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Patio stones a smart investment for your home


Carson Arthur

Carson Arthur

The popularity of the patio makes a lot of sense. Canadians want low-maintenance and there are few things that require less effort than stone. A properly installed patio with a good base and jointing sand can easily last 25 years. That’s one important reason to make sure you pick a stone that you will love the entire time you have the space. It also justifies the costs. Patios rank as one of the highest expenses for outdoor renovations but if you average the cost over the lifespan and the increased home-value of up to 12 per cent (Century21, Canada); patios are a smart investment.

The evolution of the patio stone has come a long way from the two-foot by two-foot concrete slabs that I keep replacing in older backyards. With more colours, shapes and sizes available, choosing a patio is just like choosing flooring for a living room or a kitchen.

When it comes to size or patterns, there really is no single answer. I always tell homeowners to go and see products in an actual installation instead of just from a pamphlet before they commit. I personally choose stones that are in the grey or tan tones as they create a neutral backdrop for some dynamic furniture or art pieces. The biggest trends for 2015 are man-made stones designed to look natural. Wood grained patio stones in natural browns and greys has me the most excited of all the outdoor options. (

Patios are built on the ground. This is very important for two reasons. The first, involves basement windows. Most decks need support structures built underneath them, often blocking the light and the view for basement spaces. A patio can be built much lower, allowing for more light and less obstruction. The second important reason has to do with privacy. Most urban homeowners struggle with privacy in the backyard from their neighbours. Traditionally, decks are elevated, making a privacy situation even worse. With a patio being lower in the yard, you naturally feel less on display.

Patios are also getting bigger. Every year, I have more customers asking for less grass and bigger patios as part of their landscape designs. Larger patios may be more expensive, but when it comes to low-maintenance useable space, nothing compares.

Canadians want big and comfortable chairs and tables, sectionals, sofas, even coffee tables in their back yards. Whether you choose stone or wood for your own home, never under-estimate how much space you’ll actually need. Always go bigger than you think.

I promise, you’ll be able to fill your outdoor space with something special.

-Landscape designer Carson Arthur is host of HGTV’s new Home to Win show. He is also the outdoor expert with City TV’s Cityline and wrote the sell-out book Garden Designs for Outdoor Living in 2015. More at Click here for previous columns

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