Discover Outdoor Flooring Ideas This Weekend
A good lawn is the heartbeat of any backyard. But, living the backyard life to the fullest means your yard will inevitably experience some wear and tear. That’s where outdoor flooring comes into play. In this episode of Done-In-A-Weekend Projects, join host Doug Scott as he walks you through the pros and cons of a variety of outdoor flooring ideas and materials. You choose the one that best fits your backyard lifestyle.
What’s Outdoor Flooring?
When most people think “flooring,” they tend to think of the numerous types that are commonly found indoors. However, what many don’t realize is that flooring isn’t limited to the inside of your home. It’s also used outside to help define areas of your yard, act as a foundation for a dining or entertainment area, or to keep your grass healthy by providing a solid (and stylish) path for high traffic areas. And, it comes in a wide variety of options ranging from standard concrete, to manufactured stone pavers, pea gravel, rot-resistant wood, mulch, and even moss. That allows it to serve a wide range of functional and aesthetic needs.
Ideas for Outdoor Flooring Materials
Just like you need to carefully consider the flooring choices inside your home, you need to evaluate what look you want in your yard when selecting your outdoor flooring. In fact, you need to be even more considerate when thinking up outdoor flooring ideas. There’s always an additional aspect to consider: Mother Nature.
When picking your flooring, the general rule is to select options that are less structured further away from your home. You’re also more likely to traverse the areas closer to your home, so you’ll need more solidified materials—such as pavers or wood decking—to withstand higher traffic. Likewise, you’re less likely to frequent areas on the fringes of your property. That means you can take a more aesthetic approach for those—prioritizing looks over function with moss, gravel, or mulch.
Moss and other “steppable” ground covers, such as dwarf mondo grass, are a perfect outdoor flooring idea for areas with minimal foot traffic. They help you achieve a nature-oriented look and provide a great contrast to the manufactured options closer to your home. However, the major concern with moss as an outdoor flooring is how it reacts to your yard’s ecosystem. If the growing conditions are right, it’s incredibly low maintenance. But if the conditions aren’t favorable, or if Mother Nature has a few bad days, it can become an eyesore and a maintenance nightmare. So, it’s best to research if your yard can support this type of organic flooring before making any purchases.
And, cost matters when considering moss. If you need to go out and purchase some, the prices can range greatly. But if you already have moss on your property, then no sweat—it’s free!
Moving closer to your home, mulch is an affordable option that helps keep your outdoor spaces looking natural. Commonly used to decorate landscape beds or the areas alongside paths, many people don’t realize that it’s a great alternative to be used for the paths themselves. It can also be used as flooring for a kids’ play place or an informal dining or living area. Like moss, the maintenance is low, but it’ll need to be replenished periodically as the colors fade and the elements wear it down.
For a deep-dive on mulch, check out our Done-In-A-Weekend Projects video for some ideas on which type is best for your yard.
There are a wide variety of aggregates to match the look you’re aiming to achieve—including crushed granite, pea gravel, and slate chips. Aggregates are cheap, easy to install, easy to maintain, and add a natural look to your yard. They’re a great flooring option for areas with drainage issues.
However, you’ll need to replenish them occasionally, or build a border with stone or brick around them. They tend to get worn down or washed away. But before purchasing any aggregates, there are a few points you need to consider. Pea gravel is great if you want a softer flooring option, but it can give under your feet and create unstable footing. And, if you have young kids, you might want to avoid aggregates entirely. A little gravel in the hand of a child is an instant threat to any windows or people around.
When choosing wood flooring for your yard, there are a wide variety of options to choose from—from naturally rot-resistant wood, to pressure treated, and manufactured. However, the type you choose depends on your budget and how much time and work you’re willing to invest into maintaining it.
Wood is incredibly versatile and can easily be cut and customized to fit any style and space you desire. It provides a smooth, level surface for entertainment and furniture. Wood can be painted or stained to any color you choose. Manufactured wood can be expensive, but thankfully requires very minimal maintenance. Natural wood options, on the other hand, require regular staining and sealing.
If you’re looking for a flat, stable surface for your outdoor spaces, concrete is the best choice on the market. While it might not be the most stylish, it can always be beautified with various stains and stamp patterns that mimic brick or stone.
While it’s another fairly low-maintenance option, concrete is prone to cracking, and stamped concrete will need to be sealed periodically. And those repairs can become annoying and expensive down the line. So, it’s best to be mindful of any tree roots or areas that are prone to settling in your yard before laying any down.
Our last outdoor flooring idea, stone, comes in two distinct types: natural stone and manufactured pavers. Both are durable and are a great way to transition from formal to natural in your yard.
Natural stone is generally the most expensive outdoor flooring choice, but it’s a price well worth it. It’s durable and comes in a wide variety of choices, each serving a different aesthetic need. Likewise, manufactured pavers come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, and have the added benefit of affordability.
However, both options require periodic sealing and staining to retain their appearance and durability. But, if done right, they’ll last you for many, many years. And you can always try your hand at installing your own paver walkway. It’s a good idea to defer to a professional for the best results.
And that’s it! Now that you have a variety of outdoor flooring ideas at your disposal, all there’s left to do is imagine what look you want, purchase your materials, and bring your dream yard to life. Your backyard life will be better off for it.