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The Home Depot

How to Prepare for a Patio

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Patio & Walkway > How to Prepare for a Patio
How to Prepare for a Patio

Adding a patio to your home is a great way to both increase its value and provide yourself with more room to relax and play. But, as with any home improvement project, there is work to be done before you can sit back and relax. So, what do you do to prepare for your new patio? Read this guide to find out.

  1. If you know you like to entertain and live in a climate that makes outdoor gatherings possible for a large part of the year, you may want to opt for a lot of space and even extras like a built-in fire pit, grill or seating.

    1.Hire a contractor

    The first thing you should do is find a good, reliable professional to help you make your patio a reality. In any given community there are hundreds if not thousands of contractors for hire, so how do you know who is best for you? The Federal Trade Commission is a good resource for homeowners. The site gives questions to ask contractors, how to ask for references, and information about payment. The bottom line is to make sure the business is legitimate, that he or she can prove they know how to meet your needs and that you will pay a fair price for the work. Have any potential hires come out to your home so that you can show them the area where you want the patio. That way, they’ll be able to tell you whether that is feasible or not and point out any potential hazards to you.

  2. 2.Location and Size

    With your contractor, determine where you want the patio and how big you’d like it to be. Patios can come in lots of different shapes and sizes, how do you want yours to look? Will it be just outside your back door? Off to the side? Will it be large and sprawling or small and intimate? Think about your household and your lifestyle when making this decision. If you know you like to entertain and live in a climate that makes outdoor gatherings possible for a large part of the year, you may want to opt for a lot of space and even extras like a built-in fire pit, grill or seating. If you are the quiet type and want something where you can simply be still and enjoy nature, something much smaller is more appropriate.

  3. 3.Materials and budget

    A discussion about materials and budget should go hand-in-hand with your talk about the size and location of your patio. The amount of money you have to invest will play a big role in the materials you choose for your patio. Some popular patio materials are cement, tile, brick and stone. Consider your taste – do you want something vibrant and colorful or more understated and natural? Think again about what you’ll be using the patio for. You don’t want guests tripping over uneven stones, and you don’t want chair and table legs getting stuck in gravel.

  5. 4.Landscaping

    You will probably have to do some landscaping before your patio is installed. If the area where you want the patio to go is covered with grass and trees, you’ll have to dig them up. If another patio currently exists in that space, you may have to break up cement or dig up bricks or pavers. You’ll also have to consider the flow of water. If you do not allow for water to flow away from your patio, standing water could cause big problems not just there but possibly inside your home and around its foundation. Make sure the area you choose slopes away from your home. If not, talk to your contractor about ways to divert rain water. He or she may suggest drains or some minor excavation.


    Your patio can provide you hours of fun and outdoor relaxation. But – if you don’t tackle the problem right, you’ll be left with nothing but a headache. Make sure you think your project through carefully and with a professional you can trust.

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