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5 Tips for Designing an Awesome Patio: An Interview with Josh Butler of Patios and Walks Landscaping

By Josh Butler

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We are a full-service landscaping company. We offer a full lineup of lawn services: mowing, seeding, thatching, aerating, fertilizing and leaf clean-ups. I am also a Rhode Island Certified Arborist and offer tree services: pruning, planting and removal. And, as the name states, we do patio and walkway installations. I am ICPI (Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute) and NCMA (National Concrete and Masonry Association) certified. I also hold a Rhode Island contractor's license.

What are some of the most popular styles or features for patios in Rhode Island?

Lately most of my installations have involved circle packs. Whether it be a half circle at the base of a set of stairs, or a full circle as a centerpiece for a patio. We've also received lots of calls for outdoor kitchens and fire pits. Driveway aprons are also becoming very popular.

What are the basic choices that a homeowner will need to make when they're designing a new patio?

Simply put, the size of the patio, brand of paver and color. There are thousands of possible combinations of colors, shapes, sizes and textures.

What is one of the biggest challenges that people face during the process?

Agreeing on the size, shape and location of the patio. We have recently purchased design software to assist in the decision-making process.

Can you briefly talk about some things that make patios really enjoyable and comfortable for homeowners?

We create outdoor living spaces for our clients. It may be a short outdoor season up here in Rhode Island but it's well worth it. A nice fire pit will extend that season too.

Do you have any tips for people who want an awesome patio at an affordable price?

The first thing I tell clients to do is place their furniture out - tables, chairs, fire pits, grills and anything else they're going to want on the patio. Then you'll have a really good estimate of the size of the patio needed. The biggest mistake people make is misjudging the size patio they need.

The second most important thing is quality. Don't go with subpar Home Depot products/pavers. You'll end up spending more time and money in the long run. And make sure whoever you choose as the contractor knows what he or she is doing! Ask to see work from more than two years prior. Any installation will look good the day it's put down, so make sure their work stands the test of time and frost heaves.

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