Secrets to a perfect patio

So it's finally time to install that dream patio. Congratulations! We're here to help - with an outstanding assortment of fantastic products from today's leading manufacturers, for every budget and every taste.

Let's begin with a few things you should know.

First, don't assume that your patio has to be located close to your house with quick access to the kitchen. Lots of people prefer a more tranquil area to get away from it all for morning coffee on a cozy chair. So consider your whole property before deciding. If you're investing in a larger project, add a state-of-the-art outdoor gourmet kitchen to expand your patio perimeter even farther. And even if your yard is tiny, think big. Well-scaled furniture and the right pavers can overcome any challenges of a smaller property.

Next, take a look at your yard and see what you can't change. If you love your shrubs and mature trees (and who doesn't?), then use them as inspiration and incorporate them into your layout and gardening. Bring greenery onto your patio by adding mature plants in attractive pots. You might be surprised at how lovely your vision unfolds.

Don't forget to think seasonally. Our climate allows us to stay outdoors into the fall (lucky us) - and the right patio design keeps working through the winter, too. Consider a pretty pergola for shade and beauty. Or enclose your patio in grandeur, with dense, overhead hanging plants, voile curtains and a romantic chandelier. Add a roaring fireplace or fire pit for chilly nights. Seating walls can also frame your outdoor room by creating a handsome natural perimeter.

When building a patio, it's also important to remember your interior. You can tie your outside to your inside with the right pavers. Pick a similar tone and style to keep things cohesive. If your house has lots of greys, select pavers in comparable shades. If you like more country décor, choose from one of our many rustic looks. Whatever you like, we have it here at Stone Center.

Finally, finish your dream patio with the ideal furniture. Before you buy, think about things like rain, bugs, tree sap and pollen. Outdoor furniture comes in different materials, so find the one that best withstands these challenges. Metal furniture in coated aluminum and treated wrought iron stands up to the elements. All-weather synthetic wicker is a classic and comes in a wide assortment of colors. Teak wood is considered by many to be the best of the best. Durable yet pricey, it's eco-friendly and looks better with age. Consider comfort, style and price - and don't forget the cushions.

Whether you like contemporary, traditional or southwest, you'll find it at Stone Center's beautiful outdoor showrooms. We'll work with you through every step to design and install your backyard paradise.