Ideas for using tile in your landscape or outdoor living space
You can trace tile back to ancient Egypt as one of the oldest materials used in outdoor spaces. From plain terra cotta or red clay to fancy glazed polychrome Spanish tiles, Old World architecture is rich with beautiful ceramic units. Such a long history has linked tile to many architectural styles, most specifically those of the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Asia Minor where the climate was mild and timber supplies for flooring was limited. From there, the tile industry spread to Spain with the Moors and then to the New World with the Conquest.
Tile in general is more popular in warmer climates than it is cooler ones, which is why these products are seen more often in the South and West. It is also the most widely used flooring in both China and Mexico. However, tile of different types are also found elsewhere, particularly in conjunction with Mediterranean and Arts and Crafts style architecture, and more recently with the sleek, smooth lines of modern design. The ability of such an age old material to reinvent itself yet again for contemporary architecture demonstrates what a timeless choice it will be.
There have been changes to the tile industry by utilizing new materials in innovative ways. Concrete tiles are proving stronger and more long lasting than ceramics. Wood tiles have come of age for covering up old concrete or wood decks with squares of attractive wood flooring. Very thin stone tiles allow architectural stonework to extend into unique applications. Artisans are also hand crafting specialty tiles with unique patterns and textures. The problem with using tile today is not finding the one you want, but winnowing down the vast range of choices to those best suited to your project, design and budget.
Get these tips
- Choosing a tile suited to your climate
- Step-by-step installation instructions
- Ideas for using tile on a patio
- Ideas for using tile in or around a pool
- Ideas for renovating an old deck or concrete slab with wood tiles
- How to keep your tile costs within reason
- Pros and cons for various tile types
- Selection factors that will help you decide on the right tile
- The benefits and drawbacks of using tile outdoors