Great examples from around the West

Lauren Bonar Swezey

How to builda circular patio

There's something inherently comforting about a circle. Putyourself in the center of a circular patio, for instance, and itsgentle curves seem to embrace you. A circle is the ideal form for asatellite deck or patio where you can relax over morning coffee,dine at dusk, or linger next to a firepit at night. Circular patioscan easily fit into gardens of any style, and they can beconstructed of various materials. (For do-it-yourselfers, a circleis also the easiest shape to draw accurately. Follow our step-by-stepinstructions to build an elegant slate patio.)


A circular patio of tinted concrete aggregate is edged with roseflagstone. The naturalistic spa backing, tough plantings, and thepaving's rosy tones visually connect the patio to the surroundingdesert.

Info: Mary Rose Duffield, Duffield Ratliff Landscape Design,Tucson, AZ (520/577-1241); Rosalee Gage, formerly of Santa RitaLandscaping, Tucson, AZ (520/623-0421)

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Suspended over a koi pond, a circular redwood deck in Gardnerville, NV, is both a viewing platform and shade structure for fish. The nine piers of steel-reinforced concrete that support it were poured in place as an integral part of the pond bottom, as were the steps that appear to float across the water's surface. Both the steps and piers were finished below the waterline with rough-textured black plaster.

Info: James Rowley, Naturally Beautiful Gardens, Minden, NV (775/267-5234)


Rectangular chunks of tumbled Connecticut bluestone, set on a bed of decomposed granite and sand, form a 12-foot-diameter dining patio in a wooded Berkeley backyard.

Info: Vanessa Kuemmerle, Vee Horticulture, Berkeley, CA (510/653-7667); BlueJay Feldman, Blue Ridge Landscape Co., Orinda, CA (925/258-9233)


Large and small aluminum letters, set between irregular chunks of black slate, gives this 8-foot-wide patio in Alameda, California, contemporary flavor.

Info: Shirley Alexandra Watts, Alameda, CA (510/521-5223)


Colored stones, surrounded by pavers of stained concrete, create the illusion of a stream bubbling through the center of this 12-foot patio in Berkeley.

Info: Keeyla Meadows, Keeyla Meadows Gardens & Art, Albany, CA (510/559-1026)

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