What Does it Cost to Install a Patio?

Things to remember when you’re planning to create the outdoor living space of your dreams.

Many homeowners look to install a patio when they want to extend their living space outdoors. Whether you’re scheming to create the patio of your wildest dreams complete with an outdoor kitchen, or finding ways to make a DIY patio installation a little bit easier, we have all kinds of tips and tricks that will help you prepare for the investment.

Installing Materials to Build a New Patio

Installing Materials to Build a New Patio

Installing a Flagstone Patio with stone and sand underlayment.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Costs involved with installing a patio runneth a huge range, and there are usually a lot of factors to consider. Let’s begin by looking at what affects the cost of a high-end patio installation, and then review a modest alternative to help you understand the possible range of luxe vs. simple, and hiring out vs. DIY. Keep reading to learn more about:

  • Advantages and disadvantages of a patio installation at any budget
  • The big costs
  • Hidden costs
  • And where you might save money by DIYing components of your installation

What Does a Luxe Patio Installation Cost?

If you’re scoping costs for a luxurious patio installation, you’ve probably already considered that it’s going to increase the value of your home – it can be worth it to install a high-end patio if you are planning to sell, but know that buyers aren’t always looking for that and may not appreciate the investment at face value.

A luxe patio is likely constructed of a high-quality stone or paver, and many would agree that the pattern created with those materials results in a stand-out design for one’s home. It’s often the arrangement of the stones that creates the first impression. High-end patios also have a higher tendency to incorporate out of the ordinary features; you should consult with a professional just like you would do for an indoor remodel to get an expert point-of-view when it comes to incorporating the features that make an ordinary patio one-of-a-kind.

Patio: Estate in Woody Creek, Colorado

Patio: Estate in Woody Creek, Colorado

This magnificent estate designed by Michael Ernemann and constructed by Rutgers Construction blends new sophisticated contemporary with old homestead charm. The property offers incredible pastoral views, senior water rights, several pastures and a superb barn. The new main house contains originally designed one off finishes-doors, hardware, floors, windows, cabinets and systems. The renovated original farm house offers a charming setting overlooking a pond with magical views. This rare property will not last long!12,612 approximate square feet.Architectural style: Arts and CraftsProperty features: 7 Bedrooms, 6 Bathrooms.

Photo by: Joshua & Co., a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Joshua & Co., a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Advantages:

Creating a luxe outdoor living space is appealing for homeowners who enjoy entertaining. Making an investment to perfect the design of a space you’re going to be using a lot is significant to many homeowners. By consulting with a landscaping specialist, you should expect to get a professional point-of-view in terms of what materials to use, and how to make the most of the outdoor living space. A professionally-designed and expertly-installed patio may make use of materials that are less accessible to ordinary homeowners and DIYers, and will be finished to perfection. It may take into account outdoor lighting and electrical or gas lines, or a multi-tier design with steps and pathways, making for an even more extravagant outdoor living space.

Perhaps most importantly, a professional landscaper will also take into consideration how the patio influences surrounding garden or water features, as if to make it seem that the patio has been a feature of the house since it was constructed.

Disadvantages:

Cost may be an obvious disadvantage to anyone dreaming up a luxe patio. All of the add-on features will add to the cost of the project, and high-end materials come at a price. And like any home improvement project, a luxe patio installation may be affected by any number of delays in construction (but especially weather delays).

Pleasing Patio Designs

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Contemporary and Classic

A beautiful wall with Spanish arches serves as the backdrop for this gorgeous backyard lounge area designed by Jamie Durie. The look merges elements of Old-World design with the clean lines of contemporary style.

Photo By: Jamie Rector

Dreamy Outdoor Entertaining

A full-size kitchen, a cascading fountain and a raised pool flank the large lawn area, which features an in-ground trampoline, making this a perfect spot for entertaining families. Design by Christopher J. Grubb

Contemporary Flair

Modernist garden furniture is architectural in style. Design classics, such as the sculptural Barcelona-influenced chair, set the tone for elegant recliners, simple tables and matching benches.

Photo By: Andrea Jones / Alamy ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

French-Provincial Kitchen

This is the dream outdoor space for a mom of four who wanted a French-Provincial design to tie in with her house. The large dining area can accommodate big gatherings, and there are places to lounge in shade or sun.

