<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=115904032320361&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Patio Design: The Homeowners Advisor

The complete guide for dreaming, planning, and creating your perfect patio and beautiful outdoor living space in New England

Our Mission

Our goal is to help you evaluate your outdoor living space and enjoy the home of your dreams.

Are you interested in updating your outdoor living space? Would you like to install a new patio or update an existing outdoor area but are not sure which patio design is right for you?

The many options for materials and style can feel at once exciting and overwhelming. There are endless possibilities for achieving your dream outdoor space that fits your style and meets your budget. Keep reading for information on how to customize your outdoor space to achieve the perfect look for your home.

Scroll down to read the guide without filling out the form.

Or, you can also fill out the form below for a downloadable PDF version of the guide you can reference later.

With Bahler Brothers, you not only receive top quality patio design and installation, you will become part of their family for a lifetime.

Patio Design: The Homeowners Advisor eBook

The complete guide for dreaming, planning, and creating your perfect patio and beautiful outdoor living space in New England

Section :
Why Patio Design is Important

Introduction & Current Trends in Patio Design
Custom backyard paver patio with pool and fire-pit

Add Value to Your Home With a Custom Designed Patio

Patio design is one of the most impactful ways you can add value to your home.

The right patio space can turn a simple backyard patio idea into a dream outdoor living space.

Patio custom design can incorporate a warm and cozy fire pit to gather around, lush plantings and landscaping to suit any level of gardening ability, or even build in extra seating. Extend the living space of your home by adding more usable square footage. An uncovered space can provide a place to grill or enjoy a sunny afternoon while covering a space with a roof, trellis, or pergola adds even more dimension.

Ultimately, though, big or small, a finished outdoor patio creates a place for community and gathering, as well as a place for quiet solitude. Get the most out of your home with a space designed to perfectly suit your needs, climate, and design aesthetic.

A Custom Designed Patio Breathes Life into a Home. Each design element reflects your lifestyle as an individual while bringing the look together in a cohesive way. Whether you wish to go big or small, the options for customizing the look, feel, and function of your space are limitless.

Collage of patio designs and outdoor living spaces

Explore Current Design Trends

There are currently some innovative design trends throughout the market.

Save your favorite patio design idea pictures on Pinterest or Houzz, and soon you will see that certain trends appear and reappear in your folders as your style preferences and patio dreams become clear. If you can say “I like this fence detail” or “that fire pit is cool,” we can pull those features into your design. It’s helpful to know what about the collected photos you like. When gathering ideas, do not worry that they may be too expensive or too big or too involved. Know that we can scale any project to suit your specific taste and needs.

On our website, you can see examples of landscaping, patios, lighting, water features, and more. Remember, any look can be scaled to suit your design preferences, your space, and your budget, so don’t be afraid to think big.

A patio is never just a patio when it serves as an aesthetic extension of your personal lifestyle.

Current trends in patio design focus on innovation and creative use of space. Which of these options speaks to you?

Fire Element or Unique Planters

Paved patio with stone fire-pit

Fire Element or Unique Planters

Fire element: This can be as simple as a fire pit or as complex as an entire, fully functioning outdoor kitchen. A fire element provides physical warmth, extending the use of the space well into colder months. It provides aesthetic warmth as well, creating a hearth as a focal point for gathering with friends and family. Fire is also functional. Barbecuing, making pizzas, or simply gathering to make s’mores adds to the use of your outdoor space.

Unique planters: Think vertically with creatively placed retaining walls, a leaning trellis, metal tiered plant stands, or vertical planters that stand alone and are movable, or that are permanently integrated into your design.

Pop of Color or Creative Lighting

Outdoor living spaces with a pop of color

Pop of Color or Creative Lighting

Pop of color: Ensuring a bit of colorful flair comes through in your design will brighten the space and showcase your personality and personal style. Add color with landscaping and plant choice, with varied stonework, or with a brightly painted trellis or pergola.

Creative lighting: Incorporate some soft lighting that adds to the ambiance in addition to providing a functional light source. Consider strands of fairy lights or clear light bulbs for a soft, clean look. Many options are solar powered or rechargeable.

Design Mixing

Design Mixing

There is no need to stick to one aesthetic. Mix and match styles such as Japanese Zen garden with native species. Combine statement plants with ground cover options. Incorporate ornamental grasses with evergreens or flowering plants.

A patio is never just a patio when it serves as an aesthetic extension of your personal lifestyle.

Section :
The Patio Design Options That Can Transform Your Outdoor Living Space


Decide on the Type of Patio Before Starting

It is helpful to consider the different types of patio design before getting started with determining the perfect design for you.

