a backyard patio may be a great way to showcase your hobby while enhancing the beauty of your backyard retreat. This site doesn’t have too much information (yet) on landscaping, but consider these articles on landscaping rocks and garden pavers for some preliminary ideas.

Adding Extras to Your Patio

Once the patio has been installed, you can also add other features to your patio that can increase its beauty and utility. For instance, if you’re looking for more privacy, you can get a screened in or enclosed patio. A covered patio is also good if you want to enjoy your project in any weather – extreme rain or extreme shine. Other ideas include getting a raised paver patio, adding patio furniture, outdoor lighting, barbecue pits, fireplaces, fountains, and much more!

Even if you are not installing a new patio, or you don’t own your patio (like if you live in an apartment), you can still use these ideas to spruce up what you’ve got to make it a more enjoyable and relaxing living space.

Saving Money

Finally, there are plenty of ways to save money on your next patio. Cheap paving doesn’t have to be low quality as long as you make the right shortcuts. First, you can look for inexpensive materials – I discuss some ways to find pavers for sale and paving slabs for sale on this site. As already mentioned, you can make use of patio ideas on a budget by doing the work yourself. For a more in-depth discussion of costs associated to different materials, see the Costs & Saving Money section of this site, including articles on such topics as the cost of pavers and a concrete patio cost guide.

10 Amazing Outdoor Patio Ideas

Adding a new patio to your yard – or simply redoing an old one – is a major project, one that you should approach with care. If you have no idea what kind of patio you want, or where you want to put it, or anything to do with your patio, you can certainly have a designer or contractor figure it out for you. But it’s also possible for you to come up with your own outdoor patio ideas. To help you out, here are ten outdoor patio ideas that you can either use for your next project or use to stimulate your own creativity when it comes to imagining and designing your patio. More comprehensive discussions of materials related to patios – such as articles on patio pavers and general patio paving information – can be found at those links.

  1. While you are coming up with patio design ideas, don’t ignore the other projects you can build with your patio. For instance, you can connect your patio to your home with new patio steps (made out of the same materials as the patio). You can also create walkways, pool decks, driveways, and other installations, all out of the same or other materials. This is a good idea for two reasons. First, you’ll save money if you install all those project at the same time than if you install them separately. Second, you’ll ensure that all your projects have the same design theme, style, and material.
  2. Of course, the most common materials – concrete – are tried and true, but don’t forget about the other materials options available. If your budget can handle it, we strongly encourage you to use patio pavers. You can find enough colors, patterns, and styles that you’ll be sure to create a design that will go with your general decor. If your heart is set on concrete, you should look into other decorative concrete options, such as stamped, colored, and stained concrete. You could also cover your concrete patio with thin concrete pavers or outdoor patio tile to provide the facade of a paver installation without the expense.
  3. Aside from concrete pavers, don’t forget other paver materials too for your outdoor patio, such as brick pavers and natural stone pavers. These are more expensive than concrete pavers and other materials, but they are beautiful to look at and go well with nearly any decorating taste.
  4. If you have no skills or willingness to install your projects, you can find plenty of contractors who can do the job for you. However, consider the possibilities, both aesthetic and financial, of doing it yourself. A DIY patio can save you money and ensure that your application turns out how you like. Use pictures for reference as necessary, and do your research to learn how to install your project. For instance, you can read about paver installation here.
  5. As with everything in life, it’s all about location, location, location. Of course, a backyard patio close to your house, or even adjacent to it, is a great option. But think about other places you can put your patio, or consider installing more than one patio, all with different uses. For instance, you can have one patio near your home for entertaining, and another garden patio for relaxation and for work on your landscaping.
  6. If you’re installing a new patio, the size of the new project is up to you, of course. This is also true if you’re installing a new patio in place of an old one – consider experimenting with different sized patios. For instance, you can create one large patio, as per normal, or you can create a series of small patios, perhaps connected by walkways and/or landscaping.
  7. If you are using your patio for entertaining, consider the ways you can maximize its utility. You can install a barbecue or fire pit; then it’s easy to cook food and have a BBQ without having to pull out the Weber grill. If you will be entertaining guests at night, try outdoor patio lighting to ensure that your guests will be bathed in light.
  8. Ultimately, the dimensions and design of your patio will depend on what you want to use it for. Make sure that the patio will fit all the accessories and people you want to put there. Make sure to measure out your gear to make sure that it will all be able to fit on the new patio with enough room.
  9. Of course, if you want to be able to use your patio year round, consider enclosing it. You can go as far or as close to an ‘outdoor room’ as you’d like. For instance, you can put a retractable roof on it if you want to get some sun occasionally; or you can enclose your patio with mesh, screen, windows, or even walls. You can then make your patio more of an extension on your home, perhaps adding a kitchen or entertainment area. Click this link for more information on enclosed patios.
  10. Once your patio is installed, don’t forget the furniture. You can really go wild here – of course, you’ll need some good patio sets with tables and chairs, but you can also add extras depending on the size of the project, such as a bar or hot tub.