Old-World Style

In this design by Thomas Oppelt, the elegant Tuscan patio offers a glimpse of the surrounding countryside. Image courtesy of Gene Northup of Synergy Sotheby's International Realty.

Upgrade From Gravel

It's hard to imagine that this Tuscan-style courtyard used to be nothing more than an empty gravel space. New stonework, a bubbling fountain, lush plantings and decorative finds resulted in a picturesque and very livable outdoor space.

Pergola Lighting

This outdoor kitchen and patio, designed for entertaining, is accessible from the deck, basement and driveway of the home. The cedar pergola helps define the room and provide overhead lighting.

Elongated Patio

Designing on the diagonal helps elongate a small space, plus setting the walkways at opposing angles to the house also breaks up the boxy nature of the yard.

Added Space

Natural stone paving ties in with the home's interior. Thanks to designing on the diagonal, this patio looks bigger than it really is. Built-in seating maximizes the space.

Solution for a Slope

The retaining wall creates a level site for the patio, and the widely contoured steps increase accessibility.

European-Style Garden

This beautiful eight-sided pavilion, designed by landscape architect Keith Anderson, is the focal point of a European-style garden.

Solution for Building Restrictions

This pool is near the back porch of a summer home. Because of setback restrictions on the property, the poolhouse was built as a non-permanent, open-air structure with colored canvas curtains. Image courtesy of Barry Block

Arbor Screen

An arbor, with a trellis and columns designed to reflect the home, screens an unwelcome view and also forms the backdrop of an informal seating area. Image courtesy of Barry Block

Tuscan Wall

The wall is a smart solution for camouflaging pool equipment and helping to reduce the sound. Silverado Ledgestone with a flagstone cap contributes to the Tuscan look. Image courtesy of Green Planet Landscaping.

Green Screen

A living wall of plants turns alfresco dining into a private affair in this outdoor room designed by Jamie Durie.

Photo By: Jamie Rector

Totally French

This dramatic doorway leads to a romantic patio with black-and-white marble tile and a beautiful vertical garden. Design by Jamie Durie

Room in the Shade

A generously sized pergola creates ample escape from the sun in this design, posted by Rate My Space contributor darnell.

Destination: Relaxation

This patio is located away from the house, surrounded by colorful landscaping and shaded by trees. A short wall provides a sense of enclosure. The walkway continues on to a potting bench and a secluded arbor swing. Design by Jamie Durie

Photo By: Jamie Rector

Formal Touch

Boxwood planters surround the pool, fireplace and lounging areas on this patio, posted by Design by Rate My Space contributor allende.

Colorful Hardscape

In this Sedona-inspired design by Jamie Durie, ceiling tiles create the wall for the planter's seating surround. A dining grotto is tucked into the back of this beautiful patio.

Photo By: Jamie Rector

Drab Entryway No More

A terra-cotta tile patio and rich wall color convert a front entry into a stylish waiting and relaxation area. Design by Pamela Berstler

Laid-Back Patio

Sleek, modern loungers add a contemporary flair to this traditional patio designed by Lori Dennis.

Extra Shade

Designed by Paul Wrona, this contemporary outdoor kitchen area is nestled among the trees.

Private Playspace

Whether it's for roasting marshmallows with the kids or grown-up entertaining, the fireplace often becomes the outdoor gathering spot for the family. A new retaining wall on the steep slope provided the terrain for this patio and new lawn. A berm of cryptomeria trees will provide privacy from the neighbors. Design by landscape architect Mark Schisler

Modulating the Temps

No need to freeze or sweat in this palatial patio designed by Lori Dennis. A fireplace takes the chill off spring and fall evenings, and ceiling fans help dispel summer heat.

Rustic Chic

These basket weave stools and a table from a tree trunk blend seamlessly with a rustic-style garden.

Photo By: Mark Bolton ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Furniture as Art

The cantilevered bench echoes the wall's sweeping curve, and is an integral element of this striking installation.