Patios can be much more than paver stones and edging. They can be covered or completely open air, have multiple levels, incorporate different types of materials, and can be any shape you can imagine.

Covered patio with fireplace and sitting area

Covered Patios

There are several backyard covered patio ideas to help increase versatility with any outdoor space. The addition of shade, opportunities to incorporate plant life for color and visual interest (and to appease your green thumb!), increased opportunities to define a space and create options for seating: are all elements that are enhanced by covering the space.

Perhaps the biggest benefit to outdoor covered patios is the way this extends your living area by creating an extra room without actually expanding your home. You will essentially have an outdoor living room or even kitchen without the need for building permits, or the expense of adding walls or dealing with the hassle of a major renovation.

The top 3 things you should know about covered patio structures:

  1. They are cheaper to install than building an addition onto your home, but can reap similar results;
  2. You have many design choices for the roof, such as solid, lattice, or pergola style; and,
  3. Irrigation is a key design component that can be seamlessly incorporated into the style.

White pergola covering a paver patio

White pergola covering a paver patio

When considering backyard covered patio ideas, it is important to keep in mind that the design is about more than simply adding a roof structure to a part of the backyard. Covered patios need a floor of some sort to still function properly as patios.

While designing a covered patio structure from the ground up is a great way to customize your outdoor space, we can certainly add a covered element to any existing patio. Many of our paver patios have pavilions or pergolas added to them to give that extra bit of versatility to transform an outdoor space into a true living space.

What’s the difference between a pavilion and a pergola?

While both offer a little (or a lot) of privacy, make your space stand out, offer versatility to the space coupled with visual impact, and offer shade options, pavilions and pergolas have key differences as well:


  • Has a real, solid roof, typically made of wood or metal
  • Functions as shelter from the elements
  • Great for entertaining
  • Usually rectangular, but can be customized
  • Works best for larger spaces
  • Can accommodate 5-15 or more people
  • Is a permanent structure, installed into the ground


  • Consists of vertical posts with cross beams and a lattice top
  • May be permanently installed or movable to other locations
  • We recommend fiberglass pergolas for unsurpassed strength, appearance, and stability
  • Provides some sun relief with a filtered shade.
  • They can be attached to a house or freestanding.
  • They make an elegant architectural statement.


Beautiful outdoor patio with paver stones and paver sand

Paver Patios

Simple and beautiful, paver patios are often the focal point of usable outdoor space. Preparation is the key first step, with clearing the area of grass and soil. Next, we add paver base. Alternating layers of gravel and sand provide a stable foundation on which to lay paver stones. The stones will be cut to custom fit your space, with edging stones added to complete the look. We add a light layer of paver sand across the patio and use a push broom to sweep the sand into gaps between the stones. We then use a plate compactor over the entire area to ensure the patio is properly level. Sealing is done several months after initial installation. By taking these steps for professional patio design, you ensure a beautiful, usable patio for years to come.

Here are the top 3 things you should know about paver patios:

  1. They are affordable: While the initial installation cost may be high, paver patios require little to no maintenance over time. That makes paver patios a long-term, budget-friendly solution.

  2. They are low maintenance: No regular sealing or washing is required. Bonus: at Bahler Brothers, we use polymeric sand in our paver patios which keeps the weeds away.

  3. Drainage is key: No one wants a flooded patio. Drains can be incorporated into the design, hidden from view, and sloped away from your home for proper water egress. 

Large outdoor space with multi-level raised patio

Raised Patios

The perfect patio need not be all on one level. Using vertical space helps create visual interest as well as incorporate seating options. Raised patios are good solutions when your home is a bit higher than the ground. Incorporating stone steps is visually appealing as well as helps to accommodate having a house at a different level than the patio foundation.

Raised patios also use elevation to define multiple spaces. A raised area can provide delineation between a seating area and a dining area, for example. Or perhaps you would prefer an outdoor kitchen or grill area to be separate from your guest or relaxation area. The simple addition of an elevated space provides combines function with a professional, customized look.

Multi-level paver patio with stone steps

Multi-Level Patios

A multi-level patio can make a small space seem bigger. If linear space is at a premium, building up makes greater use of available space, resulting in more usable living space with an attractive, professional finish.

Multi-level patios are a smart way to accommodate an uneven slope of your yard in a way that looks intentional and adds function. Installing a multi-level patio to take advantage of uneven ground can be far more cost-effective than leveling out the ground to accommodate a flat patio.

