The vast majority of the western world use the term “patio” with no thought of where the word came from or even why we use it.

The patio, in its modern form, is a relatively new addition to the home, and one that has taken on many different meanings over the years.

What is a patio?

A patio etymology (/ˈpætioʊ/,[1], (from Spanish: [ˈpatjo]; “courtyard”, “forecourt”, “yard”, “little garden”) is an outdoor area, generally utilized for dining or leisure, that adjoins a home and is usually paved.

In Australia, the term may refer to roofed structures such as a veranda, which give shelter from the sun and rain.

Where is a Patio Located?

Patios are typically located at the back of a house and may be connected to the back door, or they may be a separate structure.

Patios can also be located on the side of a house, but this is less common.

When Was the Word Patio First Used?

A patio is a Spanish term for a courtyard sort of space. It was taken into English in the early 20th century – you can see it in P.G. Wodehouse’s tale from 1931.

A patio, whether concrete, brick, asphalt or any other material, is always paved and adjoins the home or structure on the outside.

What is the History of the Patio?

Prior to the 1940s, dining al fresco at restaurants in North America was unusual. In the 1950s, New York’s Hotel St. Moritz billed itself as the first real continental cafe with outside seating, according to its website. In the 1960s, Toronto’s The Star newspaper praised Toronto for having the city’s first patio.

Patio pronunciation in Spanish

Patio Pronunciation In Spanish
Patio Pronunciation In Spanish

Spanishdict Phonetic Alphabet (SPA) – “pah – tyoh”

International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) “pa – tjo”

Spanish Alphabet (ABC) “pa – tio”

Similar Words

courtyard noun

cour, cour de château, cour de maison

terrace noun, verb

terrasse, gradin, terrasser, rangée de maisons, arranger en terrasse

veranda noun


quad noun, verb

quad, quadrilatère, cour carrée, quadriller

The Different Types Patios

The Different Types Patios
The Different Types Patios

You may be interested in our article – What Is The Best Paving For Patios?

There are 9 different types of patio or what we commonly call patios:

Clay brick patio

A clay brick patio also referred to as (clay brick pavers) or (dutch clay) is built from fired clay bricks.

Clay brick is a popular traditional choice for patios and has been used for centuries. The natural color of clay brick will weather to a warm terracotta over time.

Clay brick pavers are also slip-resistant which makes them an excellent choice for outdoor spaces such as patios, pool decks, walkways, and also areas that suffer from heavy rain.

When people are building patios out of brick, they sometimes use reclaimed clay pavers from old Victorian brick buildings or bricks that are left over from other construction projects.

Cut stone/flagstone patio

Sometimes the cut stone is referred to as (stone tile) or (flagstone) and is a natural or manufactured stone that has been cut into thin pieces.

The popularity of natural flagstone for patios has grown in recent years because of the wide variety of colors, textures, and styles available.

Flagstone can be used to create any size patio and comes in both rectangular and irregular shapes.

Each piece of flagstone is unique and will weather to a different color depending on the type of stone and how it’s treated.

Both expensive and inexpensive options exist for patio surfaces. It all depends on the type of cut stone you pick.

Marble is one of the more costly choices available, but it can look fantastic when done properly.

Even some of the less expensive cut stone alternatives, such as sandstone, may appear extremely beautiful if installed correctly.

Gravel patio

When most people think of a patio, they don’t necessarily think of a gravel patio. However, gravel patios can be quite a cost-effective option and are growing in popularity for those on a budget.

A gravel patio can be made of any type of gravel, but the most popular options are crushed limestone, pea gravel, or river rock.

You may get gravel in bulk from landscaping supply businesses and home construction building centers.

Which gravel is best for patios?

Pea gravel is one of the most cost-effective and easy patio materials. This outdoor DIY project is quick to complete, and maintaining the patio over time will be a breeze.

Paver patios

Patios made of pavers are constructed from individual little bricks. When they are first set, they have a lot of gaps that are filled with sand.

