Design ideas and tips for creating beautiful outdoor living areas.

Patio Color Choices and Tips

Time: 03:04

With so many color options available for decorative concrete patios, how do you select the best scheme to enhance a particular setting? Scott Cohen of The Green Scene explains his rules-of-thumb for color selection and gives examples and tips for making wise choices.
Learn how to:

  • Get "color cues" from the architecture and style of the existing home. (See Which Decorative Concrete Style Is Right for your Home?)
  • Coordinate the concrete color with other architectural elements, such as the roof, window trim and existing hardscaping.
  • Define different outdoor room areas using different colors for each, such as one for the patio and a coordinating color for an adjacent landing.
  • Use antiquing with integrally colored concrete to mimic naturally weathered stone.

Stamped Concrete Patios

Time: 03:48

Cohen shows some of his favorite patterns and techniques for stamped concrete patios and walkways, including stone texture mats with antiquing accents and scored patterns, wood planking, and Ashlar slate. He also gives advice on how to coordinate multiple patterns and how to mix stamped concrete with other hardscaping materials, such as field stone.

Patio Sizing Tips

Time: 04:18

To properly size an outdoor patio, it's important to determine your needs first and make the space large enough to accommodate all your leisure activities. Cohen takes you on a tour of patio projects, ranging from small to large, and offers tips on how to:

  • Plan the patio size to accommodate outdoor furniture, such as dining tables and lounge chairs.
  • Provide sufficient "walk-around" space and pathways to improve traffic flow.
  • Use different concrete patterns and colors to define various areas and activities.

Patio Placement and Layout

Time: 02:54

Learn the most important considerations for patio placement and layout, including exposure to sun and shade, proximity to the house, and outdoor views. Cohen suggests ways to "break up" patios to create various outdoor rooms, rather than installing one large patio adjacent to the house. He also shows examples of patio layouts for accommodating various activities, including entertaining, dining, cooking, sun bathing and viewing. Also learn about simple design tools even novices can use to create custom outdoor room plans.

Defining Outdoor Rooms

Time: 03:43

Cohen shows examples of creative ways to embellish patio designs to create the sense of a defined outdoor room. Ideas include:

  • Covering patio areas with freestanding pavilions
  • Installing cast concrete seat walls to define patio perimeters and to double as outdoor seating. (Read more about concrete seat walls.)
  • Surrounding patio areas with water features.
  • Using outdoor concrete fireplaces as focal points.
  • Using stamped concrete in different patterns and colors to designate zones for dining, entertaining and cooking.
  • Find more information on patio designs.

Stone-Look Patios

Time: 01:08

It's easy to give concrete patios the look of natural stone by using slate or stone-textured stamps and by applying color to "antique" the surface. Scott Cohen shows a patio he created using stone-textured stamps over integrally colored concrete, accented by darker colors of release agent. The concrete was scored in 4-foot square sections to help minimize cracking and add decorative interest.

Seat Walls Made of Concrete

Time: 00:28

Concrete seat walls are a prefect way to frame a patio while providing additional seating for guests. See this example of a cast concrete seat wall and back rest accented by decorative cushions and pillows.