Levels can be divided by stonewalls that serve as additional seating, further enhancing the function of the space. With multi-level design, the possibilities for customization of the space are virtually endless.

natural stone pool patio.jpg

Natural Stone Patios

Enhancing your space with a natural stone look enhances your outdoor space by adding texture and a sense of collaboration with nature. Natural stone pavers come in varying thicknesses, and can cost more to install than traditional pavers. The stones are also heavy, and need to be transported from quarries. Nothing beats the look of natural flagstone, slate, or limestone, though. The higher initial cost is offset by the longevity of the materials. Natural stone does not fade over time, does not need to be sealed, and is very durable. Some stones are more linear and offer clean lines along with a natural look, while some are more asymmetrical and offer color variation.

Stamped Concrete Patios

Outdoor patio designs using concrete are often a more affordable option than a paver patio. However, while these types of patios are cost-effective, concrete does not stand up well to harsh Northeast winters. We do not recommend stamped concrete in our climate, because it will ultimately cost you more over time due to higher maintenance needs. Plus, once it cracks, and it will crack with the cold, it can’t be fixed.

To get a stamped concrete look, a concrete slab is poured, color is mixed in, and then a stamp is pushed down repeatedly to add a recurring design.

Here are the top 3 things you should know about stamped concrete patios:

  1. The smooth surface is less of a trip hazard than paver stones;
  2. Concrete is exceptionally durable, but will crack, settle, or shrink over time; and
  3. Concrete needs to cure for 3-5 days before your patio is ready for use.

Patio Style Quiz

Find the perfect style for your outdoor living space.
Take Our Patio Design Style Quiz Now!

Section :
The Patio Design That's Right For Your Space

Home with small patio and backyard

Consider the Size of Your Outdoor Space

Choosing the right patio for your space can feel like a daunting task. There are many custom options for materials, design features, and finishing touches. All of these options allow for wonderful opportunities to customize your space, but when you aren’t sure where to begin, having so many choices can feel overwhelming. That’s when it’s best to work with a professional who not only knows how to install a top quality patio, but who can work with you to consider your wants and needs, and make suggestions for the patio that will truly suit you best.

The most important consideration when choosing a patio design is the size of the outdoor space that will be transformed. Is your yard big or small? How much of the space do you wish to leave undeveloped? Do you do a lot of entertaining? Perhaps your yard is a unique size or shape. Regardless of the details, considering the available space is always the place to start.

If you are considering an attached covered patio, the design needs may differ than if you are considering a paver or stamped backyard concrete patio. Most patios are installed just outside the back door of the home, making a pavilion-style cover potentially impractical. Homeowners associations may have rules about home additions or building permanent structures, which should be taken into consideration as well. Consider how natural light may be impacted into your home once a roofed structure is up against the house. Perhaps a pergola or umbrella would suit your space and style instead of a fixed roof.

What Patio Design is Desirable?

The answer to this question is, of course, up to you. However, there are many ways to incorporate your personal style with current and time-tested design techniques. When choosing a patio design, consider these patio design basics:

  1.    Design connection
  2.    Color
  3.    Shape, pattern, and texture
  4.    Outdoor rooms

Design for an outdoor patioDesign connection

It’s important to consider your existing space, home design, and personal preferences to come up with the design that works with your existing space rather than against it.

What aspects of your home do you love? Is there a color scheme that you find particularly pleasing? If so, you could play off of the color of your shutters or backdoor to find that same color element in a paver stone or mixed into stamped concrete.

What are the focal points of your home? Do all eyes go directly to the back door? Does your house have strong lines or a softer façade? Using a rounded patio design with the straight lines of a Craftsman style home, for example, has the potential to create contrast, or the looks may clash. Perhaps a square or rectangular design will extend the line of your home, creating the illusion of a more usable, livable space.

What kind of physical space do you have available and how can you use that to your best advantage? Even small spaces have vertical design options to maximize usable space without feeling crowded. If you know you’d like a fire or water feature installed, it’s important to consider the physical requirements of that space to ensure you have enough room for people to sit comfortably nearby.


There are more options to incorporate color into a patio than you might think. Take a look around your yard and the back of your home. What color is your back door? Is there a particular native plant that has a striking color flower or bold green? Even different shades of brown and other neutrals offer colors that can be drawn into the design to create a cohesive look with lots of visual interest.

The sun is a key consideration when incorporating color as well. Planning your patio design around sunlight and, just as importantly, shade plays a role in how different colors are enhanced throughout the space.

Shape, pattern, and texture

Design features such as mixing different shapes stones for a border, integrating multiple patterns, and installing multiple textures or texture designs can all add differing levels of visual interest to a patio. A border can make a small space seem bigger and more defined.