BONUS: Here are some other accessories you can add to your patio: umbrella, hammock, torches and other lamps, benches, walls, planters and other landscaping features, fireplace, fountains, statues, and waterfalls.

10 DIY Patio Ideas

Among all the outdoor projects that you can build to enhance your own, the patio is among the most fun and valuable. Having a comfortable and beatiful place to entertain friends and family is worth the price of installation, and it will pay itself off many times over the years of use you’ll get out of it.

Best of all, if you have the skills and desire, you can make your own patio without needing to hire a contractor and bear the brunt of that expense. In fact, a DIY patio is a great first project, as it is hidden in your backyard and doesn’t have to deal with vehicular traffic. If you messed up a new DIY driveway, for example, you’d have much more of a headache on your hands.

To help you with your DIY paving project, we are giving you ten DIY patio tips to stimulate your creativity and get you thinking about your next project.

Note: You can also find 10 DIY concrete pavers tips here.

  1. The first major decision you have to make is picking your material that will use. Some are more appropriate for homeowner installation than others. Concrete pavers, for example, are highly recommended here, as they are easy to work with and install. The only difficult aspect of a DIY patio pavers project is preparing the base – this is the most important part of the project, so the utmost amount of care should be taken to make sure it’s right. Your other options are brick pavers and natural stone pavers – these are similar to install, but they are more expensive, so are usually not recommended for beginners. Concrete is easy to work with if you know what you are doing, but difficult if you are unskilled.
  2. When designing your new patio, don’t be hemmed in by the old shape and size (if you have an old patio that you’re replacing, of course). Be creative and aggressive – expand your DIY patios beyond their original borders and outside of their previous shape.
  3. Even if you want to do the entire project yourself, you have a backup plan if things go sour – you can subcontract out pieces of the project that you can’t handle or are having problems with. This way you can still save money while making sure the job is done right. An example of this is with the paver patio – you might want to have someone come in and excavate the old base and install the new one. You can then lay the pavers on the sand bed yourself and complete the finishing touches.
  4. Speaking of finishing touches, don’t forget them. Many little tweeks are easy to do yourself and can add much beauty and value to your patio. For example, when laying your pavers, your do it yourself patio can be fashioned into an interesting pattern with a good color scheme. If you are installing a concrete patio, you can use concrete patio paint or outdoor patio tile to help spruce up the appearance of the plain concrete slab.
  5. If you want the look of pavers without the expense, go with stamped concrete for your DIY patio. You can find concrete stamps for sale and concrete patio molds to make the shapes and designs you want; simply press them into the surface of the still wet concrete. You should only do this, however, if you live in a mild environment that doesn’t experience regular freezing and thawing in the winter.
  6. Don’t forget the accessories. You can also DIY your own enclosed patios, patio doors, awnings, canopies, and other aspects of your patio that will add both form and function. Don’t forget the furniture or barbecue, either.
  7. If you are having trouble coming up with a unique and effective design for your patio, you can hire a contractor or designer to create the plans for you. This is often worth the investment, as the designer can give you suggestions as to what works best with your backyard, home style, and landscape theme.
  8. Think big. Just because you’re working on a patio doesn’t mean you can’t add other pieces at the same time. Consider building walkways, driveways, and pool decks at the same time as you’re making your patio. It will be easier and more cost effective to create all of it at once than to split up the projects across many months and years.
  9. Be free with your design. Don’t stick to straight (perpendicular and parallel) lines if you want something more. For example, if you are using pavers, consider adding circle kits and curves to your design.
  10. If you want more information on how to build a patio, consult with resources pertaining to your particular material. This website deals especially with pavers and paving stones of all kinds, so you might have to find other resources on concrete and other materials.