Photo By: Brian North photographer 01582 767689 ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Fiesta Time

An outdoor room with Puerto-Rican design sensibilities creates a family backyard haven. Traditional turned-wooden spindles that adorn the windows of the homes in Puerto Rico now break up the bright colors of the walls. Design by Jamie Durie

Gathering Place

Inspired by a visit to a Native American pueblo, Jamie Durie designed this circular adobe outdoor room. A traditional drying rack serves as an artistic shade structure over the new outdoor dining area.

Western Outdoors

An extra-large fountain and a Western-style fireplace are the focal points of this patio; the design and materials create a seamless extension of living space for the home. Design by Scott Cohen.

Ready for Company

Built by designer Shane LeBlanc, this open-air cabana is the headquarters for outdoor grilling and dining for a large family. The hardscaping project also included a super-sized pool and bleachers for an existing basketball court. The kitchen countertop was custom-made on site and hand-colored to replicate real stone.

Making History

This beautiful patio was designed and furnished to complement the historic home. "Rustic and understated elements add personality and credibility," says landscape architect Chad Robert.

The Place for Pizza

The focal point of this new outdoor kitchen is a wood-fired pizza oven imported from Italy. The 36-inch oven turned out to have a 52-inch base, so landscape architect Mark Schisler had to move the counters three feet to accommodate it. The oven is covered with a stone veneer, rather than real stone, to save more space.

Three Tiers of Relaxation

Designed by Mitch Kalamian, this tri-level backyard features a refurbished pool on the first level, a spa on the second and a lighted column on the third.

Where are the costs?

The biggest cost in a luxe patio installation is labor, after all, installing heavy stones and pavers can require powerful equipment, and a team of professionals to create the space of your dreams. Many landscaping companies will estimate the cost of labor as a factor in the size of your patio, giving you an all-inclusive cost “per square foot” but as the job gets more complex with luxurious features, additional charges for planning and labor will accrue.

Big Costs:

  • Pavers or stones (ballpark $20-$40 per square foot installed – more, if you’re sourcing materials from afar)
  • Exterior home changes (such as installing a new door for patio access, or repairing siding)
  • Structural considerations, such as stairs for accessibility, or retaining walls to hold back soil on patios being installed on sloped ground.
  • Underlay materials, such as crusher stone and sand
  • Electrical wiring and gas lines, and built-in technology such as outdoor speakers
  • Appliances and other outdoor kitchen amenities
  • Design features, such as overhead pergolas, furniture, or awnings

Hidden Costs:

Just as it’s wise to always order an extra 10-20% of materials for the project, it’s also best to retain a small budget for unexpected costs.

  • Accidental errors: For example, maybe the crew nicked a buried drain pipe, or crushed your favorite shrub with the excavator.
  • Landscaping: When your eye’s on the prize of the finished patio itself, it’s likely that you’ll overlook the need to re-landscape the space surrounding the patio. Don’t forget that you’ll want to spend time and money on finishing touches, such as new container planters and freshly mulched beds to make your new patio feel like it’s always been there.

Places to splurge:

  • Design: When you’re investing to create the perfect space, much credit is owed to the designers who find ways to bring the vision to life, with special considerations to spacial planning and the overall aesthetic.
  • Materials: Choose quality stones and pavers; ordinary pavers will not read as luxurious, if your goal is to have a high-end space.
Brick Fireplace in Outdoor Seating Area

Brick Fireplace in Outdoor Seating Area

Comfortable outdoor lounge furniture surrounds this brick fireplace. The four wood chairs and two wood ottomans are each covered with chocolate brown fitted cushions.

And ways you might be able to save some money:

  • Location, Location, Location: Be aware that if you’re installing further from your home, it could cost more to run gas and electric to the patio. Also, level ground close to the exterior of your home is inevitably easier to install upon, versus a hillside requiring retaining wall features. And if you’re competing with a backyard septic system or existing mature trees, try to work around them to avoid the process of having to move/remove.
  • Buy things yourself: Let’s assume that your contractor is cool with you sourcing some of your own materials; visit a local stone yard to research your options, and purchase materials yourself to avoid a mark-up. You may find extra savings by negotiating a bulk order, or by purchasing materials in the off-season. Try to avoid multiple deliveries, as charges are often quoted as a flat rate for each trip.
Installing Materials to Build a New Patio

Installing Materials to Build a New Patio

Installing a Flagstone Patio with stone and sand underlayment.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

What Costs Should Be Considered for a Simple Patio Installation?