Over time, the sand may wash away, and it must be replenished and maintained. Other trash and weed seeds will enter if the joints aren’t topped off with sand.

The easiest way to consider a paver patio complex is to imagine it as a puzzle.

Paving stones that resemble the appearance and feel of concrete, bricks, or other traditional materials fit together to form a patterned surface with natural gaps between each unit.

Brick patios

A brick patio may be built in a variety of designs. The pattern is only for aesthetics, and the brick surface works exactly the same regardless of it.

On top of that, there’s a smooth layer of sand and landscape fabric on top. The bricks are laid down on the ground, then covered with gravel compacted beneath, followed by a smooth layer of sand.

The most popular form of a brick patio is the herringbone pattern. This is where the bricks are laid in a zigzag pattern. It’s a very classic look that will never go out of style.

Sand patios

Similar to a gravel patio, another inexpensive budget option is using sand as your patio surface.

A properly done sand patio will have a finished, hard surface that can last for years with proper maintenance.

One downside to sand patios is that they can be quite messy, and the sand can get tracked inside your home.

You’ll just need to level it out to create a nice location for your patio.

Slate patios

Natural stone slate patios are fast becoming the modern choice for those who want a patio that will last forever with very little maintenance.

Slate is a metamorphic rock that is split into thin sheets. It comes in a variety of colors, including gray, black, green, and blue.

The natural clefts and fissures in the stone add to the rustic look of a slate patio and also make it less likely to show dirt or dust.

Slate is a lovely paving stone material. It is thought to be long-lasting and stain-resistant, owing to its dense, low-maintenance nature. Slatestone has a long lifespan on gardens and driveways due to its high durability and resistance to stains. The colorings of slate stone grow more intricate and complex, it improves with age.

The only problem with slate is it does require constant maintenance. A sealant must be reapplied every few years to keep it looking new. It is also one of the most expensive options.

Are slate patios slippery?

Slate has been utilized in outdoor and wet areas for a long time, and because of its natural features, it is non-slippery.

Natural cracks in unpolished slate tiles with tumbled tiles increase traction.

Related: Patio Laying Guide (In Just a Weekend)

Concrete patios

Concrete patios or cement-based patios offer a unique place for outside living spaces because they are usually connected to the house and blend the interior with the exterior living areas.

Concrete patios are also becoming more popular as an important component in today’s homes.

Concrete is a popular material for patios because it can be made to look very similar to other natural stone materials like brick or stone.

It can also be stamped with a variety of textures and colors to create a more custom look.

One downside to concrete is that it can crack if not properly maintained. It must be sealed and resealed on a regular basis, and it’s important to avoid using de-icing salts on it in the winter.

You may be interested in – Can You Remove Cat Urine From Concrete?

Wood patio

A wood patio is in essence a wooden deck laid over grass, gravel, or part of a paved patio area.

The great thing about a wood patio is that it can be made to fit any size or shape you want.

You also have a lot of options when it comes to the type of wood you use.

The downside to a wood patio is that it needs to be treated and stained every few years to keep it looking nice, and it can be prone to rotting if not properly maintained.

Oftentimes, people produce feature wood patios that are either at the end of the garden or in the middle.

They sometimes have pagodas (gazebos), pergolas, or arbors on them alongside garden furniture for a perfect outdoor living space.

Restaurant Patio

Patio is a more generic term for outside seating at restaurants, especially in Canadian English.

While popular in Europe long before 1900, dining al fresco at restaurants in North America was uncommon until the 1940s.

Different Materials (Paving Surfaces)

The more natural the material is the more expensive it will be and the more maintenance it will require.

The cost of materials is only one factor in deciding which type of patio to build.

You also need to take into account the cost of installation, as well as the cost of future repairs and maintenance.

Take a look at the different types of materials that are used to make patios:


Porcelain is a more contemporary material and doesn’t require too much maintenance. Porcelain tiles are a great idea for a patio as they are durable and available in lots of different colors and styles. Plus, they can be quite cheap if you shop around.

