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Comparing 5 Patio Designs for Your Michigan Home

July 5th, 2024 | 4 min read

By Christine Gauthier

comparing patio designs for your michigan home fire pit with outdoor furniture custom built okemos

Are you frustrated with your current outdoor space, unsure how to transform it into a functional and inviting area for your family and guests? Without the right patio design, you risk wasting time and money on an outdoor area that doesn't meet your needs or enhance your home's value. You need a well-thought-out plan to avoid ending up with a space that's either underutilized or unsuited to Michigan's unique climate.

We've been there, and we get how daunting this decision can be. At Custom Built Design & Remodeling, we understand the challenges you will face when choosing the right patio design. With over 15 years of experience in the industry, we've helped many Michigan residents create outdoor spaces that are beautiful but also functional and durable.

In this article, you'll discover the pros and cons of five common patio designs and how to choose the best one for your Michigan home:

  1. Pergola-Covered Patios
  2. Outdoor Living Room Patios
  3. Multi-Level Patios
  4. Fire Pit Patios
  5. Screened-In Patios

1. Pergola-Covered Patios

comparing patio designs for your michigan home pergola with foliage and bbq grill area custom built okemos

Pergola-covered patios are a charming addition to any backyard, adding a touch of elegance and architectural interest. These structures often serve as focal points, creating a visually appealing space for relaxation and entertainment. With their open-air design, pergola-covered patios allow for ample airflow, making them ideal for enjoying the outdoors on sunny days.

Let’s take a look at the pros, cons, and design considerations for pergola-covered patios:


  • Adds architectural interest to your yard, creating a focal point.
  • Great spot for hanging fabric for texture or bistro lights for ambiance.


  • Primarily decorative and not very functional.
  • Provides limited protection from sunlight and weather.

Design Considerations:

  • Consider the material and style of your house.
  • Ask yourself: What do I want to achieve with this pergola? This can guide your material choice and overall design.

2. Outdoor Living Room Patios

comparing patio designs for your michigan home outdoor living room with tv and pendant lighting custom built okemos

Outdoor living room patios offer a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces, providing a covered area for relaxation and entertainment. These patios typically feature a roof structure without walls, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors while protecting yourself from the elements.

Here are the pros, cons, and design considerations for outdoor living room patios:


  • Covered, offering protection from the elements.
  • Can incorporate electrical features like TVs and lights.
  • Ideal for placing by the pool for family hangouts and drying off after a swim.


  • Bugs and small animals can get in.
  • Birds might build nests, and debris can blow in, requiring regular cleaning.

Design Considerations:

  • Think about the patio's function: Do you want a fireplace, dining area, kitchenette, or TV area?
  • Decide on the specific features that will make this space functional and enjoyable for your family.

3. Multi-Level Patios

comparing patio designs for your michigan home multi level outdoor living space with fire pit and furniture custom built okemos

Multi-level patios are a modern and sophisticated option for maximizing outdoor space. These patios feature different levels or tiers, offering designated areas for various activities.

Let’s explore more benefits and drawbacks of multi-level patios:


  • Offers a modern and clean look.
  • Can include water features and garden beds.
  • Customizable with concrete and stone, allowing for unique designs.


  • More expensive than other options.
  • Requires careful drainage planning to prevent water damage.
  • Concrete may crack with temperature fluctuations, requiring maintenance.

Design Considerations:

  • Ensure proper slope and drainage to avoid water pooling.
  • Understand that materials like concrete need grooves to prevent cracks, affecting the smoothness of the surface.

4. Fire Pit Patios

comparing patio designs for your michigan home fire pit with outdoor seating custom built okemos

Fire pit patios provide a cozy and inviting outdoor space for gathering around a warm fire. Whether placed away from the house by the lake or at the edge of the property, these patios offer a secluded spot for relaxation and conversation.

Here are more pros and cons, as well as design considerations for building fire pit patios:


  • Creates a secluded area away from the house, perfect for relaxation.
  • Highly customizable, with options for built-in benches and various shapes.


  • More costly than simply placing chairs on the grass.
  • Potential drainage issues with rain and melting snow.

Design Considerations:

  • Decide if you want a built-in, side, or freestanding unit.
  • Choose your fuel option and ensure proper drainage based on the size and patio layout of the fire pit.

5. Screened-In Patios

comparing patio designs for your michigan home screened in outdoor living space with sofas and throw pillows custom built okemos

PC: Better Homes & Gardens

Screened-in patios offer the ultimate protection from bugs and weather, providing a comfortable outdoor space year-round. These enclosed structures create a barrier against insects and outdoor elements, allowing for natural airflow and sunlight. While screened-in patios require more effort and expense to build, they offer unparalleled comfort and versatility for outdoor living.


  • Adding a screened-in patio can enhance your home’s appeal and resale value.
  • The screens provide privacy, making the space more secluded than open patios.
  • The screens keep out insects and pests, making it more comfortable to spend time outside, especially in the evenings.
  • Screened-in patios allow you to enjoy the outdoors, even during rainy or buggy seasons. You can use the space in more weather conditions.


  • Screened-in patios need regular upkeep. Over time, the screens can tear or become damaged and must be repaired or replaced.
  • Screened-in patios are the most expensive addition because they need a lot of materials and labor. Costs can add up quickly, especially if you choose high-quality materials or custom designs.
  • Building a screened-in patio takes a lot of time and effort. It requires careful planning, permits, and skilled professionals for the framing, screening, and roofing, prolonging the project timeline.

Design Considerations:

  • Use weather-safe furniture, as rain can still blow in.
  • If converting an existing deck, it’s usually necessary to tear it down and start fresh, incorporating footings and roofing for a seamless home addition.

Next Steps to Remodeling or Building Your Patio

If you're struggling with your current outdoor space and feeling uncertain about how to create a functional and inviting area, it can be frustrating. Without the right patio design, you risk leaving a space that doesn't meet your needs or enhance your home's value.

By exploring the various patio design options outlined in this article, you’ve gained valuable insights into the design considerations for each option. This information will help you make an informed decision that will ensure your outdoor space is functional and beautiful.

At Custom Built Design & Remodeling, we have over 15 years of experience helping Michigan homeowners transform their outdoor spaces.

Ready to transform your outdoor space? Contact our team of design-build professionals today. Let us help you create the perfect patio for your Michigan home.

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Now that you know more about how common patio designs, let’s explore the top pergolas, the average deck and backyard privacy costs to expect, and the best outdoor heating ideas:

Christine Gauthier