The most environmentally friendly option for outdoor living spaces is the patio.
Because it is on ground level, a patio uses fewer resources and materials than a deck would.
Patios are also easy to maintain and are weather resistant.
A very important design element of the patio (or garden room) is the floor.
Check out some of these flooring solutions for your new patio or garden room:
For a warm and classy look, nothing beats brick. For paths and patios, use paving bricks. They are less likely than common bricks to crack and heave with the effects of winter weather (not too much of a concern here in Southern California) and traffic.
Sandstone, bluestone, limestone, slate, and granite complement just about any architectural style.
Concrete can be cast into molds to form individual pavers that mimic brick and cut stone. Strong, durable, and much less expensive than stone or brick, pavers are ideal for large areas.
Terra-cotta, quarry, and glazed tile lends an Old World look to a garden and is a perfect paving solution for hot climates.
Loose materials, such as river stones, pea gravel, and crushed stones, are easy to work with and relatively inexpensive. The final result is an attractive and versatile look -- gravel looks just as appropriate in an English style garden, a Southwest desert garden, or an Asian garden.
While it might not seem like the most aesthetically pleasing solution, a cast-concrete patio has some distinct advantages and produces a very attractive floor. It’s affordable, flat, quick to install, and can provide a base for other paving materials later.
As you can see, there are many natural choices for the floor of your patio or garden room. For any of these paving solutions, the key to success is making sure that the surface you’re paving is perfectly flat and prepared with a base of rough gravel and sand.