Creating a totally enviable patio doesn’t need to be a 5-figure job. By opting for a less complex installation, you might even find that you can install it yourself with a little patience and know-how. Money in your pocket = more funding for fun summer patio parties.

10 Outdoor Spaces on a Budget

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Warm Up the Front Porch

Inexpensive updates, like red door paint, bright plants in painted pots and a rocker with a comfy pillow make this porch welcoming and cozy.

Add Flowers

Sometimes all you need to brighten a space is a pretty pot of flowers — even dried ones will work, as the patio from Blog Cabin 2012 shows.

Photo By: Jason Kisner

Luxuriate Under a Canopy

Rate My Space contributor Tiki262 wanted an outdoor canopy bed but didn't have the space. He decided to convert an existing double lounger into a bed. The result: a custom, focal-point piece for about $50.

Build a Flower Bed

Use an old iron bed to create a hyper-literal garden bed. This creative bed offers the fairies a spot to rest.

©Courtesy of Rate My Space contributor Faeryhollow

Create a Water Feature

If you want a sense of peace and tranquility in your outdoor space, add a water feature. Rate My Space contributor AussieAngel created this lovely fountain using a solar water pump.

Make Furniture Multi-Task

Rate My Space contributor jodwayne made a dual-purpose table with adjustable height so it can serve as a coffee table or a dining table.

Hang a Daybed

A hanging daybed is the perfect spot for a nap. Get instructions for your own daybed from HGTV.com.

Paint a Rug

Designer Bryan Patrick Flynn gave this old deck new life with a painted rug.

Build a Firepit

Stack rectangular pavers in a staggered pattern, then line the pavers with fire bricks, for a beautiful custom firepit.

Plant a Birdhouse

A birdhouse is a beautiful focal point and can be used to frame a view. (Image courtesy of blondegardener)

Advantages:

A less expensive patio may have fewer complexities, making it more likely to be a project that you can tackle with minimal assistance. Without electrical considerations or built-in kitchen space, you can save on the cost of permits. And of course, a less complex project means that even if you do hire a crew, they should be able to finish it quickly – sometimes even in just 2-3 days.

Disadvantages:

You may sacrifice features and material quality in order to create an outdoor living space on a smaller budget. If you’re doing the project DIY-style, time is going to be a disadvantage for you personally; if you’re working through the installation on top of doing a full-time job, you’ll be sacrificing lots of your off-hours hustling to get the job done, and it’s certainly not easy work.

Where are the costs?

While reduced labor costs and less expensive materials may help offset the bottom line, a patio still requires some investment.

Big Costs:

  • Pavers or stones (ballpark $2-$5/sq. ft. uninstalled, or $10-$20/sq. ft. installed)
  • Structural considerations, such as retaining walls to hold back soil on patios being installed on sloped ground.
  • Underlay materials, such as crusher run and sand
  • Rental equipment (such as an excavator, saw, tamper)

Hidden costs:

Much like a luxe renovation, it’s easy to forget about costs associated with landscaping, furnishings and accidental errors. Projects on a tighter budget may have a narrower cushion for the unexpected costs. If something goes awry in one aspect of the project, you might be required to take concessions in another area to keep the project on budget.

Places to splurge:

Rent power equipment: You’ll save yourself a lot of back-breaking, time-intensive labor if you hire out the excavation of your patio, or rent a small digger for a few hours to speed up the process. While you’re at it, also get a gas-powered tamper to make it easier to create a crusher run base, and a circular saw with a masonry blade to make custom cuts to your stones or pavers.

Polymeric Sand: Instead of ordinary sand, splurge on polymeric sand between the cracks in your stones or pavers. It will harden, and will help to make your space more maintenance-free (it’ll also help to block weeds that would otherwise grow between the cracks).

Attention to detail: When I installed a fairly simple irregular flagstone patio myself, I incorporated beach pebbles into the design to fill larger voids between stones. A lovely touch that makes the space feel more high-end!

