If your garden does not have a deck or patio, the chances are you are not getting the most out of it. Installing a patio could help turn your garden into a space that the whole family can enjoy, a place where you have BBQ’s, entertain, and socialise with friends, or even just enjoy a quiet glass of wine on an evening whilst watching the sun go down.

Sounds good? Here are 5 great patio and decking ideas to help get those creative juices flowing:

Covered Patios

Building a covered patio does involve more work than laying a standard patio, but the extra effort yields excellent benefits, particularly in the UK, where summer weather can be unpredictable.

With a covered patio area, BBQ’s no longer need to be abandoned halfway through due to a sudden downpour. You can even install a stone firepit, complete with a steel firepit hood to allow smoke to vent through the roof.

The Multiplier

If your garden is a little on the small side, then this innovative approach could be the ideal solution.

A raised deck was constructed at a height that allows ground level plants to receive enough light, and does not restrict standing space for people on the lower level.

Reinforced concrete blocks are used to make a floating staircase, that is partially sunk into a boundary wall, in order to provide access to the upper deck.

Flagstone Patio

A traditional flagstone patio is often one of the most cost effective ways to create a cosy nook for Al fresco dining.

Bear in mind that the quality of outdoor flagstones you use will affect the final finish you achieve. It’s also worth investing in some good quality patio furniture. Wicker can be a great choice for outdoor furniture, solid hardwoods are also great.

Focal Points

In order to create a welcoming space, your patio really needs a central focal point. A table is one option, but for a really great centrepiece, it’s almost impossible to beat a big firepit!

Firepits provide a source of warmth which means that your patio will be comfortable long after the sun has gone to bed. Firepits can either be built from stone or brick or purchased online. Indian fire bowls make a particularly good option, as they usually come complete with a removable BBQ rack.

Choosing Where to Build

If your garden offers a great view from one particular spot, then that could be the ideal place to build your patio. Ideal patio placements get plenty of sun but are shielded from the wind. If your placement offers sun but no wind protection, you could always plant tall shrubs around the perimeter to provide some privacy and protection.

When laying a patio, the first stage is to mark out the the area with pegged string and then dig the foundations. Your foundation pit should be at least 15cm deep in order to accommodate the all-in ballast foundation and allow your flagstones to sit flush. If your patio is directly adjacent to a building, then you may need to dig deeper foundations as the patio will need to sit at least 15cm below the damp proof course.