An Enclosed Patio Guide: What You Need to Know

On other places on this site, we’ve discussed the merits of installing concrete paver patios, along with using other materials to create a backyard getaway. One of the best patio ideas – an amazing way to continue to add to your backyard paradise – is to create an enclosed patio. Also known as enclosed porches or an enclosed decks, these structures allow you to enjoy your patio paving while being sheltered from the elements.

There are a lot of choices and other things to consider when thinking about adding a new patio enclosure. To help guide you in this decision, we’ve assembled a brief enclosed patio guide that will show you the major aspects of your project to consider. Come back often, as we’re always adding new material and updating this site to continue to bring you valuable information and insight.

Types of Patio Enclosures

There are two major kinds of enclosed patios that you can add to your home. The first is a room that is simply part of your house; these so-called sunrooms simply have lots of windows that allow in lots of light. Thus, you’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful elements, especially the sun, without having to actually be outside and deal with the heat and UV rays and other weather conditions. This kind of project is more of a ‘room addition’ than an enclosed patio, though some may tend more towards a patio than a room given their properties. The main difference that sets them apart from enclosed patios is their expense – because they are added on directly to your house, you’ll end up paying more for the work.

The second is more like a patio in that it is primarily an outdoor structure that has been ‘enclosed’ or ‘covered’ in order to protect the inhabitants from the elements. The degree to which a patio is enclosed varies from design to design. One covered patio may simply be topped off with an awning; thus, bugs and wind and other elements can get inside your covered patio, while the sun and heat will be diminished. Others are more like outdoor rooms, in that they are enclosed with screens or other materials to completely surround the patio and guard against bugs, wind, and even hot and cold temperatures (when the room is climate controlled).

Which one you want depends on how you want to use it and on how you conceive of your enclosed patio. For instance, if you think of your room as simply an extension of your home, and you want it to be climate controlled and comfortable and usable year round, you’ll probably tend more toward the sunroom approach. However, if you see this space more as an enclosed porch, one that is part of your yard as opposed to your home, you’ll want to look into enclosing a patio instead. This patio will only be usable during temperate or hot times of the year and depending on how enclosed it is.

Note that you can also use your enclosed patio for many different purposes. Some simply like to have a covered place where they can entertain guests in the more temperate seasons without having to worry about inclement weather and other worries. Others, however, like to make the space an area to hang out continually; some even turn them into family spaces, exercise rooms, libraries, and dining rooms. Thus, give some thought as to how you want to use your space, as this will largely determine what kinds of materials and designs you’ll use for your project.

If you crave flexibility, you can also buy retractable patio covers that can be deployed when you need them, such as on an especially hot or rainy day. Thus, you’ll have the flexibility to manage how much of the ‘outdoors’ you want to experience.

The Benefits of Enclosed Patios

The first obvious benefit of your enclosed patio is its beauty and aesthetic appeal. Looking outside while inside your patio is one great aspect, but patio rooms look almost as good from the outside looking in. In addition, this beauty and function will add value to your home, both financially and in terms of increased living and working space for you and your family.

Second, you can enjoy the ‘outdoors’ in comfort. How much of the outdoors you feel will depend on if you only have a patio roof or if you opt for the more enclosed structure. Nevertheless, you’ll be blocked out from the sun, deal with cooler and more comfortable temperatures, and not have to deal with mosquitos and other annoying bugs.

You can also enjoy the safety and privacy of your enclosed patio. You won’t have to worry about nosy neighbors watching you at all hours of the day, and you can be sure that you can be safe from the weather or anything that bumps in the night.

Enclosed Patio Designs

The first thing to think about is how enclosed your patio room or sunroom will actually be. At the very least, you’ll have canopies or awnings that will cover the top of your patio and block the sun and rain from reaching the contents of your room.

You’ll then need to decide how best to enclose your patio on the sides, if this is something you want to do. Some opt to have nothing blocking the sides; this makes the room more of a covered patio than an enclosed one. As for enclosing materials, you can opt for many different types, from screened patios to patios with nets covering the side. If you build in walls and windows as part of an extension to your home, it’s more of a sunroof and thus more expensive but also the most beautiful and valuable. You may also opt for glass enclosures to allow the maximum amount of sunlight in, though you will also sacrifice privacy and increase the structure’s vulnerability.

