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Expand the space of relaxation and entertainment of your home by installing an outdoor patio or deck. Special consideration of patio/deck placement, size and material give your home an added touch for welcoming guests and maximizing the fun of your home. Exterior shapes and structures in your yard are key factors in giving your personal space a beautiful landscape.

Future outdoor dining and entertaining call for a large deck or patio space. Consider the shape of your patio or deck as well. While the geometric square or rectangle is a popular option, varying the outer line of the structure will give it an interesting edge--scalloped patios have an exotic feel, but be sure the shape of the patio and house are not too dissonant. Modern houses clash with traditional patios/decks and vice versa.

While decks are typically made out of pressure-treated lumber, there are a variety of other durable synthetic materials currently available for deck construction. Note, however, that appearance and durability are two factors that change the cost. Patio materials range as well, from stone, brick and concrete pavers or slabs to interlocking pavers and tiles. Where interlocking pavers often formalize the patio with a refined layer, natural stone or cement make for an informally rustic space.

Now that shape and material of your deck or patio are settled, you can move onto choice of greenery around the deck or patio. Perimeter plantings usually vary in height and leave a space for exiting the deck or patio. Although annuals are good for short-term color, long-term perennials are often a better choice. Slow growing plants or plants that can withstand regular trimmings are good for curbing wild spreading. Take the flowering season into account--that is, balance spring and summer blooming to maximize the total flowering time. In a colder climate, consider evergreens for year-long color.