At Carex Design Group, we design and manage the construction process for a lot of patios. It’s one of the most common requests we hear from homeowners in and around Knoxville, Tenn.

When considering the addition of a patio to your landscaping, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Location

One of the first questions I ask clients who are thinking about a patio for their landscaping in Knoxville is “How to do you plan to use it?” Are you a coffee drinker who likes to enjoy a morning cup of Joe outside? Are you a University of Tennessee football fan who likes to throw great fall football parties? Do your children or pets use the space in the evenings after the sun has gone down? The use can help determine location and surrounding features such as landscape planting and landscape lighting. For that coffee drinker, we’d plan for some planting that would block the morning sunshine. For the football fan, we’d position the patio to allow for afternoon sun on chilly fall days. And for your children and pets, we can plan for landscape lighting to make navigating your patio space safer.

2. Material

west-hills-carex-design-group-knoxvillepaver-patio-knoxville-carex-design-groupMaterial is another important choice when thinking about your next patio project. Do you like to be barefoot when you’re outside? If so, you’ll probably want to avoid natural stone because it has a rough texture and large joints that aren’t friendly to your feet.

Concrete could be a good option if you’re on a budget and you’re living in a house that you don’t plan to stay in for long. Concrete patios can be slightly more affordable than pavers but they will crack eventually so aren’t as good for long-term investment. Pavers are a great all around choice for any patio as many brands have lifetime warranties to protect against cracking or color fading, which are both uncommon.

For clients who like DIY outdoor projects, a paver patio is the easiest option. Finishing concrete can require some unique tools and is tough to master right out of the gate. And natural stone can be challenging to lay out because of irregular pieces and the chore of leveling the stones. The uniform size and shape of pavers make them an easier choice for DIY patios.

3. Seating

Clients often ask me about built-in seating options for patios. I encourage built-in seating but usually only as an overflow option so when you’re entertaining a crowd there are plenty of spaces for guests to plop down. Since built-in patio seating isn’t typically the most comfortable, I generally suggest that clients plan to incorporate other seating options, and leave space for such items in the patio design. It’s also important to first consider what other types of furniture or accessories you’d like to include in your patio. For example, we can plan space for you to park your grill or incorporate an awesome art piece like we did for this patchwork-looking paver patio pictured below.


4. Unseen Costs

paver-patio-retaining-wall-construction-carex-design-groupIt’s important to remember that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to patio pricing. Materials costs will not only include the concrete, stones or pavers you select for your patio but will also include base-layer material such as gravel and sand as well as costs for managing drainage issues or grading changes. Additionally, building a patio can be a messy process. For most projects, plans include sod, grass seed and straw or plants and mulch to repair the area around the patio at the conclusion of construction, all of which will add additional costs.

When seeking out pricing, I caution you to be leary of landscaping contractors who provide you a price per square foot (especially if they haven’t even been out to see your property). Each project is unique and many variables go into the construction process. For that reason, it’s nearly impossible to ballpark a price without some calculation.

For help planning, designing or building your next patio project, fill out our contact form or call 865-765-5550.


  1. says

    Thanks for the information on what unseen costs to expect from my patio installation. I’m looking to renovate my backyard this summer and am hoping to install a patio. I will definitely follow your advice and be cautious with landscaping contractors who give me a price per square foot estimate.

  2. says

    I like that you mention unseen costs because there are a lot of costs that you may not account for that can cost you some more money. To me, I find it important to thing of everything you will be paying for and write it down. As you look into a patio builder, ask about the side costs that you could be paying for. Then you are better prepared and can make sure that you have more than enough money to cover the expenses.

  3. says

    Thanks for the great post. We just moved into a home with a large yard but a small and rather bland patio. We really want to make a space where people can comfortable eat and relax, so I’m glad that you mentioned seating. I think we’ll go with built-in seating because it’ll last longer than furniture. Hopefully we can get someone who’ll make it look as good as your pictures!

  4. says

    I really like the seating idea. I never thought to include seats and steps in the same area. It would create a really cool look! You might have trouble walking around if everyone is sitting on the stairs though! Thanks for the cool ideas!

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