How to Design a Paver Patio.


Designing a custom paver patio may seem a little challenging and a bit overwhelming, but if you follow some basic steps, you will be able to incorporate your patio ideas into a design that not only compliments your outdoor living style, but also one that fits very well with your pocket book.  Sounds pretty good, huh?

At, we believe there are 3 factors that completely affect whether a design is a success or not;  budget, functionality and aesthetics.  It doesn’t matter who is doing the, us or another contractor, these 3 factors, if you want success, need defined.

Patio Budget.  A patio budget is more than likely the most important factor of your design project and is probably the hardest for a homeowner to define.  A budget brings an outdoor living project into perspective, it gives the designer a point of reference and it helps eliminate any surprises.

In order to create a budget you need to know how much a paver patio cost as well as any other enhancing ideas or accessories you may want to include, such as seating walls, an outdoor fireplace or even a grill station.

How to design a paver patio.

Speaking in general and there are some exceptions, a professionally installed paver patio is going to cost somewhere between $15 to $18 per square foot depending on where you live and the paver material you choose.  So if you were thinking of having a 20’ x 20’ or 400 sq. ft. paver patio installed, you should plan on spending approximately $6,000 - $7,200 for the patio alone.

Hardscape accessories, i.e. seating walls, fireplaces, etc., are going to have larger variation in prices, but our list will be again, in general and professionally installed.

  • A seating wall will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $55-$65 per linear foot and includes a column every 18’ or so. 
  • A block grill station will cost approximately $900-$1,200, but there are a lot of options that could raise the price significantly. 
  • You might plan to spend around $500-$600 for the cost of a simple wood burning, built-in, block fire pit.
  • Of all the hardscape accessories, the cost for an outdoor fireplace will vary the most, ranging from $5,500 to over $12,000, mainly due to all the different types of material.

If you plan on installing these yourself, plan on a savings of 30-35%.  Material is a larger part in most of these types of projects.

How to design a paver patio 2.Functionality.  How will I use my patio? In other words, what kind of ideas can I incorporate into my design that will match or enhance my outdoor living style and habits. For example, I love to grill and entertain.  So a grill station with an attached outdoor bar would be very functional to me. If you entertain much, a seating wall is a perfect idea for overflow seating and will rid of unnecessary furniture.  Fire pits are great for warming up to and roasting marsh mellows during cooler evenings.  A pergola is another idea that will not only provide an aesthetic impact, but is also very functional and will help you escape the hot sun during the summer months.  Another item that is often under estimated, is the size of patio table that will function to your needs.  Choose one that fits your family size or your future family size.

Knowing what ideas you plan to design into your patio will determine the size of your patio.  Don’t be stingy with space, it always looks larger on paper, but on the other hand bigger doesn’t equate to more functional.  Place your hardscape accessories or ideas in an order that is most functional to you.  For me, my grill station is closest to my home entrance for easy access, then my patio table and my fire pit is furthest, being the item I use the least.

How to design a paver patio 3.

Aesthetics.  What do I want my patio to look like? This is the fun one and the one that you will probably spend the most time on. A good design will integrate your ideas or accessories into pleasing geometry that compliments the architecture of your home. Just as a side note, brick pavers or concrete pavers are going to give you the most design flexibility.

Generally speaking, radial designs will soften corners and I use a lot of curves in my designs, but I always try to have some straight edges to place grills, fireplaces and straight lined accessories.  Curves will better allow you to accentuate certain focal point plants and structures, such as a fountain or a nice Japanese Maple tree.

On the other hand, square and rectangle patio designs will help you highlight dimensional features of your home and are easier to incorporate some of those straight lined accessories we mentioned above into your design.  For example, a home with a large bay window or entrance may be complimented by laying an area of your patio on a 45 degree angle. Unless your home has some really unique architecture, I wouldn’t get to caught up in trying to match or compliment geometry.  In most cases radial or square designs are simply a factor of preference.

There are a few other patio ideas that will help you create some interest in your design.  Using a border paver that contrast with the field pavers will not only help you define the outside geometry of your design, but can also define space on your patio.  Circular paver patterns and contrasting paver insets will also add a lot of creativity to your patio design.

How to design a paver patio 4

And the last item to consider, in regards to aesthetics, is color blends.  A couple rule of thumbs to follow. If your brick is busy, don’t use a busy paver blend.  Concentrate on a more solid color, pulling one of the colors out of your brick.  And visa versa, if your brick has a more solid tone, then busy paver blends are ok. With lighter color siding, I always try to contrast, with either a darker border or darker field paver and a more complimenting blend for the vertical accessories, such as seating walls, fireplaces, grill stations, etc.

The more time you invest up front and into your design, the easier and more enjoyable the installation will be. Spending a few hundred dollars on a formal design may end up saving you thousands of dollars and aggravation compared to a design that is drawn on a napkin.  Feel free to browse our large library of downloadable patio plans to come with your own ideas.

Remember, do your homework and enjoy your patio!

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  • Steve Combs
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