Peace on a patio

Patio is a Spanish word that means inner courtyard. Anyone who travels in the Caribbean, Spain or South America has already encountered these outdoor spaces, often covered, which run the length of house or direct people to the centre of the property.

In Quebec, patio means most outdoor structures: large gallery, big balcony, deck. In general, a patio is on the ground while a deck is raised above the ground.

To get a taste of the great outdoors, the patio is a great choice if you have a small budget or if the space is too narrow. Sometimes it’s just a simple set of steps or a staircase leading to the yard. You can place plants, flowers and decorative pots there.


The great thing about patios is that you can set them up any way you want, thus the importance of determining its use before you start the work. Do you extend it to the bedroom so you can have your morning coffee or a candlelit breakfast? Do you extend it to the living room for the pleasure of a cocktail in the fresh air? Do you extend it to the kitchen to benefit from outdoor meals or to organize receptions?  

Other questions. Will the patio be used for specific landscaping, to organize a play area for the children, to bathe in the sun or the vegetation, go to the spa, the pool or the garden? Answering these questions will help you determine the place and size of your patio.

If you plan to eat on the patio, it will have to be bigger to accommodate furniture, parasol, barbecue. If you are thinking about receptions, you need more space. Maybe you want to add beauty: banister, benches, pergola, swing, pond, portable fire pit, water fountain.

patio jardin bleu fleurs ISTOCK reno

The patio can be nestled far away, in the middle of the back yard, detached from the house. That way you an benefit from the shade of the trees. You can also decorate it without being obligated to match the outside of your house. And why not have a decorative path between the house and the patio? Some owners put up a tunnel as an entrance, and cover it with vegetation.

patio jardin pierres ISTOCK renoOther owners fill the space between the house and street with a patio, often quite big. Visitors go through a gate and arrive on the patio. No grass covered in pesticides. Nothing but trees, shrubs, dirt, gravel, plants and rocks!

Even though, by definition a patio is supposed to touch the ground, the outdoor space on a second floor is often called a patio. Guaranteed intimacy, particularly if you use removable panels. You can also replace a window or dormer with a patio door.

A few tips

  • Check the municipal regulations before starting the work.
  • Make sure the water drains properly on the ground and that there are no water leaks around the house and on the foundations. If not, danger!
  • Check the direction of the winds and the position of the sun to avoid surprises.
  • There are many possibilities when it comes to materials and design: bricks, flagstones, stone blocks, stone tiles, concrete bricks, gravel, ceramic, wood chips, antique flags, erratic lines, etc.
  • Remember that a clear ground reflects the heat while a darker ground imprisons the heat and filters it at night.
  • Benches and flower beds can be used as bannisters.
  • Even though the patio is rudimentary, its support must not be taken lightly.
  • The patio can be round, square or rectangular.

The following book is essential for anyone who wants to build a patio. Warning! You’re going to find some breathtaking landscaping.


Les patios, Black and Decker, guide complet du bricoleur, Les Éditions de l’homme, 2007, 239 pages