There are a lot of new materials coming out for patio use, many of which are stamped, colored, and otherwise made to look like natural stone. In most cases, however, real stone is a perfectly suitable material to use on your patio, and in fact it may even be cheaper than the synthetic alternatives. The key is to make sure that you’re using stones thick enough to survive freeze-thaw conditions, as well as those stones that can take the wear and tear of patio use.
One of the most popular types of stone used on patios is slate. Chinese and Brazilian slates come in a wide range of brilliant colors, most with a naturally cleft texture that makes them an excellent, non-skid option for patios. They come in sizes up to 24-inches, and can be laid in a variety of different patterns.
Bluestone is another popular stone that has been used on patios for decades. Bluestone has a deep blue/gray color, a light texture, and can come in a variety of edging styles from chiseled to honed. Available in multiple sizes, bluestone is also suitable for designing patterns and walkways through your patio and garden.
Flamed granite is becoming an increasingly popular choice in some areas well. Flaming the stone removes the weakest particles from its surface, giving it a deep, rough texture. After flaming, the granite is impervious to many issues such as etching and staining, which makes it excellent in areas that get a lot of rain and snow. It may not always be available in as many sizes as the other stones, which can make creating patterns slightly more difficult.
If you live in a dry or hot climate that doesn’t see any freeze/thaw, you may also want to consider limestone for your patio. Limestone’s soft color and appearance make it a beautiful choice to complement gardens and lanais. Unfortunately this stone doesn’t hold up as well in harsher climates without cracking or wearing unevenly.
Natural stone is a very beautiful and viable option for patios everywhere. Consider it as your material of choice the next time you decide to repave.