Help with material for small, odd shaped patio
I've been away for a while, because my yard was kind of at at a standstill. I was sick most of last spring so my yard basically had to fend for itself. But this year I am healthy and raring to finish fixing it up. I am seeking some ideas and advice for a small patio area.
Below are pictures of the part of the yard up for the redo. (The compost bin is gone, I couldn't keep the mice out of it.)
I have acquired a seat swing and I love to sit out there at night. I have positioned it the way it is because it gives me the best view of the garden with the least distractions from the obviously very close neighbors in this row house 'hood. I'm planning on installing a small fountain with a garden around it which will be the view from the swing. I might get a little bigger swing someday or I might add some more seating options in spots around the garden, but right now I just want to create something attractive to sit the swing on. Initially I had it on grass, but got sick of mowing and trimming around it. My yard is so small I really want to get rid of the grass all together eventually. Right now it is sitting on these red pavers because I had them sitting around from when I tore out the old path to the garage.
One thing I know for sure, I DO NOT want to continue with the ugly grey paver bricks which are a result of my ill advised collaboration with a "landscape designer." They look ugly with my house, but are functional and here to stay. So whatever I do has to blend in with the grey brick and the red brick of the house. Also, the swing is at an angle for the best view, so not sure how to design the shape of the patio to accomodate that angle but jell with the strong defining rectangular shape of this row house yard.
I have a friend who has flagstones mixed with some type of stone/gravel for her patio. It's not pea gravel, at least it doesn't act like pea gravel. The furniture sits on it OK and it doesn't seem to migrate much and isn't uncomfortable to walk on. I want something permeable so concrete is out. I'd really like it to be just some type of grey gravelish kind of thing but maybe that is problematic. I'm not sure what kind of shape either I'm thinking something kind of free form. Eventually I plan on the whole grassy area of the lawn being low plants with pavers for navigating thru the yard for maintenance.
I know nothing about putting in a gravel patio but whatever we do it is going to be a "do it yourself" project. I can't find anyone of quality to work on such a small job. One other idea I had was a low wooden deck, ground level. I saw one once that I liked. BF who is a carpenter says it won't last. Maybe there are some other ideas for materials out there I'm not thinking of. Flagstone mixed with gravel seems hard to pull off, I'd be really interested in some books or Web sites with do it yourself instructions.
Thanks, sorry this is long!
This is an overview shot of the whole yard taken from upstairs, before the trees got so big.