Patios Trends: Enjoy Autumn Outdoors

Written by Gloria Ballard

September 15, 2022


If your home doesn’t already include a patio, these cooling days and nights may have you thinking it’s time to include this feature to your landscape. Whether you have acres of lawn or a small bit of space outside your back door, it’s possible to have a “room” where you can enjoy being outdoors in all seasons.

“A patio can be your own personal escape,” says Eric VanGrinsven, a landscape designer with the Gardens of Babylon design team. The designers are skilled in creating unique patio spaces among the hardscape elements as part of an overall landscape design. They report that today’s patio trends can range from small, intimate spaces to expansive outdoor living rooms and kitchens that can accommodate a crowd.

Surface Matters

Most patio designs start on the surface. “I am finding clients to want a clean and easy to care for patio and garden, says landscape designer Max Finkbeiner. “My clients prefer natural stone or clay pavers as opposed to manufactured brick due to the timeless nature of natural stone. They don’t mind the cost savings of concrete as long as it is simple, sharp and elegant.”

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Designer Chloe Barrett also notes that many homeowners opt for stamped and dyed concrete, “in a natural stone pattern or herringbone brick,” she explains. “It tends to be easier to clean and maintain, and has a reduced up-front cost.” 

But flagstone patios also continue to be popular, says landscape architect Ryan Fogarty. “I am finding that a lot of my clients are tending toward a more natural stone slab patio with gravel joints,” she says. “The joints are irregular and wide, but it does provide for more of a permeable surface than your typical wet laid flagstone patio.”

Warming Trend

“Most of my clients tend to want patios for entertaining space that can be flexible for summer” – grills, games, water tables for kids and so forth – “then use a wood-burning fire pit in the cooler months,” says Barrett. 

The challenges of the past three years brought fire pits into even sharper focus, as families planned outdoor spaces to gather with friends and family during the pandemic. Requests for wood-burning or gas-fired fire pits built into a design plan have seen an uptick in the past couple of years, says Fogarty. Style choices run the gamut, from rustic stacked stones to designs that are sleek and modern, or anything in between. Fire pits with seating walls keep the outdoors cozy, and the option for a gas-fired fire pit makes it easy to enjoy a fire with less fuss. 


More recently, designers have seen requests for more flexibility. “I have noticed that Solo Stoves [a brand of smokeless, stainless steel portable fire pits] seem to be the going trend for fire pits, as they can be moved,” Fogarty says. “With our temperatures trending upward, most of my clients would prefer the fire pit to be moveable so that the patio surface becomes more of a mixed-use space.”

Dining with Friends 

If your patio area is small and just outside your back door, the outdoor kitchen may be nothing more than a grill, a small table and a couple of chairs. If you have the space (and the budget), there are no limits to what you can include in your al fresco kitchen: Refrigerator and sink? Check. Fireplace? Of course. Pizza oven? Why not? 

Outdoor Kitchen

For an expansive outdoor kitchen, one component that designer Mike Omar believes is crucial is a bar or counter space, which becomes the gathering place for family and guests. “You can never have too much counter space,” he says. And shelter of some sort, such as covered porches or pergolas – may also be incorporated into a patio design. “My pergola requests seem to lean toward simple, modern designs,” Finkbeiner says.

Planning your patio? Book a consultation with a Gardens of Babylon landscape design team professional here.


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