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Patios add a comfortable space to any yard for dinners, drinks, or just relaxing in the sun. When designing a patio space, many builders choose to install a patio wall which can serve several functions: if the yard is not flat, the patio wall may act as a retaining wall to keep the earth from falling into the patio area; the wall may be purely decorative, and it may feature lights, planters, or other aesthetic complements; or a patio wall may be built to enhance privacy or to keep out unwanted visitors. The walls may be made from a variety of materials, and very often, the material of the wall is chosen in accordance with the materials used to build the patio itself.
A patio wall is often built only to knee-height and is mostly decorative, but some shorter walls are also used as retaining walls for sloped areas. Such walls are often made from concrete, stone, or brick, since these materials are effective at holding up the weight of the earth around the patio. Decorative walls can be made from pavers, often from the same pavers used to make the patio itself. More than one wall may be built around the perimeter of the patio as well, effectively delineating the patio area from the rest of the yard. Some patio walls may feature built-in lighting systems, pots for plants, or other aesthetic or functional features.
Taller versions of the patio wall can be built for privacy. Such walls are commonly made of wood or vinyl, since these materials are less expensive and easier to work with than stone, concrete, or brick. Wood fencing is a good choice because it is easy to work with and it can be painted or stained to match the aesthetic of the patio area. Vinyl is another wise choice because, unlike wood, vinyl does not need to be treated or painted, and maintenance is easy and quick. Vinyl just needs to be cleaned periodically with a hose or soapy water. Vinyl is, however, more difficult to install than wood.
Some versions of the patio wall can be built to include bench seating. This is done by varying the height of the wall and placing long, flat stones or even flat sections of brick or concrete periodically along the wall. Seating can be designed to jut out from the wall as well, with the rest of the wall providing back support.