Larger spaces can lack a focal point unless a different type of hardscape element is incorporated to keep the overall patio visually cohesive. Whether stamped, embossed, or smooth, contrasting textures can enhance a patio design without making it look busy or overdone.

Outdoor living space with a grill and cabinetryOutdoor rooms

The option to create a beautiful, custom-designed outdoor room is a beautiful and practical way to expand and enhance your living space without actually creating an addition to your home.

An otherwise simple space can be transformed by adding a roof or similar structure such as a pergola, and can be as simple as adding an additional defined space for seating, or as detailed as incorporating a chef’s quality kitchen, pizza stove, wet bar, or cabana.

One key benefit of an outdoor room is that it enhances your ability to use your outdoor space even in off-season months.

Live in a cold climate? No problem. Simply install a fire pit, fireplace, or even gas-fueled heat lamps to allow you and your guests to enjoy some outdoor time.

Live in a warm climate? No problem there, either. Screened in walls could keep the bugs at bay, ceiling fans will help you stay cool, and the entire structure will be built to take advantage of the direction of the wind to enhance natural air flow.

6 Things to Consider When Designing a Beautiful Paver Patio

When beginning the design for any type of backyard patio design idea, there are some important considerations to make to ensure that your new space best meets your needs.

  1.  How many people will use the space at any one time? Do you envision using the space primarily with your immediate family, or do you like to entertain? Do you generally invite smaller groups of 10-12 or larger groups of 20-30 or more people?
  2. Do you entertain on a regular basis? If so, you may wish for a larger permanent space. If not, a smaller patio may suit your needs, with some options for additional seating, such as a wall, built in.
  3. Do you want separate areas for eating, visiting, lounging, food preparation, or grilling, or do you prefer to have one or two large multi-purpose spaces?
  4. Do you already have patio furniture you plan to use, and if so, how big is it? A table for 4 will require a different set of patio design decisions than a table for 8 or more.
  5. How does traffic flow from the house to the yard? Do you have a screen door or French doors? Is there a back door for easy access, or will you need to use a side door, basement door, or come downstairs from an upper-level deck?
  6. Does the patio need to connect to other areas of the property with walkways, steps, or paths?

Pros and Cons of Paver Patios

While a usable outdoor space can certainly enhance any home, there are important pros and cons of paver patios to consider in determining whether a paver patio is the right option for you.

Pro: Pavers and durable and long lasting

Paver stones are typically made from concrete but can be made from clay brick or natural stone. With a solid foundation and proper installation, paver stones are made to last. They are installed to be flexible, with many joints. This allows pavers to withstand changes in weather and are generally even stronger than the concrete foundation of a home.

Con: Paver patios take longer to install than concrete patios

Because of the need for a layered and professional foundation as well as the need to install each of many paver stones individually and then seal together, the installation process does take a bit of time to complete, usually around 3-5 days. Poured concrete can be installed in a few hours, but does take 1-3 days to cure before you can use it. Either way, professional installation will take a bit of time, but in our opinion is well worth it for the lifetime of enjoyment you will have with your custom patio.

Raised patio with paved sun deckCon: Paver patios can be more expensive than other options

There are two ways of looking at this. Do you want to save money with the installation, or do you want to save money over the long run with a virtually maintenance-free patio? There are definitely cheaper options than paver patios, but many of them have other drawbacks, such as requiring maintenance down the road. With a paver patio, you will likely spend a bit more up front to have the patio installed, but after that, all you’ll need to do is enjoy your custom-designed outdoor living space.

Pro: Paver Patios are Better for Varying Climates and Seasonal Changes

Winter is the hardest time for patio materials. Moisture repeatedly freezes and thaws, and the ground expands and contracts. This can lead to cracks, settling, and dips in the patio floor. With pavers, there are more seams across the patio, allowing for more give and take with fluctuations in weather.

Con: Paver Patios Grow Weeds Over Time

The sand used to connect the paver stones will need to be replenished over time, lest weeds begin to grow through the spaces between the stones. There is a polymer sand that will harden and provide a stronger seal, preventing most weeds from taking root, though there is no way to prevent 100% of weeds over time.

Pro: Paver Patios are Low Maintenance

This might be the greatest pro for paver patios. Once the patio is installed, all you really need to do is sit back and enjoy it, with the occasional addition of more sealer to keep the sand intact.

What Will the Space Be Used For?

One of the key factors to consider when beginning the design process is how you will use the space.

