Can you create the perfect outdoor living space with a new patio?

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During the long, hot summers, your outdoor living space can have a huge impact on your quality of life--especially while it's still safer to socialise mostly outdoors when in larger groups. A good patio gives you somewhere to cook, eat, talk, laugh and be with your friends and family, and can go a long way to raising the value of your home should you ever wish to sell. But how can you, as a layperson, figure out what the best patio solution for your home is—and find someone reputable to lay it?

Think outside the box about how to use your outdoor space

Barbecues and paddling pools are fantastic and well worth considering, but they're not the only ways to transform your garden into the heart of your home. Think through the ways you'd like to use your garden: would you like a covered area for music, dancing and outdoor soft furnishings? How can you give yourself a magical al fresco dining space? What would your kids like to use a patio for, and can you create a play area for them to let their imaginations run wild? There are no limits--so don't consider a patio useful only for a BBQ and a picnic table.

Consult the experts early on in the process

If you're not sure you know what's possible or what you can afford, start picking your patio builders sooner rather than later. They'll have experience with patio design, and a solid grasp of what will work best for you and your garden. If you can, the best way to find someone is via word of mouth--so ask around your local area to see if anyone has a good contractor to recommend. Otherwise, make sure you read through as many reviews as possible before you make your choice--and don't be afraid to shop around a little if you're not sure you're on the same wavelength as the first company you speak with.

Consider turning your new patio into a true investment

Outdoor living spaces can add thousands to the eventual selling price of a home, especially in warmer parts of the country where there are months of opportunity to use them every year. Even if you're not thinking of selling up, there's a good chance that your inheritors will benefit—and in the meantime, you can't put a price on a beautiful, customised space for yourself and your family to enjoy. So if it's possible, splash out a little; this could be a true investment for your and your family's future.

For more information, contact a patio builder near you.