Places to save:

Ordering materials yourself: Bypass a landscaping crew’s markup by placing an order for the crusher run, sand and paver product yourself.

Delivery: If you order all of your materials from the same source, you can cut down on delivery charges by having it all shipped to you at once – just be ready to put tarps down in the yard where the crew will want to dump materials.

If you’re DIYing, consider borrowing tools to make the job easier:

  • A dolly will be helpful for moving large stones
  • Large wheelbarrows are always good to have too
  • Borrow a tamper instead of purchasing, if you’re leveling crusher stone by hand

Give away your clean fill. Avoid moving the excess soil from the excavation twice; save time by offering the clean fill soil to others, suggesting that they bring their own buckets and take as much as they need. (True story: I transported 5,000 gallons of soil from someone’s local excavation when I needed to regrade around my home; I hate the idea of buying soil, so it was a great opportunity for me and also helped out the other homeowner!)

In Between Luxe and Simple:

Finally, if you’re looking to install a patio somewhere in-between low-budget and luxe, be mindful of ways you can achieve a high-end finish without over-investing in details:

  • Choose high-end materials that you can install yourself; opt for smaller pavers and stones vs. giant, heavy materials.
  • Install a wood burning oven for cooking, instead of running gas lines for a grill.
  • Purchase furniture instead of designing built-in seating
  • Use solar lights instead of running new electrical components

10 Things to Know About Paver Patios

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1. Low Cost, Easy Maintenance

A patio can be created with many materials, but it's hard to beat one made from pavers for ease of installation and low maintenance. The initial cost may be higher than other options, but you'll save in the long run by not having to stain or seal it continuously. Plus, repairs are easier, one paver at a time.

2. Dig Deep For Best Results

Before you prep your patio area, call your local utilities or 811 to have any plumbing, cable or electrical lines marked. Then dig down below the root level of vegetation in the area, a good six inches or so. For dry soil, try watering the area the night before you plan to dig to dampen and soften the area for easier digging.

Photo By: Jupiterimages ©(C) 2008 Jupiterimages

3. Keep It Weed Free

Use landscaping cloth to create a barrier between the old soil and the new base of sand you'll be using. This will minimize the efforts of weeds and other unwanted vegetation to encroach upon your patio from underneath. Calculate the square footage of your patio space by multiplying the length by the width and add 10 percent.

Photo By: tinabelle

4. Create the Base

Pack in the paver base and/or sand using a wacker plate compactor or tamper. You need a solid, level and smooth base upon which to lay pavers. Remember to repack each subsequent layer of material.

5. Plan For Drainage

While it's important to have a level patio, you need to make sure it does slope away from your home's foundation and toward an area that can either handle additional moisture or is an existing drainage area. Plan for a quarter inch drop in elevation for every two feet of distance.

Photo By: Stephen Orsillo

6. Keep A Tight Edge

To help minimize the effect of movement of your pavers, be sure to plan for a good solid edge by using additional pavers, a solid cement lip, or metal or vinyl edging. In addition to stability, this will also help minimize creeping weeds.

Photo By: Eric Perry ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

7. Make Color Variations Work For You

You'll run into slight color variations in your pavers, just like you would with different lots of wood flooring or tile. Blend varying piles of stones or bricks together to create a natural look, so you'll avoid a patchwork appearance.

Photo By: Eric Perry ©2014, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

8. Make Cuts For A Perfect Fit

If you create any sort of pattern with your pavers, you'll need to cut some of the stones or bricks at some point. You can use a cold chisel to do this, or you can save your hands and rent a wet saw from your local home center.

Photo By: Michael Zak

9. Pack In The Cracks

Set your pavers in place by applying a layer of sand over and between them until the cracks are completely full. This will help keep them set in place, minimize weeds and allow for drainage.

Photo By: Lucie Rowe

10. Keep Pavers On Hand

Keep a few extra stones or bricks on hand to make repairs easier (you never know when your particular paver may be discontinued). Broken pavers can be removed by prying them out with a couple of screwdrivers or a thin pry bar. If the paver needs to be cut to fit, be sure to cut it slightly smaller than the length of the opening to allow for sand to be repacked around it.

Photo By: SylvieBouchard

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