The best concrete patio is an outdoor living space — a true extension of your home.

This is especially true during the warm summer months, when nothing beats the gorgeous, rain-free Pacific Northwest weather.

After this lovely summer we’ve had, have you been imagining what it might be like to have an outdoor entertaining and living space next year? To help you along, here are some helpful tips based on our experience here at Custom Concrete Contracting.

What should my patio space include?

Concrete retaining walls for hillside homes, stamped concrete patio, Bellingham WA

Many Whatcom County patios feature comfortable lounge seating, cooking stations, dining tables and integrated planters.

One common mistake people often make when designing their own outdoor patios is to pour a giant slab right outside the back door. Think about it: Do you really live that way? When you entertain, will everyone be seated, meeting-style, in one space outside the back door?

More likely, people will gravitate to different areas of your yard in smaller groups. That’s the opinion of Scott Cohen, who shares helpful advice in this article and video for Concrete Network.

How big should my patio be?

A good rule of thumb is to allocate a certain amount of space to each specific function. Some experts lay it out this way:

  • Coffee seating (small table, two chairs): a circle 7 feet in diameter or a square 6 feet on each side. Envision a small balcony with room for a round table and two chairs, with additional space for a potted plant or two and even a small barbecue.
  • Outdoor dining (standard table with seating for six): a circle 14 feet in diameter or a 12×12 square. When people pull out their chairs to sit down or to relax, you want to ensure there’s still room for people to walk behind — and you certainly don’t want chairs to be in danger of falling off the patio.
  • Living room (couch, chairs and footstools, coffee table, etc.): a circle 18 feet in diameter or a 16×16 square. Remember that you want to accommodate the furniture while also leaving plenty of room for traffic flow.

A little final advice

Stamped concrete patio overlooking the water

When designing your outdoor spaces, be sure to plan plenty of room for the greatest possible use while not paying for spaces that don’t end up being used.

To recap, here are three simple guidelines for planning your concrete patio:

  1. Ensure the patio is big enough for current and future needs. What sorts of activities do your family and friends like to engage in, and what kind of space do you need for it?
  2. Don’t pay for space you’ll never use. Think about how you currently live to determine how you’re likely to use your new outdoor space.
  3. Break up your patio into several smaller “rooms” that are well-suited to how you’ll use your yard.

For help putting all of this together, please give us a call at Custom Concrete Contracting in Bellingham.