One downside to porcelain tiles is that they can be quite slippery when wet. You might need to add some non-slip protection to the surface if you’re worried about people slipping on them.

Related: What Is Cheaper, Poured Concrete Or Pavers?

Natural stone

Natural stone is made from 100% natural stone and the colors vary from stone to stone. It’s a beautiful and timeless look for your patio that will never go out of style.

One downside to natural stone is that it can be quite expensive, depending on the type of stone you choose. And, it does require regular maintenance to keep it looking its best.

Natural granite

Granite is a natural stone that is formed from the earth’s crust. It is one of the most durable natural stones and can last for centuries with proper care.

One downside to granite is that it is one of the more expensive natural stones. But, it’s well worth the investment, as you’ll never have to worry about replacing it on a regular basis.

Granite is a very hard, durable material that doesn’t scratch easily. It is also resistant to staining and fading, so it will maintain its beauty for many years.

Natural limestone

The great thing about limestone is the fact that it can be found in many countries around the world. This means that there is a good variety of colors and textures to choose from.

Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed by the accumulation of shell, coral, and algae, or direct crystallization from water or mineral-rich groundwater.

One disadvantage of limestone is that it may be quite soft and easily scratch. It also requires sealing on a regular basis to protect it from the elements.

Natural slate

Natural slate is a fine-grained foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock.

The colorings of slate stone grow more intricate and complex, it improves with age.

The reason why they are great for patios is that, as a natural product, no two slates will ever be the same. This gives your patio a really unique and special look.

A popular choice for customers of natural slate is Brazilian Grey Slate, which is a mid-grey color with a mix of purples and greys running through it.

One downside to natural slate is that, as a natural product, it can be quite fragile and susceptible to breaking. So, you’ll need to take extra care when installing and transporting it.

Natural sandstone

Sandstone is a beautiful natural stone made popular by its distinctive style and colors. It comes in a variety of colors, from light beige to deep reds and browns.

When the stone is wet, its natural hues become more vivid, providing a stunning finish to any garden or patio.


Concrete is a man-made product and is basically a mixture of aggregates and paste. The aggregates are usually limestone, granite, or other rocks, and the paste is usually made up of water, cement, and sand.

Concrete is a popular choice for patios as it can be molded into any shape or size that you want. It’s also a very affordable option since it isn’t a natural stone.


What is a patio and example?

A patio is a paved outside space adjacent to a home or business that is utilized as a place to sit and live in. Your patio is made up of the concrete slab extending off of your back kitchen door where you may have a table and chairs for outdoor dining and activities.

Is patio paving or decking cheaper?

Decking is much more affordable since it is faster to install and the materials are much cheaper. However, it doesn’t have the longevity that the patio does. So, if you’re looking for something that will last for a long time, the patio is the better option.

Related: How To Clean A Wooden Deck Without A Pressure Washer

What is the difference between concrete and natural stone?

Concrete is man-made while natural stone is 100% natural. Concrete can be molded into any shape or size, while natural stone comes in a variety of colors and textures. Concrete is also a lot cheaper than natural stone.

Is patio the same as a deck?

No, a patio is not the same as a deck. A deck is an unroofed open-air porch or platform that runs the length of a home. A patio, on the other hand, is a paved surface located directly on the ground that may be connected or detached from a house.

What sizes do paving slabs come in?

The most widely used dimensions are 300 x 300, 300 x 600, and 600 x 600 slabs, with 450 x 450 paving slabs also gaining in popularity.

The British Standard Flag is available in Natural, buff, and red colors, with dimensions ranging from 450mm x 450mm up to 900mm x 600mm.

The Main UK Retailers for Paving Slabs

  • B&Q
  • Landscaping Supplies Direct
  • Marshalls
  • Paving Direct
  • Travis Perkins
  • Wickes
The Patio Guide (Everything You Need To Know)
The Patio Guide (Everything You Need To Know)


1. “Patio in the Oxford Dictionary”

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Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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