To save money and decrease the time and hassle involved with installing your new patio, some companies sell ‘modular’ systems that are pre-assembled and then assembled on the spot.

Another thing to think about is what the ‘floor’ of your patio will be. If you already have a patio made from concrete or concrete pavers, then you can simply add your patio roof or patio covers, screen porch, etc. and be done with it. Or you can install an entirely new patio surface out of these materials or others; if you want a more ‘indoor’ feel, you can go with tile, carpet, wood, and other options, though keep in mind that some of these materials won’t be viable with particular patio designs.

Your best bet is to get design plans created by a professional architect. They will best know the options available for you and what you can create given your resources. They will also give you an estimate so that you can get an idea of how much this will cost. There are an incredible number of different designs, products, and variations to the sunroom/enclosed patio, so you’ll need to do further research to find what suits your tastes and budget. Look for images of sunrooms that you like and present them to your contractor or sunroom company. They can then use these images as a guide to best create the addition that’s right for you and your family.

Building an Enclosed Patio

While creating these projects may be out of the reach of many homeowners, some may still seek DIY solutions, especially if they are looking to install modest enclosures. For instance, if you already have an outdoor porch or ‘framed’ patio, it’s relatively easy to buy thin mesh screen and put it up around the sides of the patio. This will not be the most elegant solution, but it will serve its primary purpose: keeping out bugs and irritants. You can also buy screen with vinyl attached so that you can easily assemble your enclosed patio to the proper specifications without having to deal with plain mesh.

It is also possible to buy sunroom ‘kits’ that you can assemble yourself. They may not look as great as the professionally installed kind, especially since those will be exactly customized to your taste, but they are great in a pinch. The great thing about these DIY projects, however, is that you can easily take them down and put them up at will, so you’ll have flexibility as seasons and weather changes.

You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t need to get any permits from your local municipality, as some require paperwork to be filed if you’re at all adding on to your ‘home,’ so make sure to check with officials in your area.

Ten Cheap Paving Ideas to Get You Started

If you are thinking of paving your driveway or other outdoor project, you probably want to know what cheap paving options exist out there to help save you money and aggravation. While the exact prices, and what turns out to be the cheapest option, will depend on your particular circumstances (such as the area you live in, the particular project you want to work on, etc.), there are a few general cheap paving ideas that can get you started in your research.

By cheap, of course, we don’t mean or want ‘poor quality.’ What we mean is inexpensive price for something that offers good value. If we create a driveway out of poor quality materials and workmanship, we might have to replace or repair it sooner than we like, increasing the overall price we’ll have to pay over the lifetime of the driveway. Thus, go for inexpensive instead of ‘cheap’ in the sense of poor quality. With that caveat behind us, here are some cheap paving ideas that can stimulate your own ideas and thinking:

  1. Perhaps the cheapest option out there is using loose stone or gravel for your driveway. This is easy to install, but it comes with heavy maintenance costs. Even if you put borders around the driveway, stone will get loose and will have to be raked and tended to often. In addition, plowing or removing snow from these driveways is near impossible without doing  harm to the driveway, so don’t get this material if you live in a snowy area. In general, stone can look good with the right driveways and homes, but many people prefer hardscape options.
  2. Macadam, also known as tar and chip, is also quite cheap. It looks like a combination of asphalt and loose stones/gravel. You could also go with asphalt if you’d like, as this is quite cheap and, if installed properly, could last for awhile.
  3. Concrete, of course, is a popular option. This may not be the best choice if you have a huge driveway, but for small projects it works well. Make sure that whoever installs it does whatever it takes to minimize the cracking of concrete, but realize that concrete will eventually crack. Don’t go cheap here with concrete, as you’ll regret it when it starts cracking and looking terrible after one winter.
  4. Any option using bricks or pavers of any kind will be quite expensive as the pavers need to be laid by hand. Of course, if you do the work yourself instead of hiring a contractor, you’ll probably be able to install them relatively cheaply. This is especially true if you are able to obtain cheap paving stones from a variety of sources – for more information on this, see the pages on this website having to do with cheap pavers for sale.
  5. Clay bricks are a particularly good material, as they will handle the rigors of expansion/contraction cycles well due to their flexibility while also imparting some strength to your project.
  6. If you want to go the ‘paver’ route without using pavers, consider using bigger slabs. You can find cheap paving slabs and cheap paving flags more easily than cheap pavers, as the larger size of the material will make the price per square foot lower than pavers. This is due both to the size of the flag and the fact that fewer flags than pavers will be needed to cover a particular area.
  7. Note as well that you can save money depending on the contractor that you hire for the work. If you get a cheap contractor, you’ll lower the overall price of the installation regardless of the material you use. In addition, if you install the paving yourself, you’ll save even more money, at the expense of your own time of course.
  8. Keep in mind maintenance costs when thinking of your options. For instance, a material like asphalt will need to be sealed periodically, while stone or concrete will not. This can add up after awhile, so add the long-term costs to the short-term equation.
  9. If you and multiple houses in your neighborhood are getting new driveways, combine your efforts to receive a lower price for everyone. For instance, if you are installing asphalt, you can often get a much better price if other houses in your neighborhood are also getting new asphalt driveways. Talk with your neighbors to see what can be arranged.
  10. Permeable paving may also be a great option for you if you need something cheap, environmentally friendly, and permeable to water.

Good luck! We hope this gives you some ideas to get you started! If you have any more ideas or thoughts, leave them in the comments below.

Twelve Front Yard Walkways Ideas

The walkway in your front yard is what greets your visitors, and it’s what you see every day when you walk to your front door. This is what makes them so important – they define the initial experience of your home for you and your guests. A poorly planned and constructed walkway can mar an otherwise beautiful and well-designed front yard. If you want to install a new walkway, and you don’t know where to start, here are some ideas on front yard walkways design:

  1. Set your budget for your walkway. This will determine the types of materials that you will be able to use for your installation.
  2. First, you need to decide what kind of materials to use for your front yard walkway. One great choice are concrete pavers or paving stones.
  3. You could also go with natural stone pavers or brick pavers as well if you like the idea of pavers but want a different material.
  4. Concrete is a good standby material – cheap and strong, it does however leave something to be desired aesthetically. You could go with stamped or colored concrete if you are willing to pay extra for the improved looks.
  5. Asphalt is also an option. Though it is cheap, it is unideal in terms of its looks.
  6. Rock or stone is also a possibility, but it can be high maintenance.
  7. The material you select will also depend on the design for your walkway. Figure out how you want it to wind through your yard. Will it start at the driveway or will it start at the road or sidewalk? Will it curve around to the backyard and hook up with any other hardscapes? How long and wide will it be – what are its dimensions? Will it have curves or just be straight? These are all important questions to figure out before you move to the next stage. A sketch is usually a good idea to make sure it’s all on paper and so that you can show it to a contractor if necessary.
  8. Pretend to walk your ‘walkway’ even if it’s not laid. Is it comfortable? Is it natural? Can it handle heavy traffic, or two people next to each other? Three people? Figure out what the experience of walking the walkway would be before you confirm your decisions.
  9. Consider how you will add landscaping to your front yard area, and how that will blend in with your new walkway and other features of your landscape and hardscape as well as your home’s theme and style. An arch, walkway lights, planters and gardens, and interesting stones can all add a layer of sophistication and complexity to your front entrance.
  10. Steps or a stoop might be a great addition to your home, or you can upgrade an existing installation to match or complement your new walkway. You can even use the same material for the stoop as you do for the walkway or other projects you create.
  11. If you hire a contractor, make sure to see front yard walkways pictures of his prior work so you can get an idea of his skill and style.
  12. Consider the possibility of installing the walkway yourself. If you have the DIY skills, you could save a lot of money on labor costs and possibly use a better material. Don’t experiment, though, if you know little, as the walkway is such a crucial element of your home.

If you have any more ideas, leave them in the comments below!

Landscape Pavers: What You Need to Know

When we think about improving our landscape, we rarely think about how improving our hardscape could improve the landscape as well. This means installing new walkways, driveways, patios, and other projects around the landscape to heighten, protect, and beautify your landscape and your yard. This article will give you the basics of paver landscaping to help you design and construct your next project – or at least give you the information you need to feel comfortable dealing with a paver contractor or designer.

