Planning an Outdoor Space: Choosing Material

When planning an outdoor space, choose material that is beautiful and long lasting. There are many materials to choose from, your decision should be based on climate, costs, the purpose for your outdoor space and required maintenance. Outdoor material should be consistent with the style of your home. Outdoor materials will add shape, color and texture to your area for a stunning look.


Wood provides a warm organic look to your outdoor space. It can be used for decks and flooring, overhead structures, railing, fences, stairs and more. High humidity climates will have to watch for mold and mildew damage. Insects, such as termites can also be a problem. Maintenance requires staining and resealing every two to three years.

The most popular choice is PT or pressure treated. Pressure treated wood is the most economical wood material, usually pine it is chemically treated to resist termites and mold. While durable, it can warp and splinter making it important to weatherproof every two years.

Cedar and Redwood are more expensive but highly resistant to decay and insects. They are softs woods and can be easily damaged by foot traffic. Both give a distinct hue as they age.

Tropical hardwoods such as Brazilian are increasingly popular and offer a unique look. They come in a variety of colors and are naturally resistant to decay and insects. The drawback of tropical wood varieties, they are expensive and can be difficult to work with.


Concrete is economical and durable requiring little maintenance. Homeowners should avoid building a concrete patio over electrical or sewer lines in the yard, in case they need dug up in the future.

Poured concrete can be easily manipulated into shapes and is a great choice for a curved patio. If you are looking for a departure from a dull gray finish, stained concrete provides flair with a wide selection of colors. Stamped concrete is created to mimic the look of brick or natural stone to provide texture to the surface.

Concrete pavers come in various sizes, shapes, colors and patterns. Pavers are more affordable than natural stone. They are installed in pieces and shift under a heavy weight or extreme weather rather than crack like concrete. One can be replaced at a time if damaged rather than the entire area.


For those who prefer the splendor of grass, there are several options. If you are looking for immediate gratification, sod or synthetic grass might be a good choice. Synthetic grass has come a long way thanks to technology. It now has a more natural softer look and is recommended for those with pets. Sod has come down in price over the years and can be installed anytime during the year. You can be the envy of the neighborhood with lush green yard year around.

Planting grass is the way to go for those with a green thumb and interested in savings. Preparation is the key to a beautiful lawn. Your local climate will determine if you should plant cool or warm season grasses. If you are not sure, check with a local nursery.

Determining the best materials for your outdoor space will be contingent upon function, affordability, maintenance, budget and style. There is no shortage of selections when it comes to planning your ideal outdoor escape

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