Outdoor Patio Stone Designs and Fire Features
Outdoor patios are among the most ardently desired and highly cherished home features – they create an enchanting outdoor living area that offers both a peaceful respite and a lovely place for entertainment and fun. From a barbecue location in the summer to a gathering spot around a fire pit in the fall, a well-designed patio can be a hub of activity all the year round. It will not only provide a charming escape to nature within the home but will also enhance the style and functionality of the property, increasing its resale value and overall appeal.
To be the perfect outdoor retreat, however, the patio needs to be well-constructed and good-looking – which is why so many people opt for stone patio designs.
There exists a great variety of elegant patio designs and practical patio materials, but nothing beats stone patios in terms of beauty and functionality. A stone patio is not only durable and attractive, but also allows for interesting shapes and unique designer solutions. Besides, you can easily incorporate all kinds of prominent outdoor features – an outdoor bar, a picnic table, a fire pit, romantic lighting, etc. – in a stone patio and transform it into the outdoor haven you have always dreamed about.
If you wish to enjoy your outdoor area to the fullest and create an ideal open-air retreat for you and your family, you’ll find the following great stone patio ideas quite helpful. Keep reading!
Patio Design Ideas
There are a plenty of beautiful and practical patio styles you can choose from when designing an outdoor retreat. Which one will be best for your stone patio depends on its intended purpose and the available space.
Are you going to use the outdoor area for dining, cooking, relaxing, or entertaining guests? Do you want to host parties of dozens or spend romantic evenings with your significant other on the patio? Do you have a large yard or just a small strip of garden?
Depending on how much space you have and what activities you want your patio to accommodate, you can opt for:
- Living room patio – Adding an outdoor living room to your home will provide you with a charming place for relaxing and conversing with family and friends. Shade structures, comfortable seating, and fire features are common elements of this type of patio. If you wish for an outdoor living room, however, keep in mind that it should be at least 16 feet by 18 feet (so that there is enough space for appropriate outdoor furniture and for people to walk around it);
- Outdoor dining patio – To be able to enjoy a meal on your patio with family and friends, you need an area that is large enough for a dining table and chairs – a space that is at least 12 feet by 12 feet. A dining patio should be placed near the backdoor of your home or next to an outdoor kitchen, so that it is easy to carry food to the table. Consider a patio cover or pergola (or at least large umbrellas) for your outdoor dining area;
- Bistro patio – If you have a small space, a bistro patio may be your best choice. It can accommodate a small table and two chairs to give you the perfect outdoor retreat for two;
- Sundeck patio – Sundeck patios are designed as places for relaxation and enjoying the sunshine. They are often located near backyard swimming pools and feature outdoor chaise lounges with comfortable cushions.
Once you’ve decided on the type of patio you want, it’s time to consider the materials. Wood, concrete, bricks, and tiles are all very popular, but stone offers the most durable and natural-looking option for a patio.
Natural Stone Patio Designs
Natural stones fit perfectly into a garden setting because of their rough, unrefined texture and earthy hues of browns, reds, grays, and beiges. They provide a durable and slip-resistant patio surface that will last longer and will hold its color better than any other material.
The most common varieties of natural stones used for patios include slate, quartzite, bluestone, and limestone. Granite pavers and broken granite blocks (cobble stones) also make excellent patio surfaces but are rather expensive and, therefore, more rarely used (mainly for edging and accents).
Natural stone can be used to create a formal or informal patio:
- For a formal, organized look, opt for evenly cut flagstones and have them laid in a repeating rectangular pattern. The rectangle shape will provide continuity while the staggered joints will break up the monotony of the layout to give your patio an elegant, stylish look. When this pattern is mortared, it makes for a very smooth surface, suitable for dining patios and other outdoor areas where furniture is often moved around;
- For a more casual appearance, select irregular stones and have them laid randomly – the irregular pattern will emphasize the unique shape and character of every individual stone. The gaps can be mortared or filled with gravel. You can even grow moss or grass between the stones for a more natural look. Keep in mind, however, that this layout makes it more difficult to move patio furniture around because of the rough stone edges and the series of small joints. It is suitable for living room patios and other areas where the furniture is rarely shifted.
While stone patios are incredibly beautiful and long lasting, they have several drawbacks you need to consider when choosing your patio design:
- The stones can be difficult to fit together when laying out the patio due to their irregular shapes;
- The irregular surface they crate can make for a rough walking area;
- Natural stone is more expensive than other patio materials.
Patio Fire Features
Whatever type of stone patio you choose for your outdoor area, you can upgrade it even further by adding a fireplace or fire pit – fire features work great with all stone patio designs and not only provide heat and light, but inevitably become the focal point of the patio and create an ambiance of warmth, comfort, intimacy, and joy.
In fact, stone patio designs with a fire pit have become extremely popular in recent years as more and more homeowners decide that fire features provide a great way to enhance the style and charm of an outdoor area.
If you too want to enjoy a crackling fire on your patio, be sure to research all the available options and pick the one that is most appropriate for your specific needs and preferences. There are several important factors to take into account when choosing a fire pit for your patio:
- The purpose of the fire feature – If your fire pit will be purely ornamental, you should focus on its appearance. A portable, lightweight option – a stylish fire table or an exquisite fire bowl – will work great for you. If you will be using your fire for cooking and warmth, however, you need a more durable, permanent feature, such as a traditional stacked stone fireplace or a state-of-the-art chiminea;
- The available space – If you have ample room for a large installation, you can decide on a stone fire pit or fireplace. For a small patio, though, consider compact designs like fire bowls or Sojoe fire pits;
- The fuel you’re going to use – Wood-burning fire pits provide the closest experience to a campfire you can have in your own backyard, but they need to be large and sturdy enough to keep the fire safely contained. In fact, it is best that wood-burning fire pits be solid, permanent structures. If you prefer a more convenient, portable option, you should choose a propane fire pit;
- The setting – If you wish to create an open-air “room”, you can opt for a fireplace installed in an architectural wall. If you want your friends and family to be able to gather in a circle around the flames, a round fire pit may be your best choice. If you have a contemporary-style home, you may want to consider fire pit tables (fire pits that are either built into outdoor tables or have a table-like rim surrounding the flames);
- The fire pit material – From stone and tile to stainless steel and copper, you can choose from a wide variety of materials for your patio fire pit. However, it is a good idea to select a fire pit design that incorporates materials from the patio area to tie the spaces together architecturally.
Consider installing additional lighting to create a pleasant ambiance around your fire feature and make sure you provide appropriate seating options (wooden or stone benches, outdoor sofas, resin chairs, chaise lounges, etc.) on your stone patio – after all, everyone will want to be close to the enchanting fire pit.
Be prudent and take all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of everyone gathered around the fire and avoid fire damage to your property – your fire pit should be located at least ten feet away from the house and the nearest trees, and should allow for about a six foot diameter for guests to sit around safely.
Patio fire pits create a phenomenal focal point for the outdoor living space and ensure a cheerful and festive atmosphere during gatherings and celebrations. May you enjoy yours for many great years!