The hardscaping in your yard, which is the non-plant elements of the landscape, provide the bones of your backyard's design. The focal point of these elements is usually the patio, with walkways and paths all leading to or from this central area. Giving these two important hardscaping elements—the patio and paths—a facelift can provide an instant improvement to your home's appearance.
For concrete patios and paths, simple resurfacing is the quickest and easiest way to improve the appearance. Your concrete is a good candidate for resurfacing if it doesn't have any major uneven areas or tree root damage that is lifting the slabs. A new surface will fix any cracks or pitting on the surface.
When resurfacing, don't settle for flat gray concrete. You can have the concrete tinted a variety of colors, such as terracotta or a nearly black slate gray. Decorative stamping is also an option, so your concrete can resemble stone or brick. A final option is to add texture with the addition of gravel aggregate to the concrete mixture.
Say It With Tile
Perhaps your patio and walkways are in good condition, but just a bit boring. Tile provides a simple way to improve the appearance and add a pop of color. You can add tile borders around the edges of the walks and patio, or you can cover the entire surface with tile.
Choose a tile rated for outdoor use. Stone and ceramic tiles are both available in outdoor varieties, which are created to withstand weathering and temperature stresses. You will also want to use a tile glue and grout that is made for outdoor use, because it will expand and contract in response to temperature fluctuations, which helps prevent cracking.
Make a Floating Deck
Decks are all the rage, so why not give your patio the look of a deck. Floating deck tiles snap together over the top of your existing concrete patio. Wood tiles are available, but resin varieties are more common and durable. These varieties won't require staining but they have the look of real wood.
When you opt for decking tiles, keep in mind that it will elevate your patio several inches. You may want to build up the landscaping around the edges of the decking to prevent tripping and to help tie the new deck into the landscaping. Creating raised border beds and softening the edges of the deck with flowers and low-growing bushes will pull everything together.