You’ve just completed construction of a large, rectangular patio in your backyard. You saw a drawing on the back of a used napkin, were quoted a good price, and signed on the dotted line. The result? An endless sea of uniform brick, in the same pattern, staring at you with overwhelmingly mundane monotony. Your wife is mad at you, your children are in tears, and your dog won’t even look you in the eye. How did it come to this? What could you have done differently?
Could it have been something as simple as a circular flourish to shake things up? This designer says, “Yes!”
When envisioning a potential patio space for our clients, we’re often starting with rectangular lots with space-limiting variables such as trees, pools, and/or nosy neighbours. In these circumstances, a key factor of strong design is to indicate and delineate spaces using different shapes, materials, and paving techniques.
Arguably, the most impactful shape is the circle. Psychologically, the circle promotes community, harmony, and protection. When a circle is artfully and diligently cut into a patio, the shape immediately draws the eye as an interruption to right angles and straight lines. Like the Knights of the Round Table, you and yours can congregate on a circular patio and have meaningful, face-to-face conversations about how best to reclaim Excalibur, or, more likely, how the Jets are doing this year. Circular patios are often designed to serve a specific function, such as framing a fire pit to roast marshmallows or providing a seating area for roasting your neighbours. Other design choices, like low retaining walls, benches, and privacy screens, work to create even more privacy and functionality.
Material choice is a very important aspect of circular patios. Often, flagstone is utilized to further contrast the right angles that dominate the majority of patio spaces. Flagstone also evokes a more rustic, timeless feel. Another important element of circular patios is a soldier course; a border of rectangular or square pavers laid around the outside of the patio. This serves to interrupt the existing pattern and visually highlight the shape in the centre. Using different coloured pavers as a soldier course and/or layering multiple courses adds even more to the decoration of the space and really maximizes the visual aesthetic of the circle.
Remember, nobody wants to be square. Choose a circle.