When building your deck or patio, experts suggest thinking about how much privacy you want before you settle on a design. Photo courtesy of The Landscape Artist

Whether building a patio or deck, new materials are expanding creative possibilities

Summer is coming and Calgarians are once again preparing to soak up as much good weather and outdoor living as possible. There’s no better place to enjoy a warm summer day than on your very own deck or patio. So, if you’re thinking about building or enhancing, it’s a good time to consider your options.

Peter Van Seggelen, owner of The Landscape Artist Inc., says a patio or deck should be viewed as part of an overall landscaping plan, which can include benches, pathways, or features like an outdoor fireplace.

“But it all ties part and parcel into the patio or the deck. That’s the main thing that gets you out there,” he said.

Seggelen says the decision between a deck, patio, or both, depends on the look you are going for, and the layout of your yard
and home.

When discussing options with his clients, Seggelen likes to survey the yard to see how much privacy there is from neighbours. If the yard is quite exposed, a low patio is a better choice than a raised deck.

A homeowner also needs to keep in mind the style of their home when considering what material to use, says Seggelen. For instance an aggregate concrete patio goes well with a modern house, while cobblestone or Roman paving stone complements English cottage style homes.

It gives the client a huge advantage and a lot of different selections compared with even five or 10 years ago.

Don Eckardt, owner of A Better Landscaper Inc., says brand new materials for both patios and decks are raising the bar on what design styles can be achieved. Eckardt says paving stones are now produced in a huge range of sizes, colours and patterns – including ones that look just like natural flagstone.

“They have done spectacular things with pre-cast concrete,” he said. “It gives the client a huge advantage and a lot of different selections compared with even five or 10 years ago.”

The latest composite deck boards are virtually maintenance free, says Eckardt. The variety of colours allows for creative features like picture borders, diagonal inlay, or the building of matching benches or a pergola. The possibilities are only limited by imagination and a homeowner’s budget.

“No matter what price range people are into, they still consider that deck or patio as an extension of their living space. And however they can afford it, they are still trying to create that.”

With so many materials on the market, making selections can be daunting. So here’s a look at some of the most popular options for decks and patios:


A pressure-treated wood deck is still the best value. Or you can build with cedar, which looks great, is naturally rot resistant,
and comes kiln dried so it is less prone to splitting.


Maintenance-free, other than a quick wash now and then,
high-end composites often come with a hidden clip attachment system. This means provides an unblemished deck
without any visible screw holes.


Installed over a thick plywood base, vinyl washes clean easily and is a good choice for a balcony or high-level deck since the gap-free surface creates a “roof” over the area below, meaning it can be used for additional outdoor living space.


The ultimate choice is Indonesians hardwood. It’s a naturally weather resistant version of indoor hardwood that resists denting. When oiled, it creates a spectacular looking deck.


A simple, poured concrete patio with a brushed finish is an option, but the modern trend is “stamped” concrete with patterns and colours that mimic real stone, tiles or even wood. Exposed
aggregate concrete is when the tiny stones within the mix are exposed as a top surface.

Paver Stones

Gone are the days of simple brick-size stones set in a basic herringbone layout. The new patterns and colours available can create a patio that often goes hand in hand with matching
retaining walls, walkways or stairs.