Outdoor seating area surrounded by lush landscapingEntertaining

Are you an avid entertainer? If so, there are ways to design a space to incorporate your hosting needs, whether your property – or your budget – is big or small. If dinner parties are on the agenda, you may want to consider how adding an outdoor oven may impact the amount of space you wish to set aside. Multi-level patios can create designated spaces for eating and relaxing, while a retaining wall can be designed to provide additional seating.


Whether novice or expert, there are ways to incorporate your gardening desires and experience into your patio design. How will your gardening interest impact the space and layout of the patio? For smaller spaces, a vertical plant stand can hold mini-pots with herbs for a private herb garden. Native plants can grow with little to no maintenance. Or, perhaps you wish for cutouts to accommodate a flower or vegetable garden to be incorporated into the space.

Personal relaxation

The most important function of any patio is to have a usable outdoor space to suit a variety of needs. The best patio designs not only incorporate your personal style, they are designed to grow along with you, as well. Perhaps you are not much of a gardener, but would like to learn. There are ways to design a patio to complement the hardscape, so you can add flowers or plants later if you wish, or the patio landscaping can work as designed for years to come. Perhaps you would like to incorporate a hammock or other relaxation space. A bistro table or small work table are also options.


A well-designed landscape can add color and texture to any yard.

Read More

Fire Features

A fireplace becomes the focal point of the patio design and a major player in the outdoor living space.

Read More

Retaining Walls

Bring a clean, organized look with elegant design & function to any yard.

Read More

Landscape Lighting

A professionally lit landscape illuminates and creates scenes that completely transform your outdoor living space.

Read More

Ever Wonder How Much it Would Cost to Have the Yard of Your Dreams?

Use our free Cost Estimator and find out how much you can expect to spend on your next outdoor living space.
Use Our Free Cost Estimator

Section :
How Much Will a New Paver Patio Cost?


Determining the Cost of Your Patio

This is perhaps the most important question to ask before you get started, as your budget will drive the design process. This is also the most difficult question to answer. The key to remember is that a patio can cost whatever you need or want it to cost, depending on the design you have in mind.

The items that make the most impact on price are the type of material, size of the patio, and cost for both initial installation and maintenance in years to come.

Backyard with patio and poolType of material

Are you interested in pavers or perhaps backyard concrete patio ideas? Pavers can cost more to install, but concrete can cost more to maintain over time. Plus, there are many options when it comes to pavers, and a range of prices as well. Basic concrete paver stones, brick, natural stone, flagstone – these are all different materials with different price points.

Choosing to cover your patio will likely add to the cost as well. A fixed roof, such as for a pavilion, will last the lifetime of your home and allow for expanded options for spending time outside. A less expensive option is a pergola, which can be big or small, permanently affixed or portable, all depending on your preferences.

Size of the patio

It is logical that the larger the patio, the greater the cost. One way to offset costs is to consider a less expensive stone for a larger area. Unusual shaped spaces can also affect the cost because stones may need to be specially cut to accommodate curves or unusual shapes. Labor costs increase with larger spaces as well, because it will take more time to lay a patio for 1,000 square foot space than for a 200 square foot space.

Initial installation and future maintenance

Paver patios generally cost more to install than stamped concrete, but require less in terms of maintenance. They involve laying several layers of foundation, and then sealing the stones. After that, simply sweep and perhaps power wash on occasion, and pull the occasional weed. For stamped concrete, the initial cost is much less, because it is faster to lay the concrete than to install individual paver stones. Over time, though, concrete is prone to crack as the ground shifts, contracts, and expands. This results in greater costs to repair and maintain.

We're Building a Family, One Patio at a Time

With Bahler Brothers, you not only receive top quality patio design and installation, you will become part of their family for a lifetime.

For more than 30 years, Bahler Brothers have been providing high-quality workmanship and custom patio design to help make your outdoor inspiration a reality. Our work is all about family, community, and helping each client live life to the fullest.

From design concept to choosing the right crew for the job to laying each and every paver, every client is treated like family.

Our team of creative professionals has generations of experience, with each member of the company learning the business from the ground up, using his or her unique talents and expertise to transform outdoor spaces into something meaningful and memorable. The seemingly magical transformation that takes place when our designs and the clients’ dreams are implemented is what this business is all about.

The best part of our job is when we are able to look back after a job has been built and know that we have made an impact on our customers, helping them to live their best lives. Our goal is to help as many people as possible live the outdoor lifestyle of their dreams.

Start Designing Your Dream Patio Today!

Book an Appointment with One of Our Highly Qualified Patio Design Specialists