15 Things to Know Before Installing an Outdoor Patio

An outdoor patio creates the perfect environment for family gatherings and additional space for entertaining. Think about backyard barbeques on a summer day, dinner under the stars on a warm summer evening or just relaxing with your favorite book. You’ll love spending more time outdoors in beautiful northern New Jersey weather.

Installing an outdoor patio in Bergen County will add years of outdoor enjoyment to your home and lifestyle, but good planning is essential. Here are 15 important things to consider before you install an outdoor patio.

Installing Outdoor Patio

1. Patio Use

It’s important to assess your family’s needs and determine how you will use the patio. Do you plan to entertain friends and family? Do you want to include outdoor dining and cooking? Do you want a peaceful place to relax and get away from daily routines? Perhaps you want to do all of the above. How you plan to use your patio will impact other factors such as location, size, budget and maintenance.

2. Convenience

Your patio should provide convenient access to the house and other backyard features like a pool, spa, hot tub or remote terrace. Family and guests should be able to access the patio area with ease. Consider convenient access from the house to the patio for transporting food and drinks, providing quick shelter from unexpected rain and easy bathroom access for guests while entertaining.

3. Comfort

To get the most out of your new patio, consider your comfort. When installing an outdoor patio in Bergen County, choose comfortable seating for dining and lounging. Choose comfortable outdoor furniture that’s easy to move around for versatility and materials that are easy to clean and maintain year-round.

Installing Outdoor Patio

4. Location

For easy entertaining, especially cooking and dining, locate the patio close to your kitchen. Serving guests and after dinner clean-up will be easier and faster. If you plan to install an outdoor kitchen, your patio can be further from the house, since you won’t need to rely on your indoor kitchen as much. If you want to sunbathe, choose a location that gets good sun exposure. If you’re excited about snoozing in a new hammock, choose a shady location or consider adding a roof or awning to the patio.

5. Test the Location

Once you’ve decided on a location, test it out. Before installing an outdoor patio in Bergen County, use string and stakes to outline the patio perimeter and observe the area for a few days. Watch how the sun falls over the area at different times of day. Check maintenance concerns by monitoring debris from falling leaves. Even though your patio will be graded to prevent standing water, avoid choosing a low spot in the yard. Excessive moisture beneath the patio can contribute to weed growth and mildew.

6. Preparation and Building Time

Plan for necessary prep work and building time required for installing an outdoor patio in Bergen County. You will want to hire a professional landscape contractor to ensure best results. Discuss the prep work and installation with your contractor so you’re prepared with scheduling and any household disruptions that may occur. Expect some noise and dust during installation. For safety, keep the kids and pets out of the area.

Installing Outdoor Patio

7. Size

The size of your patio will be influenced by the size of your back yard, but it should also be influenced by how you plan to use the patio. If you want to add an outdoor kitchen, a spa or hot tub or an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, plan a patio size that will accommodate those extra features. In addition, plan for adequate outdoor seating, outdoor storage and patio landscaping. If you plan to entertain, consider space for outdoor heaters that will come in handy on cool evenings.

8. Budget

Plan a patio that meets your budget needs. The location and size of the patio, materials you choose and extra features such as an outdoor kitchen, outdoor fireplace or fire pit, spa or hot tub, landscaping and exterior lighting will all impact your budget. Discuss your wants and needs with your landscape contractor who can help you design and install a patio that meets your needs and your budget.

9. Materials

When installing an outdoor patio in Bergen County, the materials you use will play a big part in the look of your patio, construction costs and maintenance. You have many choices for patio materials such as concrete, brick, natural stone, flagstone and terrazzo. Ideally, the patio should look and feel like a natural extension of your home, so choose materials that compliment your home and landscape. If you build the patio away from the house, choose materials that blend naturally into the landscape.

Installing Outdoor Patio

10. Maintenance

You want a patio that’s easy to maintain year-round in northern New Jersey weather. If you plan to cook and eat on your patio, it’s important to choose materials that resist spills and stains with easy clean-up. Discuss maintenance issues with your landscape contractor who can help you choose the right materials. Outdoor patio materials hold up well against the elements, but may need a sealer to resist stains. This is especially true for natural stones like granite, marble, limestone and slate.

11. Shelter

Your outdoor patio needs shelter from sun, rain, cold, wind and snow. If your patio location gets intense sun, consider adding a permanent roof, retractable awing or canopy or patio umbrellas for shade. For added warmth and comfort on chilly evenings, consider adding patio heaters. When installing an outdoor patio in Bergen County, adequate shelter will contribute to year-round enjoyment.

12. Patio Lighting

Your new patio will need adequate lighting to be functional. If you locate the patio next to the house, install exterior wall mounted fixtures for patio lighting. If your patio has a permanent roof, you can add overhead lighting with recessed lighting, track lighting or outdoor fans that have lights. If you locate the patio in a more remote backyard spot, add post lighting and moveable lanterns.

13. Lush Landscaping

The right landscaping will provide a comfortable, natural setting for outdoor activities and create a tranquil atmosphere for entertaining. Trees, shrubs, plants and flowers can be used to create a patio border for privacy and noise reduction. Patio landscaping will add color, texture, depth and scale to your back yard.

14. Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting will add beauty to your home at night by enhancing  architectural features. It will add depth and interest to your landscape. Uplights and spots will create soft highlights in trees and plants. Pathway lights will provide safety for outdoor walkways. You can create a lovely patio perimeter with plants and low-voltage lighting that enhance the beauty of  your patio.

15. Utility Lines

Don’t forget to consider your plumbing, septic and electrical lines buried in the back yard. Without knowing where your utility lines are located, you could be forced to dig up your patio for utility line repairs. Your landscape contractor can advise you on utility lines and interference with your patio location.