Benefits of Landscape Pavers

As described elsewhere on this site, concrete pavers offer the homeowner many benefits that make up for its relatively high price of installation. Note that much of this also applies to pavers made from other materials, such as brick pavers and natural stone pavers (like flagstone pavers, bluestone pavers, sandstone pavers, etc.).

One of the benefits of landscaping with pavers is that your installations will hold up over time, regardless of any weather or other stressors. The flexible aggregate base underneath will buckle and bend with freezing and thawing of water, as will the landscape paver installation itself (due to the joints between paving stones). The patio, walkway, etc. will thus not crack as would concrete or asphalt. This is especially useful when your pavers have an aesthetic quality to them – i.e. they are there primarily to look nice. Having them crack and fall apart would mar your otherwise beautiful project.

In addition, building walkways and patios and borders around and in your landscaping can help protect your meticulously created landscape. Landscaping edging pavers are a great way to both separate different sections of your yard while also protecting that which must not be stepped on or disturbed.

These landscape pavers, regardless of how you use them, will not clash or not fit together – they are no different than any other concrete paver used for driveways, patios, or walkways. Thus, you can use the same materials throughout your yard, ensuring continuity and integration of your design. What is especailly useful about using landscaping pavers versus other options like concrete to decorate and separate other landscaping features is the design options possible. Paving stones come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, offering many options for the homeowner or contractor to complement other features of the landscape or home. The different blends of colors available can bring match or complement any color palette. In the next section, we will discuss the various design options at your disposal, as well as some of the more interesting projects that you can add to your yard to enhance your landscaping.

Designing Landscaping With Pavers

Should you create your landscape or your hardscape first? In a perfect world, the answer is ‘both.’ What you do with your hardscape should affect your landscape design and vice versa.

When designing your pavers landscaping project, try to plan other paver installations at the same time. Not only is this more cost efficient than doing single projects, but you can also streamline designs across different projects. Your options to highlight and frame your landscaping are many; they include walkways, garden pavers, patios, pool decks, and retaining walls, among others.

Note when designing your projects that you can use straight and curved lines throughout your design. Straight lines are more ‘formal’ and rigid, but are much easier to install. Curving lines are more informal and perhaps more interesting, but overall cost more money. Balancing out cost and features, depending on your budget, is a priority before you begin any project or contact a contractor.

Here are some of the best landscaping paver ideas that you can implement in your yard today. Building a walkway or patio in your yard is a nice way for you to complement your landscaping while also creating a space for you and your family and friends to relax and enjoy each others’ company. Patio pavers are especially nice, especially when they are framed by fresh flowerbeds or other landscaping installations.

One great way to highlight (literally!) your landscaping pavers is to install paver lights around your walkway or patio. These can increase night time safety while also boosting the beauty of your home at night.

Another way to highlight your landscaping is to put them at varying heights, not merely at ground level. This will often require you to build a retaining wall…which you can do with retaining wall pavers! You can thus use the same material – style, color, design – for your walls as you do for your flatwork. Building a paver retaining wall can serve a dual function – first, it can certainly raise the beauty and style of your entire landscape. But perhaps more importantly, it can protect your hard work from water and mud damage, especially if there are any steep slopes near your home. Retaining walls can keep back mud or dirt from sliding down a hill onto you beautiful lawn, patio, or other project. In addition, they can help properly drain water to avoid flooding – an important aspect of keeping your landscaping fresh and new.

Note as well the benefits of installing pool pavers. The combination of your landscaping, paving stones, and the bright blue of the pool can make for a stunning look for any home and yard.

If you need something more functional, consider adding grass pavers to your yard. This is a great way to keep your grass/lawn intact while making sure it is protected from the elements and vehicular traffic.

Once you decide the basic elements of your landscaping paver project, sketch out a design and the dimensions of the parts. You will need this information to tell the contractor or, if you are doing the installation yourself, when ordering materials.

How to Install Landscape Pavers

Installing landscape pavers are in principle no different than installing concrete pavers in other contexts – it is merely the design and use of the pavers that may differ a bit. Thus, those interested in knowing how to do this should check out this page on how to lay pavers.